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The term “speaking indictment” refers to indictments that go beyond the Fed.R.Crim.P. 7(c)(1) requirement of a “plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged” — i.e., an indictment that does more than simply track the statutory charging language and state the who, what, when, where and the elements of the crime, the manner and means, and, for Section 371 conspiracies, overt acts. The use of speaking indictments is often justified as providing notice to defendants of allegations the absence of which might otherwise provoke pretrial motions to dismiss or for a bill of particulars. See Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Resource Manual at § 214 (“The [indictment] drafter must afford the defendant … a document … that is sufficiently descriptive to permit the defendant to prepare a defense, and to invoke the double jeopardy provision of the Fifth Amendment, if appropriate.”) (emphasis added). Indeed, prosecutors and courts often cite to “speaking indictments” as a reason to deny a defense motion for a bill of particulars. See, e.g., United States v. Schaefer, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51897 *9-12 (N.D.Ind. April 19, 2016).
By Robert J. Anello and Richard F. Albert
When federal prosecutors focus their attention on high profile misconduct that is not an obvious violation of federal criminal law, they often cannot resist the attractions of broadly worded “catch-all” fraud statutes. From time to time, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has pushed back on efforts to further expand the boundaries of these statutes, leading to reversals of some well-publicized criminal convictions.
By Margaret A. Dale and Mark D. Harris
Given the current turmoil in the markets, an increasing number of plaintiffs are bringing shareholder class action suits, citing corporate statements about COVID-19. As first-quarter earnings season draws to a close, now is a good time to reflect on the shareholder class actions that have been brought to date related to COVID-19, and others potentially yet to come.
By Terence M. Grugan, David L. Axelrod and Emilia McKee Vassallo
For more than 10 years, federal investigators have investigated criminal conduct in connection with the 2008 recession-era TARP program. From those investigations, U.S. Attorneys across the country brought cases and earned convictions for offenses spanning the federal criminal code. We can expect that these same agencies will use the same techniques and strategies to investigate crimes and bring cases involving fraud related to the COVID-19 stimulus packages.
By Russell Koonin and Adam Schwartz
In the midst the current COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC is paying attention. The Division of Enforcement has made clear that it will act, and act quickly, to stop fraudulent conduct that falls under its jurisdiction related to the pandemic.