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What was once perceived as a straightforward limitation on the government’s significant enforcement powers has become obscured by statutes and court interpretations that tend to elongate the period for the government to act in ways that often are not transparent to even experienced criminal practitioners.
Statutes of limitations establish time limits for the government to prosecute crimes. The clock usually starts ticking as soon as an offense is complete. These statutory deadlines have been a cornerstone of American criminal law since the time of the Founders. Their purpose, as the U.S. Supreme Court has explained, is “to protect individuals from having to defend themselves against charges when the basic facts may have become obscured by the passage of time and to minimize the danger of official punishment because of acts in the fardistant past.” Toussie v. United States, 397 U.S. 112, 11415 (1970). Statutes of limitations thus provide an important check on prosecutorial delay and unfairness.
By Jonathan S. Feld, Eric Klein and Andrew VanEgmond
The FCA is not a model of clarity. In a certiorari petition in United States ex rel. Hunt v. Cochise Consultancy, the U.S. Supreme Court will address an area of uncertainty that has led to a three-way circuit split regarding the FCA’s statute of limitations. Depending on the outcome, FCA defendants could end up facing even more claims up to a decade old or, alternatively, have a new limitation on FCA actions upon which to rely.
By Michael L. Cook
In Stoebner v. Opportunity Finance, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that “… Ponzi scheme payments to satisfy legitimate antecedent debts to defendant banks could not be avoided” by a bankruptcy trustee “absent transaction-specific proof of actual intent to defraud or the statutory elements of constructive fraud — transfer by an insolvent debtor who did not receive reasonably equivalent value in exchange.”
By Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge and Amanda W. Newton
Rare Supreme Court holiday activity and ongoing news coverage about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has drawn much attention to the enigmatic case of In Re Grand Jury Subpoena. The matter is unremarkable, presenting familiar issues of international litigation. Upon further examination, however, the case may have the potential to expand the authority of United States courts over foreign states and their agencies or instrumentalities.
By Colleen Snow
New Charges in Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited Bribery Case