Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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Defendant, an attorney, was charged with multiple counts of, inter alia, forgery of a document and uttering a forged instrument. The charges stemmed from allegations that Defendant, through his use of computers, orchestrated a sophisticated scheme to divert to himself funds that were intended to be used to pay off large home mortgage loans. Prior to trial, the Commonwealth filed a motion to compel Defendant to enter his password into encryption software he placed on various digital media storage devices that were in the custody of the Commonwealth. Following a hearing, a judge denied the Commonwealth’s motion to compel decryption but reported a question of law to the Supreme Judicial Court. The Court reversed the denial of the Commonwealth’s motion, concluding that Defendant could be compelled to provide his key to seized encrypted digital evidence provided that the compelled decryption would not communicate facts of a testimonial nature to the Commonwealth beyond what Defendant had already admitted to investigators. Remanded. View "Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, George Labadie and Susan Carcieri, the latter of whom was employed by a federal credit union, were convicted of violating Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 266, 52 for embezzling a “bank.” At issue on appeal was whether an employee of a federal credit union may be found guilty under section 52 of embezzlement of the credit union’s funds. The Supreme Court reversed and vacated Defendants’ convictions, holding (1) because the Commonwealth must prove under section 52 that the victim was a “bank” and because a federal credit union is not a “bank” as defined in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 167, 1, Defendants were entitled to judgments of acquittal on this charge; (2) larceny by embezzlement is a lesser included offense of embezzlement of a bank, and federal preemption doctrine does not bar state prosecution of a federal credit union employee for larceny by embezzlement; and (3) the jury’s verdicts demonstrated that the jurors found Defendants guilty of the required elements of the lesser included offense of larceny by embezzlement. Remanded for entry of convictions of larceny by embezzlement. View "Commonwealth v. Labadie" on Justia Law

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In 2000 Go-Best wired $5 million to an account entitled "Morris M. Goldings client account" at Citizens Bank, based on representations made by Morris M. Goldings, who was then a Massachusetts attorney. Goldings later admitted that the representations were false and that he had used the money to pay other debts. Go-Best filed suit against Citizens Bank, bringing claims of misrepresentation, conversion, aiding and abetting a fraud, aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting a conversion, and negligence. Citizens Bank had no knowledge of Goldings's scheme to defraud Go-Best but failed to notify the Board of Bar Overseers of dishonored checks issued on the client account more than six months before Go-Best wired funds into that account. The trial court dismissed, but a divided Appeals Court reversed in part, vacating dismissal of claims of negligence and of aiding and abetting. The Massachusetts Supreme Court reinstated dismissal. Without actual knowledge, the bank's duty to notify the board of dishonored checks from trust accounts arose only from its contractual duty, not from any duty in tort, so the bank could not be liable to Go-Best for any negligence in fulfilling that duty. View "Go-Best Assets Ltd. v. Citizens Bank of MA" on Justia Law