Increased condo dues doesn’t equal more victims, embezzler says

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime:A former property manager who embezzled $139,000 from a condominium association is seeking en banc review of a 2nd Circuit panel decision that affirmed his multiple-victim sentencing enhancement based on the increased dues that individual condo members must pay to make up the loss.

Peter Iovino says in his Feb. 11 petition for rehearing by the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the panel’s decision was contrary to the ruling in United States v. Abiodun, 536 F.3d 162 (2d Cir. 2008).

(WestlawNext users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.)


Confusion, misunderstanding spike mail-fraud plea, 7th Circuit says

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime: Although a lawyer claimed his client was lying about a plea agreement and a trial judge approved the client’s admission of guilt, a federal appeals court has allowed the defendant to withdraw his guilty plea.

Mortgage fraud defendant Siamak S. Fard told the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Illinois federal trial court should have allowed him to withdraw his plea because he only pleaded guilty to wire fraud after his lawyer said the deal involved cooperating with prosecutors and no jail time.

(WestlawNext users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.)


Defendant escorted to bathroom by armed agent loses suppression motion

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime:  A homeowner is free enough to tell armed federal agents to get out of his house during an interview even when he’s not free to use his own bathroom without escort by a sidearm-wearing agent, a federal judge in Tampa, Fla., has found.

U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell of the Middle District of Florida noted in her court order denying Cordell Jones’ motion to suppress statements he made at the time that “the agents never unholstered their firearms.”

(WestlawNext users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.)


California man gets 17+ years, $500K fine in bankruptcy fraud case

From Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime: A California businessman who was convicted by a jury on 15 counts of bankruptcy fraud and related charges has been sentenced to 17 years and eight months in prison ordered to pay a $500,000 fine.

Steven K. Zinnel, who hid his roles in various companies from a bankruptcy court during a contentious divorce, will also forfeit $2.8 million in corporate interests and real estate under the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

(Westlaw users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.) (more…)

Justice Department says no to ‘strip down’ of tax lien in Chapter 13

A Chapter 13 debtor should not be allowed to void, or “strip down,” the unsecured portion of his six-figure tax debt, the Justice Department is arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The federal government’s Feb. 12 brief opposing certiorari defends a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held last July that Dewsnup v. Timm, 502 U.S. 410 (1992), bars debtors such as petitioner Patrick J. Ryan from stripping down their unsecured tax bills.  Ryan v. United States (In re Ryan), 725 F.3d 623 (7th Cir. July 8, 2013).

Ryan, who owes the government more than $136,000 in back taxes, only has about $1,600 of personal property securing the tax lien that the Internal Revenue Service lodged against him in January 2011, according to the government’s Oct. 4 certiorari petition.

(Westlaw users:  Click here for more stories from Westlaw Journal Bankruptcy.)  (more…)

Former BofA exec faces 40 years, $1 million fine over muni bond scheme

Bank of America’s former managing director of municipal derivatives products has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud charges for his hand in a municipal bond manipulation scheme.

Phillip D. Murphy is the 17th person to have pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina or been convicted for their roles in the scheme, according to a Feb. 10 Justice Department release.

(Westlaw users:  Click here for more stories from Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime.) (more…)

JPMorgan pays $1.7 billion to resolve charges over role in Madoff scheme

JPMorgan Chase Bank has agreed to forfeit $1.7 billion for distribution to victims of Bernard Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.

Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a Jan. 7 statement that the payment is the largest ever penalty recovered by the Justice Department for a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.

(Westlaw users: Click here for more stories from Westlaw Journal Bankruptcy.) (more…)

California appeals panel recognizes ‘narrow’ assignment of legal malpractice claim

A three-judge appeals panel in California has ruled for the first time that a legal malpractice action may be assigned when it is a small, incidental part of a larger commercial transfer of assets and liabilities between insurance companies.

The decision represents a “narrow exception” to the state’s general public policy ban against assigning legal malpractice claims, the appeals court said in an opinion reversing a trial judge’s finding that an insurance company lacked standing to pursue the assigned claim.

(Westlaw users click here for more stories from Westlaw Journal Professional Liability). (more…)

Supreme Court will hear restitution setoff case

A homebuyer convicted of taking part in a mortgage fraud has convinced the nation’s highest court to decide whether his restitution should be based on the value of the properties at the time of foreclosure or later when lenders sold the houses.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on a restitution issue with wide implications for defendants in mortgage fraud cases.

(Westlaw users: Click here for more stories from Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime.)


SIPC tells Supreme Court Madoff trustee can sue on its behalf

The Securities Investor Protection Corp. has joined in a request by Irving Picard, the trustee seeking to recover money for victims of Bernie Madoff, that the U.S. Supreme Court examine a federal appellate panel’s ruling that he lacks standing to pursue claims against the investment banks allegedly used to back Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

The SIPC, which reportedly has paid out more than $800 million to compensate former Madoff customers, says the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision barring Picard’s suit has eviscerated its statutory subrogation right to recover those sums.

(Westlaw users:  Click here for more stories from Westlaw Journal Bankruptcy.) (more…)