Rebirth of Reason

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 8:18amSanction this postReply

In the report below, the authors speculate that in the future, more bankers may fight indictments, rather than bargain a plea of guilty and testimony for a reduced sentence.  In the infamous prosecution by Republican Rudolph Giuliani of Michael Milken and others, every one of those others was either found not guilty or had their sentences overturned on appeal.  Milken took a plea because the government threatened his family.  Some years later, during "Operation Sundevil" in which computer hackers were wrongly accused of a wide range of crimes, some involving the Emergency 911 systems, those, such as Craig Neidorf (Knight Lightning)  who fought were found not guilty.  Others, such as Len Rose (The Terminus) who pleaded guilty went to prison, sometimes after turning state's witness. 


It is easy to encourage other people to take on the government.  Wrongful convictions are part of the fabric of life for urban African-Americans.  The police pick someone and charge them and the response to the claim of innocence is, "Who is the jury going to believe?"  So the kid pleads and goes to prison for a few years.  In the famous case of Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson (Innocence Project here; What Jennifer Saw PBS Frontline here), Cotton had two trails in which he was wrongly convicted. The government has massive resources, potentially unlimited when you consider the printing press,  to bring to any case.   And even if you are found not guilty, you get back none of the resources you invested.


Victories such as this one are important.


In a Reuters exclusive report:


"A Justice Department spokeswoman earlier said the decision would not impact the agency's efforts to hold offshore tax evaders and their enablers accountable.

As a result of the verdict, future efforts by the U.S. government to bring tax fraud cases "will require more than just the word of former alleged co-conspirators," David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in Miami, said when the verdict was announced.


"Corporate defendants will also be less likely to cooperate with the government and may instead choose to begin fighting the allegations made against their institutions," he added.


At least 25 people, including bankers, lawyers and asset managers, have been charged by U.S. authorities with assisting tax evasion via Swiss banks since 2008.




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Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 4:32pmSanction this postReply

Milken took a plea because the government threatened his family.


True but misleading. Milken's wife and children were not threatened. Charges against his brother Lowell, who also worked at Drexel, were dropped as part of the plea bargain. (Link.)

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