The notion that the complexity of securities law makes white collar cases difficult for prosecutors to win is pretty broadly accepted these day—indeed, to the extent that the jury that acquitted former Citigroup executive Brian Stoker of civil charges this summer urged the Securities and Exchange Commission not to be discouraged by the verdict.
Well, there’s moral complexity (who’s ultimately responsible?), there’s procedural complexity (how do you explain financial concepts to a jury?) and then there’s the somnial complexity, the daunting task of keeping a jury awake.
These are precarious times for the employees of financial firms, what with regulators elbowing each other over the biggest and best cases, looming criminal charges arising from the Justice Department’s Libor investigation, to say nothing of the SEC’s willingness to target middle managers (i.e. Brian Stoker), criminal investigations into JPMorgan’s trading losses, recent verdicts in municipal bond bid-rigging cases, etc. Point being, there’s plenty to worry about that.
Why he did it: PFGBest Founder Russell R. Wasendorf, who was arrested last week on allegations that his futures brokerage was missing more than $200 million in client segregated funds, wrote that he misappropriated funds to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Sort of like the Stuyvesant High Read More