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As we have observed over the years, 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 like the one prohibiting wire fraud. 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. The most recent example is the Supreme Court’s reversal of the “Bridgegate”-related convictions of Bill Baroni, the former Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority, and Bridget Anne Kelly, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The unanimous “Bridgegate” decision’s rationale, however, was relatively narrow. The court, for example, did not expressly weigh in on the controversial “right to control” theory, which provides that a defendant deprives a victim of “property” as required under the federal fraud statutes if he or she denies the victim the right to control how its assets are used. The extent to which the principles articulated in that decision will have an impact on future federal fraud prosecutions is currently being tested in another high-profile case currently on appeal before the Second Circuit where the “right to control” theory is at issue — United States v. Gatto, otherwise known as the NCAA “hoops” case.
By Telemachus P. Kasulis
For a moment there, it really looked like it was going to happen. After a long and winding road, insider trading reform had reached the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. The Insider Trading Prohibition Act (ITPA) had support on both sides of the aisle and on Dec. 5, 2019, the House voted to pass the ITPA. Then the bill went to the Senate and vanished. We should take this opportunity to learn what lessons we can from the successes and failures of the ITPA as a bill with an eye toward fashioning the best possible legislation next time — whenever that may be.
By Nekia Hackworth Jones
The government appears to be fulfilling its commitment to rooting out PPP fraud, even when the amount at issue falls below the $2 million threshold. No matter the size of the loan, a company that obtained PPP funds is not immune from a possible government investigation or audit. Borrowers have already started to submit loan forgiveness applications, and many more will be submitted in the weeks ahead, and both lenders and the government will be scouring these submissions for red flags.
By Rebecca Kirk Fair, Peter Hess and Vendela Fehrm
This article draws on a review of over 300 U.S. court rulings in cases involving surveys, including over 150 Daubert motions, and provides suggestions for getting survey evidence admitted for consideration in court. Our recommendations fall under two broad categories: relevance and reliability.
By Scott Pink and John Dermody
COVID-19 Contact Tracing v. Protecting Personal Privacy
As states roll back stay-at-home orders, contact tracing has quickly emerged as an essential tool to manage the spread of the coronavirus and allow the country to return to work safely. But innovative contact tracing methods raise a host of privacy concerns, forcing a reckoning with how we balance privacy and public health.