Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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Former DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer W. Burrell Ellis, Jr. was indicted in 2013 on fifteen counts of attempted extortion and other acts of alleged corruption. He was re=indicted in early 2014 on thirteen counts relating to attempted extortion, theft, coercion, bribery and perjury. The first indictment was nolle prossed, and his first trial ended in a mistrial. Ellis was retried in 2015 on nine counts: four counts of attempt to commit theft by extortion, three counts of perjury, one count of bribery and one count of theft by extortion. The extortion charge came from Ellis' alleged attempt to procure a $2500 political campaign contribution from a DeKalb County vendor by threatening to cut the vendor's contract with the County if the Vendor did not pay. The perjury charges stemmed from Ellis allegedly lying to a Special Purpose Grand Jury about his role in cutting the contract of the same DeKalb County vendor. On appeal, Ellis contended, among other things, that his rights to substantive due process and equal protection of the laws were violated based on the inapplicability of the former version of OCGA 45-11-4 to his case, and that the trial court erred with respect to various evidentiary matters at his trial. The Supreme Court found that, although the trial court properly concluded that the inapplicability of former OCGA 45-11-4 to Ellis’ case did not result in any violation of his constitutional rights, the Court nevertheless reversed Ellis’ convictions based on certain evidentiary errors that occurred at his trial. Accordingly, the Court affirmed in part and reversed in part to allow for a retrial on the charges of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion and perjury. View "Ellis v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Katherine Fleming was indicted on two counts of identity fraud and two counts of financial transaction fraud. She entered a negotiated guilty plea, which allowed for deferred sentencing and participation in a drug court program. Her plea agreement specified that she would be sentenced to eight years of probation if she completed the drug court program, but she would be sentenced to ten years, with the first four to be served in prison and the remaining six to be served on probation, including residential substance abuse treatment, if she failed to complete the program. The agreement also provided that she would make restitution payments under either scenario. After more than two years in the program, Fleming was terminated from the drug court program for failure to comply with its rules. Consistent with the plea agreement, the trial court then imposed a ten-year sentence, the first four to be served in prison and the remaining six to be served on probation, including residential substance abuse treatment. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine under what circumstances a defendant may receive sentence credit for participation in a drug court program established under OCGA 15-1-15. After that review, the Court held that no sentence credit for participation in a drug court program was warranted in this particular case. View "Fleming v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Stephen Jenkins brought a tort action against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. alleging that a Bank teller had improperly accessed Jenkins’s confidential information and given it to her husband, allowing the husband to steal Jenkins’s identity. Jenkins claimed the Bank negligently failed to protect the information, breached a duty of confidentiality, and invaded his privacy. The trial court granted the Bank’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Court of Appeals reversed as to Jenkins’s negligence claim after finding that the allegations of his complaint established the elements of negligence. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that a violation of an alleged duty imposed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act gave rise to a cause of action for negligence under Georgia law. The Supreme Court concluded that the holding was in error, and reversed that portion of the judgment of the Court of Appeals. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Jenkins" on Justia Law