archive

High Court To Hear Ex-Gov. McDonnell’s Case On Gifts To Politicians

The Supreme Court agreed to review former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell’s conviction of corruption for his efforts on behalf of a businessman who bestowed money and gifts on the governor and his family, the Washington Post reports. The case gives the justices a fresh opportunity to define what kind of political conduct crosses the line into criminal behavior. McDonnell's attorneys told the court that if his “routine political courtesies” to businessman Jonnie Williams Sr. could be construed as felonies, it […]

archive

Goldman Sachs To Pay $5 Billion In Mortgage-Backed Securities Case

Goldman Sachs will pay about $5 billion to resolve state and federal investigations into its handling of mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, NPR reports. The agreement will settle “actual and potential civil claims” by the U.S. Justice Department and the attorneys general of New York and Illinois, as well as the Federal Home Loan Banks of Chicago and Seattle and the National Credit Union Administration. The firm will pay a civil penalty of […]

archive

DOJ, Labor Vow Criminal Prosecutions Of Workplace Safety Violations

Workplace safety is emerging as a key issue in 2016, and corporate executives could find themselves criminally responsible for failing to protect their employees, reports Corporate Counsel. The U.S. Departments of Labor and Justice announced last month a joint initiative to crack down on environmental and workplace safety crimes. Under the “worker endangerment initiative,” officials will seek to prosecute workplace safety violations under federal environmental laws, in addition to long-standing workplace safety statutes such as the Occupational Safety and Health […]

archive

Fraud Against Elderly Rises, Regulators Seek To Improve Reporting

Dealing with a rise in financial exploitation of the elderly, state officials are pressing for laws that require financial advisers to report suspected “elder fraud” to authorities, reports the Wall Street Journal. The mandate faces pushback from the financial industry, which says it could result in a massive number of reports that turn out to be false. People over 60 were involved in 171,230 fraud complaints tracked by the Federal Trade Commission in 2014, more than double the number in […]

archive

Crime Victims, FBI Among Winners In DOJ Budget Battle

Crime victims and the FBI were two of the big winners in the annual battle over spending U. S. Justice Department funds. A Congressional budget deal for the current fiscal year that was finalized by negotiators early yesterday morning provided an estimated $2.26 billion for state and local organizations that help crime victims. Under a law dating from the 1980s, those groups are supposed to receive fines paid in federal cases, but Congress has long put a cap on the […]

archive

Ex-NY Senate Leader Convicted In 11th Legislative Scandal In Six Years

Dean Skelos, the former majority leader of the New York Senate, and his son were found guilty of federal corruption charges on Friday. The New York Times called it “a quick and devastating follow-up punch to the State Capitol, which has seen two entrenched leaders convicted and removed from office in less than two weeks.” The federal jury in Manhattan took eight hours over two days to reach its verdict against Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam, 33, finding them […]

archive

“Deed Frauds” Called Epidemic In New York City, Rising Elsewhere

In 30 New York City cases, people allegedly forged or attempted to forge new deeds for property using easily available online records to sell homes and collect the proceeds, reports the Wall Street Journal. Prosecutors in Chicago and Detroit also have seen a spike in a category of crime known as deed fraud. Investors who own several properties are especially vulnerable, prosecutors said, because they are less likely to notice if someone moves into a home they don't visit regularly. […]

archive

Going After 'Legal Corruption'

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a longtime powerhouse of New York politics, was convicted of fraud and extortion last week. But shortly after the jury unanimously found him guilty on all seven counts of fraud and extortion, one juror admitted she still didn't understand the law. “It's still a gray area for me as far as what an Assemblyman is entitled or not entitled to,” she told The Wall Street Journal. She's not alone. When it comes to […]

archive

WVA Coal Case Brings First Executive Convicted Over Workplace Safety

A federal jury in West Virginia has convicted former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship of conspiracy to violate federal mine-safety laws. The jury acquitted him of more onerous counts of lying to regulators and investors in connection with a 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 miners, the Wall Street Journal reports. The case, which riveted the coal-centric state for nearly two months, sets a precedent for prosecutors to use safety laws to target high-ranking corporate executives. Blankenship, 65, […]

archive

Will Conviction Of NY Legislative Leader Prompt Ethics Reforms?

The conviction of New York state Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver in one of the state’s highest-profile public-corruption cases in decades could signal a shift in the business of Albany and lead to further investigations of a capital with a long-standing reputation for questionable conduct, reports the Wall Street Journal. Silver was found guilty by a federal jury in Manhattan of four counts of honest-services fraud, two counts of extortion and one count of money laundering. At the heart of the […]