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Here is what we are reading today:
From @CrimeADay: 47 U.S.C. §553 makes it a federal crime to steal cable TV.
Madoff Bankruptcy Legal Fees Top $1 Billion (Bloomberg) - Unwinding the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history hasn’t been cheap. Six years after Bernard Madoff’s fraud collapsed, the cost of liquidating his defunct investment advisory firm to repay thousands of victims has topped $1 billion, though the con man’s former customers aren’t footing the bill.
Prosecutors Seek Joint Settlement With Banks In FX Probe (Bloomberg) - U.S. prosecutors are seeking to settle criminal currency-rigging cases with multiple banks at the same time, allowing lenders to avoid being singled out for industrywide conduct, according to people familiar with the matter. The agreements, which are likely to come early next year, will probably include price-fixing charges stemming from alleged collusion among traders, said the people, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private.
Steven Cohen's New Firm To Stop Paying Bonuses For Best Trade (DealBook) - Steven A. Cohen continues to take steps to send a message to federal authorities that his $10 billion family office will not run afoul of the law in the way his former hedge fund did. Mr. Cohen’s firm is putting an end to its long-standing practice of “tagging” trades as best investment ideas that could generate bigger bonuses. The decision to end the tagging of trades was announced on Thursday in a letter to employees of Mr. Cohen’s new firm, Point72 Asset Management.
An SEC Director With Big Stock Holdings Stirs Debate (Reuters) - Keith Higgins, who runs the office that reviews public companies' books at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, reported stock holdings worth between about $2 million and $6 million last year and the sale of stocks throughout 2014, according to SEC disclosures viewed by Reuters. Higgins disclosed holdings in about 90 public companies during his SEC tenure in 2013, making him the biggest investor in individual stocks among the agency's top officials last year.
Wynn Resorts Probed For Money Laundering Violations (WSJ) - Federal authorities are investigating whether casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. violated money-laundering laws, according to people familiar with the matter. Prosecutors from the Manhattan and Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s offices and investigators from the Internal Revenue Service and Drug Enforcement Administration are coordinating their efforts to look into the Las Vegas-based company, people familiar with the matter said.
Fmr TX Justice Of Peace Sentenced To Prison For Embezzlement (Waco Tribune) - Former McLennan County Justice of the Peace Jean Laster Boone was sentenced to nine months in federal prison Wednesday for stealing more than $16,000 in Social Security benefits intended for a friend who died four years ago. Laster Boone, 62, who pleaded guilty in September, will be allowed to remain free on bail and voluntarily report to prison once the U.S. Bureau of Prisons determines the location. Her attorney, Thomas West, asked that she be sent to a prison in Bryan.
Connecticut Man Sentenced To 18 Months Prison For Tax Evasion (Patch) - According to court documents and statements made in court, Robert Parker earned income by providing information technology services to various businesses. Between 1996 and 2012, Parker did not pay any federal income tax on approximately $2 million of income he received in his own name, and in the name of his alter ego entity known as Success Zone, LLC.
Justice System Is Flawed From Top To Bottom (JD Supra) - I am not an expert by any means, but I was a prosecutor for four years, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Hawaii, and I have spent the rest of my 32-year career as a white-collar criminal defense and civil trial lawyer. So I know a bit about the criminal justice system. I have never studied criminology or pored over criminal justice statistics. What I have to say is completely idiosyncratic and based solely on personal experience. My conclusion is that the criminal justice system is broken.
Fmr Massey CEO Blakenship Could Face 31 Years In Prison For Safety Violations In Mine Disaster (Bloomberg) - Massey Energy ex-chief Donald Blankenship pleaded not guilty to charges linked to the West Virginia explosion that killed 29 workers in the worst U.S. coal industry disaster in almost 40 years. Blankenship asked U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort today when he was ordered to post $5 million cash bail if he’d be allowed to stay in his Las Vegas home. He was ordered instead to remain in West Virginia until his trial, turn over his passport and not engage in gambling activity.
Stephen Walsh Ordered To Start 20 Year Prison Term (Bloomberg) - WG Trading Co. money manager Stephen Walsh was ordered to report to prison to begin serving a 20-year prison sentence for a $554 million fraud after a judge declined to hear another bid for leniency. U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in Manhattan denied Walsh’s request for an additional opportunity to address issues raised in a sentencing hearing last month and ordered him to report to prison Jan. 5.