A lot has changed in 26 years. The rapid expansion of e-mail as a primary form of communication is one of the biggest developments since Congress enacted the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in 1986. When Congress drafted that bill, it could not have envisioned that people would store private messages on the Internet - as a result, the law is now problematic in the real world.
Steven Cohen and his legendarily successful firm, SAC Capital Advisors, have attracted attention from government agencies for years. As the Wall Street Journal reported, "regulators have suspected that [Cohen's] success partly stemmed from insider trading." SAC Capital has been in the news twice in the last week. Just days after federal authorities announced a criminal case against one of its former portfolio managers named Matthew Martoma, the firm disclosed that the SEC is also considering a civil case against it for fraud.
Earlier this week, a previous post introduced the story of one defendant who found himself caught up in a massive government investigation after an IRS agent saw him in a TV interview. Based on nothing other than curiosity about how the man could afford to train for a race while still earning a living, the agent started a determined investigation.
Over a year ago, in September 2011, authorities arrested a trader at UBS's London offices, accusing him of massive fraud and claiming that he caused the bank to lose $2.3 billion. This week after two months of trial, a jury in the United Kingdom convicted him on two of the British government's six charges.
Even compared to a 4,600 mile run across the Sahara Desert, 21 months in a federal prison was a harsh punishment for one man who recently completed his sentence. This man served the sentence after his epic desert run to raise awareness for clean water projects in Africa attracted the attention of a determined IRS agent.
When authorities decide to prosecute large financial crimes cases, they come prepared to win. Another case ended this week when a defendant changed her original plea - she now admits to taking money while working as comptroller for a small town.
Law enforcement officers arrested six Miami-area residents this week after 49 Aventura police officers and several other city employees reported identity theft-related tax fraud. This arrest shows that authorities in Florida and around the country are increasingly focused on tax return fraud.
Miami and South Florida remain a central focus area in the FBI's war against healthcare fraud. A new press release from the FBI explains how it has relied on well-funded multi-office task forces to investigate and prosecute defendants here in Miami. That approach is working so well here that the authorities are expanding around the nation with similar teams.
This is the second post covering an ongoing trial that accuses two financial professionals of using insider information to illegally earn $67 million in profits. The last post briefly explained insider trading charges and this one will look at the use of wiretap devices in large fraud cases.
A massive criminal prosecution is going to trial this week in a case that started two years ago with the FBI's raids on several prominent hedge funds. Authorities are accusing two fund co-founders of earning more than $67 million by engaging in illegal insider trading.
Undercover federal agents arrested two people in a Miami hotel over the summer after the couple tried to sell a stolen Matisse painting. The painting, originally from a Venezuelan museum, is estimated to be worth $3 million. Last week, the couple pleaded guilty in a Miami federal court, admitting to conspiracy charges.
A federal jury in Miami convicted four men for helping carry out a $160 million tax fraud scheme. The defendants, two of whom are from South Florida, could face lengthy prison sentences for preparing falsified tax returns on behalf of their clients.
Prosecutors are increasingly focused on tax refund fraud, pursuing cases totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in Florida alone. Tax refund fraud occurs when a person uses a stolen identity to submit false tax returns. It is possible to cash refund checks before the Internal Revenue Service discovers its mistake - but the IRS investigates these cases aggressively.