White Collar Crime & Investigations Law Update - April 2011


In this issue: Skilling and Honest Services Fallout; and New Whistleblower Provision.

Excerpt from 'Skilling and Honest...'

Federal prosecutors announced on January 13, 2011 that they would not seek to retry convicted media mogul Conrad Black on fraud charges. This decision is the latest chapter in high-profile prosecutions that have been affected by the Supreme Court's June 24, 2010 decision to strike down a portion of the honest services fraud statute.

Prosecutors may no longer use the honest services fraud statute as a broad brush to paint actions that do not fit into a larceny story as criminal. The Supreme Court halted this practice on June 24th of last year, when it struck the honest services fraud statute (18 U.S.C. § 1346) with an impact that still reverberates from corporate boardrooms to the halls of Congress. In Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 2896 (2010), the Court effectively removed an entire category of crimes, those involving undisclosed self-dealing, from Section 1346’s definition of “honest services.” 18 U.S.C. § 1346 defines a “Scheme or Artifice to Defraud” under the mail fraud statute as “a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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