Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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A circuit court found Appellant David Cannon in contempt of court for violating (1) an order mandating that Appellant give up all authority and cease all activities relating to the James Brown estate, the Brown trusts, and all Brown entities (which he violated by filing amended tax returns without authority); and (2) an order requiring Cannon to pay back money he had misappropriated from Brown's estate. The circuit court ordered Appellant to be incarcerated for six months for contempt. However, the circuit court stated Appellant could purge himself of the contempt "by the payment of the aforementioned [money, with a portion] to be applied towards the payment of attorneys' fees incurred by the various parties, and the payment of a fine." The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings; upholding all of the circuit court's findings regarding the contempt except for the amount awarded towards attorneys' fees and the imposition of the fine. The Court of Appeals found the circuit court abused its discretion as to attorneys' fees because it did not make the necessary factual findings to support the amount awarded, so it "reverse[d] and remand[ed] the issue of attorneys' fees to the circuit court for findings of fact as to the proper amount. On remand, the circuit court held a hearing for the sole purpose of making findings of fact regarding the proper amount of attorneys' fees to be awarded for reimbursing the parties for attorneys' time related to the issue of Appellant's contemptuous conduct, and held that Appellant should pay. Appellant appealed this order, arguing payment of fees was mooted by his serving his jail sentence. The case was transferred from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals, concluding the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Appellant pay attorneys' fees. Further, the Court held that the issue of attorneys' fees was not mooted by Appellant serving his jail sentence. View "Ex parte: Cannon v. Estate of James Brown" on Justia Law

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Appellant John Sterling, Jr. was charged with three criminal offenses: securities fraud, making false or misleading statements to the State Securities Commission, and criminal conspiracy. He was convicted of securities fraud, acquitted of making a false or misleading statement and conspiracy, and received a five-year sentence.  Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing the trial judge abused his discretion in permitting testimony from investors, in denying appellant's directed verdict motion, and that the trial court committed reversible error in charging the jury. Charges against Appellant stemmed from a business venture related to the retail mortgage lending industry. After a merger between two companies, Appellant ceased being an employee of one of the acquired companies, but remained on the Board of Directors of the newly formed entity. The new entity had financial trouble from the onset, and began moving debts and assets among the surviving entities to hide its financial difficulties. Appellant's defense was predicated in large part on the fact that the financial maneuvers that took place were approved by outside auditors. Upon review of the trial court record, the Supreme Court found no error and affirmed Appellant's conviction. View "South Carolina v. Sterling" on Justia Law