The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has been on a losing streak in securities-fraud cases, says USA Today. After an appeals court overturned a guilty verdict against investment banker Frank Quattrone, the office dropped the case. A federal judge rebuked two prosecutors in June for their conduct in the government’s investigation of tax shelter abuse by partners from KPMG. Last week, prosecutors dropped five cases against specialists at the New York Stock Exchange. Last year, 15 specialists, who are responsible for buying and selling stocks, were accused of putting their own interests ahead of those of the investors.
In the specialist cases, a jury’s willingness to acquit two men this year sent a powerful message. “If you’re a good prosecutor and you’re interested in doing the right thing, you listen to juries,” says Richard Owens, who recently left the Manhattan prosecutor’s office. “If you see what fact pattern juries will convict on and what they won’t, there’s little reason to proceed when there’s little chance of success.”