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Iran Sanctions Look to Snap Back

By now you’ve heard the news, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Following a wind-down period of 90 or 180 days, the U.S. government will restore the economic sanctions that it lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. These sanctions generally affect foreign businesses who do business with Iran. After the wind-down periods, they Read More

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SEC Chair Offers Advice on Bitcoin and Its Ilk

This week, the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission weighed in on crypto-currencies as well as ICOs or initial coin offerings. With the price of bitcoin nearing $20,000, it probably comes at the right time. You may have been wondering yourself: What are the rules for this stuff? Are they being followed? And what are the risks Read More

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Securities Fraud: But Was It Even A Security?

What is a security, anyway? The California Court of Appeal tackled that question recently in a case about a loan between friends. A good starting point is that the law considers a security to be an investment contract, but there’s more to it than that. You may be familiar with common examples like publicly-traded stocks and bonds, but Read More

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Much Ado About Little

The U.S. Supreme Court decided its big insider-trading case of the term on Tuesday, and it turns out you still can’t toss a friend or family member a tip to trade on. Who knew? Here are the facts. The defendant’s brother-in-law was an investment banker who advised major healthcare companies on mergers and acquisitions. Over time, he shared inside information Read More

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SEC Reports Enforcement Results for 2016

As we wind down the calendar year, the Securities and Exchange Commission has already reported its enforcement results for the fiscal year that ended September 30. In case you missed it, here’s the press release. Naturally, there’s some self-patting on the back, but if the past predicts the future, the agency is looking to file cases. Its Read More

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CFTC Launches New Website for Whistleblowers

Another thing about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Last month, the agency unveiled the new website for its whistleblower program at www.whistleblower.gov. It looks pretty good, and it’s easy to navigate. It tells you what you need to know about the program, including how to submit a tip and how to apply for an award. The CFTC’s whistleblower program was created Read More

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Federal Court of Appeals Vacates Lenient White-Collar Sentence

The overriding directive of federal sentencing law is to impose a sentence that is sufficient but not greater than necessary to accomplish the goals of sentencing: that is, to reflect the seriousness of the offense, promote respect for the law, provide just punishment, deter crime, protect the public, and rehabilitate the defendant. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). Usually, the trial Read More

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Bank Fraud. Even If You’re Not Trying to Defraud a Bank.

Two days before the Supreme Court’s watershed opinion on cell phones, it published another unanimous opinion on a more esoteric topic: bank fraud. Yeah, that’s right, bank fraud. In Loughrin v. United States, the Court held that the federal bank-fraud statute can cover cases in which you intend to defraud someone or something other than a bank. How Read More

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When Money-Laundering Laws Become “Smurfin’ Ridiculous”

While we’re on the subject of money laundering, let’s talk about “smurfing.” That’s slang for the term “structuring,” which refers to the purposeful act of breaking up larger financial transactions into smaller amounts in order to avoid federal reporting requirements. For example, the Bank Secrecy Act requires banks to report any deposits, withdrawals, or transfers of more than $10,000. Read More

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Cleanliness is Next to Godliness for George, Tom, Abe, Alex, Andy, Ulysses, and Ben

In common parlance, money laundering is the process of taking illegally-gained, “dirty” money and making it appear legal or “clean.” Who needs to wash money? A classic case is the drug dealer who’s sitting on a pile of cash but can’t very well explain where he got it from. The same concept, however, applies to other unlawful activity like financial frauds, computer crimes, alien smuggling, Read More

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