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Judge Jed Rakoff famously noted that, “[t]o federal prosecutors of white collar crime, the mail fraud statute is our Stradivarius, our Colt 45, our Louisville Slugger, our Cuisinart — and our true love.” Jed S. Rakoff, The Federal Mail Fraud Statute (Part 1), 18 Duq. L. Rev. 771 (1980). This effusive enthusiasm for the federal mail and wire fraud statutes is rooted largely in their “adaptability.” Id. In recent decades, the federal prosecutors of the Second Circuit have demonstrated, and the Second Circuit has affirmed, that adaptability by broadly using the federal fraud statutes to penalize even conduct that does not and could not result in a transfer of tangible property from the victim to the defendant. These prosecutions have relied on the theory that a defendant can fraudulently deprive a victim of the intangible “right to control” its assets, even if the victim is not deprived of any tangible money or property. While this theory has been repeatedly affirmed by the Second Circuit, it is incompatible with a series of recent Supreme Court cases in which the Court has narrowed the scope of federal white-collar criminal statutes by adopting narrow definitions of the term “property.” Given the Second Circuit’s crucial role in defining the law for the prosecution of complex white-collar criminal cases, this discrepancy looms large: the Supreme Court should eliminate the Second Circuit’s dubious right to control doctrine.
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By Bradley A. Marcus
Although the criminal prosecution of lawyer misconduct is nothing new, the recent indictment of a plaintiffs’ lawyer in Maryland and sentencing of two plaintiffs’ lawyers in Virginia illustrate the particular danger to attorneys who arguably cross the line during negotiations with potential litigation counterparties.
By Robert J. Anello and Richard F. Albert
A review of recent decisions of the Roberts court and of decisions in which Barrett participated during her limited tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit provides some hints regarding how the Supreme Court’s future decisions may affect the law relevant to white-collar criminal practice.
By Elkan Abramowitz and Jonathan S. Sack
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By Andrew Maloney
With a change in priorities, and issues such as health care, climate and another stimulus package potentially on the agenda for President-elect Joe Biden, white-collar defense lawyers anticipate an uptick in enforcement work.