Markus Funk and Kevin Feldis speak with Corey Norton, Vice President for Supply Chain Legality at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), about the important role that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can play in corporate supply chain compliance. NGOs have both outside credibility and an insiders on-the-ground understanding of local supply chain issues that can be invaluable to companies when it comes to understanding and protecting their supply chains for everything from raw materials to commodities to finished consumer products. Corey explains how WWF and other NGOs engage with corporations to help them improve traceability and better understand and mitigate risks related to forced labor, environmental degradation, and more. While some have traditionally viewed NGOs and corporations as acting with very different interests in mind, this podcast explores the many areas of overlap and mutual interest, and suggests that NGOs, corporations, and corporate outside counsel can, and should, actively work together on these important, complex, and still-evolving areas of corporate compliance.
Using the power of music and videos to make math fun and accessible, the Nashville-based education technology (edtech) company Muzology challenges students to learn and retain the math concepts critical to their progress. In this podcast, Muzology co-founders Lana Israel, Ph.D. and Bob Doyle join host Markus Funk to discuss their disruptive platform, the significant impact Muzology has had on the lives of children and young adults, and how COVID-19 has affected schooling, education, and edtech, specifically.
In this episode of White Collar Briefly, Perkins Coie’s David Biderman, firmwide chair of the Consumer Products & Services Litigation group, sits down with Craig Lackey, general counsel of Rushmore Loan Management Services, a major servicer of residential mortgages nationwide. Their discussion covers topics such as the COVID-19-related downturn on the economy and mortgage servicer responses to COVID-19 and the CARES act. Craig and David also discuss what to expect from enforcement arising from COVID-19 and how to best respond, as well as the likely changes to the enforcement environment in the event of a change in administration.
Prosecutors have scored a win in their latest criminal spoofing trial, United States v. Vorley. After three days of deliberation—during which time the jury repeatedly informed the court that it was deadlocked—the jury has convicted precious metals traders James Vorley and Cedric Chanu of committing wire fraud. At the same time, the jury rejected the government’s allegations that the defendants had participated in a criminal conspiracy by allegedly coordinating spoofed trades with other market participants.
The inconsistent verdicts on wire fraud and conspiracy will almost certainly put the defendants on the path to an appeal before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. To convict Vorley and Chanu on the wire fraud counts, the government was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they knowingly and intentionally participated in a scheme to defraud other market participants by making materially false representations. And at a high level, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to accomplish an unlawful purpose. The jury’s split verdict suggests there could have been some confusion surrounding the intent requirements for the charges at issue. This could further implicate the manner in which the government presented its evidence at trial and the instructions provided to jurors before they went into deliberations. Continue Reading Jury Convicts on Wire Fraud Charges in Criminal Spoofing Case
The criminal spoofing trial in United States v. Vorley kicked off in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on September 14, 2020. Less than 10 days later, on the first full day of deliberations, jurors sent a note to the court indicating they had reached an impasse, with two jurors holding out against a consensus on the verdict. Following this development, the court denied the defendants’ request to declare a mistrial and instructed the jury to continue deliberations.
The jury’s difficulty in reaching a verdict on the complicated charges may foreshadow a similar outcome that occurred last year in the criminal trial of software developer Jitesh Thakkar. In that case, Jitesh faced spoofing charges stemming from his company’s development of software that was later used by a London-based trader to spoof E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts, which allegedly led to the “flash crash” of 2010. The trial judge granted Thakkar’s mid-trial motion for a judgment of acquittal on a conspiracy charge based on the lack of evidence of any agreement between Thakkar and the London trader, but the judge allowed the spoofing counts to proceed to the jury. The jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of Thakkar on those charges and the government eventually dropped its case. Continue Reading Latest Criminal Spoofing Trial Hampered by Obstacles
This podcast provides rare insight from a retired FBI agent regarding how to add science into the art of interviewing. Perkins Coie partner Kevin Feldis, a former federal prosecutor, talks with retired FBI Special Agent Colton Seale about recent research on conducting more effective witness interviews. Colton spent 22 years with the FBI, including serving as a member of the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), interviewing suspects around the world.
Kevin and Colton discuss what it really means to build rapport and how to get in sync with the person in a way that opens the door for meaningful factfinding.
The goal of any interview is to learn accurate and complete information, but rigid approaches and common misconceptions about how to conduct interviews can go nowhere and lead to incomplete and inaccurate answers.
White Collar Briefly host, Markus Funk, chair of Perkins Coie’s White Collar & Investigations Practice, welcomes two Chicago-based guests. Jeremy Gottschalk is general counsel for Sittercity.com, an online marketplace for childcare providers. The Hon. Virginia M. Kendall of the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern Illinois is a former federal prosecutor and one of the nation’s leading experts in the area of child exploitation.
The episode examines potential threats companies may face when operating in the childcare space, concrete steps companies can take to identify and root out potential abusers from their online platforms, and cooperation with law enforcement agencies.
In this episode of White Collar Briefly, Perkins Coie’s Barak Cohen, David Fletcher, and Alexander Canizares discuss the landscape for increased fraud investigations and enforcement actions related to COVID-19 stimulus spending, including False Claims Act investigations and qui tam whistleblower litigation, as well as steps companies can take to reduce their potential exposure. Barak, David, and Alex discuss new and emerging enforcement issues related to Paycheck Protection Program loans and other spending under the CARES Act and anticipated areas of focus for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with respect to the False Claims Act. The episode also provides an overview of recent DOJ fraud enforcement related to COVID-19 and the expected roles to be played by new and existing investigative entities, including the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee and special inspector general for pandemic recovery.
In Part 2 of our examination of internal investigation trends in India, Perkins Coie partners Markus Funk and Chelsea Curfman speak with Arpinder Singh, a partner with EY Forensics & Integrity Services and head of their India and Emerging Markets group. Topics discussed include trends in both the subject matter and scope of internal investigations in India; the increasing number of whistleblower reports being lodged in India and how companies are responding to those reports; and tips on how companies and outside counsel can best investigate potential wrongdoing, including where to look for relevant data.
On August 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued an opinion letter (cataloged as FCPA Opinion No. 20-01) stating that it did not intend to take enforcement action under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) against a U.S.-based investment advisor planning to pay something akin to a “finder’s fee” to a foreign state-owned investment bank (the “third party”) who helped facilitate a transaction. This opinion marks the first time in six years that the DOJ has issued guidance under the FCPA Opinion Procedure Regulations, a process by which companies can request the DOJ’s formal opinion as to whether certain conduct conforms with its FCPA anti-bribery enforcement policies.
In issuing its opinion, the DOJ looked past some possible red flags related to this contemplated payment and relied upon the following: the investment advisor planned to make a payment directly to the third party, which was an entity versus an individual (on its face, the FCPA only prohibits payments to individuals); there was no indication that the payment was intended to corruptly influence a foreign official; the investment advisor received legitimate services from the third party; and the chief compliance officer of the third party certified that the planned payment was commensurate with the service it had provided and was otherwise commercially reasonable. Our detailed analysis of this opinion is available here.