Perkins Coie Adds NY Governor’s Office Special Counsel Adam H. Schuman

Perkins Coie announced that Adam H. Schuman has joined the firm’s White Collar & Investigations practice group as a partner in the New York office.

Schuman has experience as a former general counsel, federal prosecutor, law firm attorney and federal law clerk. He joins the firm from the New York State Executive Chamber, where he served as Special Counsel for Public Integrity for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

In a release, the firm said:

A seasoned litigator with more than 25 years’ experience, Adam has been at the focal point of some of the most highly publicized investigations and cases in the country, including serving as lead prosecutor in a securities fraud and money laundering trial arising out of the boiler room depicted in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” managing as senior in-house counsel the defense of Standard & Poor’s against multiple domestic and international government investigations and private litigations coming out of the 2008 financial crisis and, as a member of Governor Cuomo’s senior staff, advising the Executive Chamber on ethics, risk and compliance matters. As a result of Adam’s efforts as a federal prosecutor, he was awarded the Director’s Award for Superior Performance from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Adam is a highly respected and experienced litigator and trial attorney,” said Markus Funk, Chair of Perkins Coie’s White Collar & Investigations practice. “His prosecution and high-stakes defense background, coupled with his in-house and public sector experience, is an ideal match with our culture of professional excellence. We are excited to have him on our team.”

Before joining the Governor’s office in 2016, Adam began his career in public service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York. He then spent 12 years at McGraw-Hill/Standard & Poor’s, including as Executive Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer. The year prior to his tenure with the Governor’s office, Adam served as General Counsel for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, where he oversaw a legal team of more than 100 attorneys. Before that, Adam was a lawyer with the New York firms Paul Weiss and Corbin Silverman & Sanseverino and served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska in the Southern District of New York.

“Adam is admired by his peers nationally and in the New York legal market, and he brings an impressive list of credentials,” said Keith Miller, Managing Partner of Perkins Coie’s New York office. “As a former federal prosecutor, his addition complements the strategic growth of our New York office.”

Adam will focus his practice on representing and counseling companies through criminal and civil investigations and complex government, regulatory and compliance matters, including investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Senate and House committees and State Attorneys General. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from New York University School of Law and received his B.A., with Honors, from Swarthmore College.




Judge Rebukes Manafort’s Lawyer for Sidewalk Speech

Bloomberg Law reports that the judge overseeing Paul Manafort’s tax and money-laundering case in Washington had a stern warning for his lawyer: Stop with the sidewalk speeches.

“This is a criminal trial and not a public-relations campaign,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said at a hearing Thursday, according to reporters Andrew Harris and Tom Schoenberg.

The judge, threatening to impose a gag order, told the lawyers to do their “talking in the courtroom, and the pleadings, and not on the courthouse steps.”

Read the Bloomberg article.



Mueller Pierced Manafort’s Attorney-Client Privilege Once, May Try the Tactic Again

Paul Manafort
Image by Disney | ABC Television Group

A little-noticed court filing unsealed this week as part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s ongoing probe could have big consequences for his other targets — showing he’s willing to use suspects’ lawyers to provide evidence against them, according to The Washington Post.

An opinion by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell found that one of Manafort’s former lawyers could be compelled to testify to the grand jury. She found a “crime fraud” exception to the attorney-client privilege, writing:

When a person uses the attorney-client relationship to further a criminal scheme, the law is well established that a claim of attorney-client or work-product privilege must yield to the grand jury’s investigatory needs.

Above the Law reports (sourcing the National Law Journal) that the attorney in question is Melissa Laurenza, partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld whose practice focuses on campaign law and lobbying registration.

Read the Washington Post article.



With Killer Still on the Loose, Associates of Slain Kansas Lawyer Are Fearful

Within minutes of attorney Tom Pickert’s murder Wednesday morning at his Kansas City-area home, his colleagues in a recent case started worrying about their own safety, reports The Kansas City Star.

One lawyer had assisted Pickert in an effort to secure assets from the defendant in a multi-million dollar civil case that Pickert and his partner had won in July. Now, he said, he doesn’t walk the dog or get the mail since Pickert’s death.

Reporters Glenn E. Rice and Donald Bradley quote the victim’s associate: “We became pretty religious about setting the alarm system at home and I started looking over my shoulder. But I’m still going to the office. I’m not letting this change my life.”

And a judge in a civil case where Pickert secured a $5.7 million judgment sealed records of the case to prevent jurors from being identified.

Pickert, 39, was fatally shot just after he returned to his home in Brookside early Wednesday after walking his children to school.

Read The Kansas City Star‘s article.


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Fired Associate Takes Plea Deal In Biglaw Extortion Charge

A former Dentons associate who was fired and then allegedly threatened to leak sensitive information taken from the email account of a managing director of the firm has taken a plea deal on a lesser charge to avoid spending more than two decades behind bars.

Above the Law reports that Michael Potere accepted the deal that included dismissal of an underlying indictments that included a charge of extortion. That charge carried a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

“This summer, Potere was arrested and indicted on charges of extortion and attempted extortion affecting interstate commerce, as well as transmitting threatening communications with intent to extort,” according to reporter Staci Zaretsky. “At the time, the ex-Biglaw associate was represented by a public defender and faced up to 22 years in prison.”

Read the Above the Law article.


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Wilmington Trust $60M Settlement Gets Criminal Charges Dropped

Wilmington Trust Corp., the only financial institution to be criminally charged in connection with the federal bank bailout program, reached a $60 million settlement with prosecutors Tuesday just as the corporation and four former top executives were set to go to trial on bank fraud charges, the Associated Press reports.

After the bank reached a settlement, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Andrews postponed the trial for the former executives until March, finding they currently were not prepared to move forward without the bank as a co-defendant.

“Prosecutors accused Wilmington Trust, through its senior executives, of concealing the truth about the bank’s deteriorating commercial real estate loan portfolio from bank regulators, investors and the Securities and Exchange Commission,” writes reporter Randall Chase.

Read the AP article.



Tree Trimming Firm Pays Biggest Fine in U.S. Immigration Case

A tree trimming company has been handed the largest penalty imposed in a United States immigration case, totaling $95 million, after pleading guilty to employing illegal immigrants, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Reuters reports that Asplundh Tree Experts Co., which trims trees and clears brush for power and gas lines across the country, hired employees who provided fake identification documents from 2010 to 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia said.

The prosecutor said the company’s managers were “willfully blind” as supervisors and foremen hired illegal immigrants, writes Brendan O’Brien.

Read the Reuters article.



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Alabama Lawyers, Coal Executive Indicted On Bribery Charges

The Associated Press is reporting that two attorneys with a prominent Alabama law firm and a coal company executive have been indicted on charges of bribing a state legislator to oppose an environmental cleanup plan, federal court documents showed Thursday.

Two partners in prominent Alabama law firm Balch & Bingham have been placed on indefinite leave after named on charges including conspiracy and bribery. They are Joel Gilbert and Steven McKinney, both of whom handled environmental litigation for the firm.

AP reporter Jay Reeves writes that Drummond Co. vice president David Roberson, 66, was charged with the same crimes.

“The three are accused of bribing former state Rep. Oliver Robinson, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to accepting $360,000 in payments,” according to the AP report.

Read the AP article.


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Top-Tier College Coaches, Adidas Rep Charged With Bribing Players

Bribe - moneyBloomberg is reporting that top-tier college basketball programs were thrown into turmoil Tuesday as federal prosecutors unveiled criminal charges against 10 coaches, managers, financial advisers and representatives of sportswear companies including Adidas AG, accusing them of making illicit payments to cash in on the vast riches generated at the sport’s highest levels.

“The alleged schemes include illicit payoffs to steer young athletes to powerhouse schools and into clothing contracts and financial advisory deals,” write Christian Berthelsen and Bob Van Voris. “Among those charged were current and former coaching staff members at Oklahoma State University, the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California and the University of South Carolina.”

The case followed allegations that an executive at an apparel company bribed students to attend universities where the company sponsored athletic programs.

Read the Bloomberg article.



Federal Judge Excoriates Sen. Menendez Prosecution Team

The judge overseeing the bribery trial of Sen. Robert Menendez ripped into prosecutors Thursday for trying to focus on what he called “tabloid’’ details — an unusual description for dry testimony about a series of emails about a hotel reservation, reports The Washington Post.

“U.S. District Judge William Walls stopped testimony for 20 minutes in which he tongue-lashed prosecutors for their painstaking recounting of emails used to book a luxury hotel in Paris for the New Jersey Democrat in 2010,” writes reporter Devlin Barrett. “The three-day hotel stay is a central part of the Justice Department’s case.”

At one point, the judge sent the jury out of the courtroom and then began chewing out Justice Department lawyers.

“Whether these defendants engaged in bribery does not depend on whether the senator chose a more expensive room. We’re not talking about Days Inn,’’ he said.

Read the Washington Post article.


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DOJ Fraud Section Assistant Chief Laura Perkins Joins Hughes Hubbard

Hughes Hubbard & Reed announced that Laura N. Perkins has joined the firm as a partner in its Anti-Corruption & Internal Investigations practice and White Collar & Regulatory Defense group.

Perkins was most recently an Assistant Chief for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement in the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. In her career at DOJ, she led or supervised hundreds of FCPA investigations and tried nearly two dozen cases involving a variety of frauds and other federal crimes.

In a release, the firm says:

In addition to her FCPA credentials, Perkins is an experienced trial lawyer and investigator who brings extensive insider knowledge of how DOJ investigates and prosecutes criminal cases and what DOJ expects from internal investigations, cooperating companies, and corporate compliance programs.

As an Assistant Chief of the FCPA unit, Peerkins supervised and directed hundreds of complex investigations and prosecutions of companies, business executives, and others for violations of the FCPA and associated statutes. She assisted in the management of the FCPA unit and the FCPA program, formulating enforcement priorities and policies, determining whether potential violations warrant criminal investigation and prosecution, advising domestic and foreign law enforcement and regulators on questions of law and departmental policy, and coordinating and conducting training for domestic and foreign partners.

Perkins was closely involved in the development of the FCPA pilot program, which was designed to motivate companies to voluntarily self-disclose FCPA-related misconduct, fully cooperate with the Fraud Section, and remediate flaws in their controls and compliance programs.

She worked closely within the Fraud Section to develop internal policies regarding the training and oversight of corporate monitors in order to ensure that companies develop compliance programs that meet DOJ’s expectations. By the end of her tenure at the Fraud Section, Perkins was supervising a majority of the section’s corporate monitorships.

Perkins was previously a senior counsel in the Criminal Division’s Office of the Assistant Attorney General; prior to that she was a senior trial attorney in the Fraud Section. As senior counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, she advised the Assistant Attorney General and other DOJ leaders and assisted in developing policies for the Criminal Division with regard to economic criminal prosecution. She has extensive experience as a trial lawyer – both at DOJ and in private practice. At DOJ alone, she handled nearly two dozen federal jury trials and bench trials, prosecuting FCPA, complex securities fraud, accounting fraud, health care fraud and other federal criminal cases.

Perkins represented the United States in international fora regarding global anti-corruption efforts, including in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and worked closely with foreign authorities to investigate and prosecute cross-border criminal cases.


Samsung Lader Jay Y. Lee Given Five-Year Jail Sentence for Bribery

Image by KBS

A South Korean court on Friday convicted Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the Samsung business empire, of bribery and embezzlement and sentenced him to five years in prison, in a dramatic break with the country’s history of dealing light penalties to major business figures, The New York Times reports.

Reporters Jeyup S. Kwaak and Paul Mozur write that the verdict presents new challenges for the huge Samsung organization.

“The court ruled that Mr. Lee and four other Samsung executives paid $6.4 million in bribes and other inducements to ensure that the country’s disgraced former president, Park Geun-hye, supported a complicated corporate deal that strengthened Mr. Lee’s grip on Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate’s crown jewel,” according to the Times.

Read the NYT article.



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Mueller Uses Classic Prosecution Playbook Despite Trump Warnings

magnifyer-investigate-search-puzzleBloomberg Law describes how special counsel Robert Mueller is following a time-tried strategy for looking into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia:

“Follow the money. Start small and work up. See who will ‘flip’ and testify against higher-ups by pursuing charges such as tax evasion, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.”

Reporter Chris Strohm quotes Jeffrey Cramer, a former prosecutor who’s now managing director of consulting firm Berkeley Research Group LLC: ““You go for the weakest link, and you start building up.”

Mueller’s approach has been used for decades in criminal investigations, from white-collar fraud to mob racketeering.

Read the Bloomberg article.




Seven Charged in U.S. Insider Trading Ring

Reuters is reporting that U.S. authorities announced insider trading charges accusing seven people of generating more than $5 million of profit based on tips from a Bank of America Corp. employee about dozens of pending corporate transactions.

The alleged tipster, Daniel Rivas, who later worked at Royal Bank of Canada, and James Moodhe, the father of Rivas’ girlfriend, both pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, report Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel.

“Prosecutors said Rivas, who worked in Bank of America’s capital markets technology group, leaked material nonpublic information about potential mergers, acquisitions and tender offers involving clients and prospective clients more than 50 times to co-conspirators, who then traded on the tips,” according to the report.

Read the Reuters article.

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He Forged Signatures of Judges Over 100 Times. Now This Lawyer Is Going to Jail

Disgraced South Florida lawyer Jose Camacho — suspected of forging more than 100 judicial signatures on financial settlement cases — was sentenced Thursday to 364 days in jail, plus 10 years of probation, reports the Miami Herald.

Camacho claims he didn’t make any extra money off the illegal shortcuts. Instead, Camacho claimed, he was overwhelmed with work and merely wanted to avoid waiting for backlogged judges to sign off on the paperwork, writes David Ovalle.

Broward Circuit Judge Marina Garcia-Wood — who appeared not on the bench but at the podium as a victim of Camacho’s forgeries — put it more bluntly: “He was lazy. He was purely lazy.”

Read the Miami Herald article.


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Ex-Fiat Chrysler Executive Charged in Union Official Payoff

A former Fiat Chrysler executive has been charged with looting a training center for blue-collar workers by giving $1.2 million through a variety of ways to a UAW leader, his wife and other senior union officials, according to an Associated Press report.

The ex-exective is Al Iacobelli, who was indicted in an alleged conspiracy involving the late United Auto Workers vice president General Holiefield and Holiefield’s widow, Monica Morgan.

“The indictment describes a multiyear scheme to reward Holiefield and Morgan with first-class travel, designer clothing and jewelry. A $262,000 mortgage on their home in suburban Detroit was paid off, according to the grand jury,” write Ed White and Tom Krisher. “Iacobelli treated himself to more than $350,000 for a Ferrari, the government alleged.”

Read the AP article.


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Defense Lawyer: Shkreli Would Lose $65 Million If Convicted

A defense lawyer says former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli would lose a $65 million stake in a drug company he founded if he’s convicted at his securities fraud trial, reports the Associated Press through ABC News.

The lawyer told jurors that a drug company official who testified against Shkreli was biased because the company would benefit financially if Shkreli is convicted of a felony.

“Shkreli is best known for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent and trolling his critics,” the AP reports.

Read the article.


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Can the President Be Indicted? A Long-Hidden Legal Memo Says Yes

A newfound memo from Kenneth W. Starr’s independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton sheds fresh light on a constitutional puzzle that is taking on mounting significance amid the Trump-Russia inquiry: Can a sitting president be indicted?

The New York Times reports that the 56-page memo, locked in the National Archives for nearly two decades and obtained by the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, amounts to the most thorough government-commissioned analysis rejecting a generally held view that presidents are immune from prosecution while in office.

Reporter Charlie Savage writes: “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties,” the Starr office memo concludes. “In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.”

Read the NYT article.


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New Jersey GC Sentenced to Prison in $2.4M Timeshare Scam

The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that the former general counsel of an New Jersey timeshare consulting service was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to obstruct justice in a federal criminal case tried in 2013, federal prosecutors in New Jersey said.

Joshua L. Gayl, 37, was GC of the Vacation Financial, which offered phony consulting services to owners of timeshares, reports Jeff Blumenthal.

Gayl pleaded guilty in March 2016 to a criminal information charging him with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

“Gayl admitted that he misled a witness after learning that the witness told the FBI about being defrauded by VO. Prosecutors said he contacted the witness, hoping to obtain statements favoring the defense at trial. He offered the witness assistance in exchange for the information given to authorities” writes Blumenthal.

Read the Business Journal article.



Disgraced Fugitive Lawyer Sentenced in Absentia to 12 Years in Prison

A federal judge sentenced disgraced former disability lawyer Eric C. Conn to 12 years in prison Friday even though Conn is a fugitive, according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves imposed the sentence in absentia against Conn in federal court in Lexington, KY. The 12-year sentence was the maximum for the two charges covered in a plea deal that was in place.

Reporter Bill Estep writes that Conn, 56, was once one of the top disability lawyers in the country, representing thousands of people in successful claims for benefits from the Social Security Administration and making millions in fees. But then in March Conn pleaded guilty to stealing from the government and paying illegal gratuities to a Social Security judge.

The conspiracy outlined by Conn included using false evidence of clients’ physical or mental disabilities in their claims. Some doctors were paid to sign forms with little scrutiny, and Conn bribed the Social Security judge to approve claims.

Read the Herald-Leader article.


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