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White-Collar and Regulatory Defense
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California Courts Must Tighten Belts Again

The state’s new budget, signed into law on Monday, cuts $200 million from the judiciary. For the fiscal year that begins today, the trial courts have $176.9 million less than last year, and the appeals courts lose $23.1 million. Overall, the budget gives $4 billion to fund the courts out of a total of $202.1 Read More

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FTC and FDA Warn Against False Covid Claims

As federal courts slowly begin to reopen in phases, the government’s pursuit of Covid fraud continues apace. In particular, two agencies—the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration—are issuing warning letters to businesses selling or marketing products that purport to treat or prevent Covid-19. Think oils, herbs, vitamins, minerals, or supplements. But it can Read More

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FTC Warns Nursing Homes Not to Take People’s Stimulus Checks

The Federal Trade Commission has clarified something for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities: their residents’ stimulus checks belong to them, not the facility, so you can’t take it from them. Reportedly, some facilities have requested or required that people on Medicaid sign over the checks. Don’t do that. As the FTC’s notice explains, these checks are, by law, personal Read More

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Dude Catches Federal Case for Lying about Covid

Consider the juxtaposition. Last week, we wrote about people whose convictions were reversed because their conduct, while wrong, didn’t quite fit the crime. They made a mistake and lied—rather egregiously—but it wasn’t wire fraud because they didn’t do it to obtain money or property from the other side. Fair enough. This week, we couldn’t help but Read More

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Bridgegate, Reversed

Once upon a time, you might recall, there was another kind of lockdown. For four days in September 2013, three public officials shut down two traffic lanes on one bridge from New Jersey to New York. It wasn’t just any bridge, though, but the busiest motor-vehicle bridge in the world. And it wasn’t just for Read More

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The SBA’s FAQs on the PPP

Here’s the government’s FAQ sheet on the Paycheck Protection Program, current as of today. It may not have all the answers, but it gives relatively simple answers to 47 questions by lenders, borrowers, and others. Here’s a sampling: Do payments to independent contractors count toward payroll? No. See Question 15. Do part-time employees count? Yes, for eligibility but no, Read More

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Motive Meets Opportunity

Well, that didn’t take long, either. Yesterday, the Justice Department charged the very first case of fraud against the relief program set up to help small businesses weather the lockdown. Prosecutors charged two businessmen with fraudulently seeking over $500,000 in forgivable loans meant to defray the cost of their payroll, rent, utilities, or mortgage interest. Allegedly, the two Read More

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The Feds Prioritize Covid Fraud

Well, that didn’t take long. Amid all the madness surrounding coronavirus, the U.S. Justice Department has ordered all 93 of its federal districts to do two things: Prioritize the prosecution of Covid-related scams in general; and Create special task forces that target fraud, waste, or abuse in the provision of goods or services. In this Read More

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Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur

Did you know? This year marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Justice Department, which Congress created in 1870. If you’d like to learn more, the Department has created a special webpage to commemorate the occasion. It includes a timeline that traces the agency’s beginnings in 1789 to its modern founding in 1870 and through the present Read More

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Put that New-Year Resolution on Hold

That’s what a federal court in California said to the state legislature two days before a new employment law was to go into effect. The new law, Assembly Bill 51, would’ve banned mandatory arbitration agreements with employees. It also would’ve banned agreements that required folks to opt out of arbitration. And it would’ve barred retaliation against those Read More

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