Can Insider Trading be a Civil Crime?

As we are aware, buying and selling stocks based on inside information which has not been disclosed to the public is illegal.  However, there are different penalties for insider trading including a civil penalty or a criminal penalty.  The civil penalty would only result in a fine, the criminal penalty would likely include a fine and jail time.  The question a criminal defense lawyer may be asked is how a civil penalty or a criminal penalty would be determined in an insider trading case.  From the outside looking in, it would appear that some of those who were accused of insider trading received only a civil penalty, while others served jail time for essentially committing the same crime.

There are some important factors which are used to determine the penalty for insider trading crimes.  First, how significant is the issue of the specific insider trading case?  This would include amounts of money lost or earned fraudulently, the number of people involved or affected and how long the insider trading practices took place.  Second, there needs to be evidence of wrongdoing, and, more specifically, there needs to be a “corroboration of others to prove a criminal case.”  Third, any other securities violations would be taken into consideration.

Once the Securities and Exchange Commission gets involved in an initial investigation for a potential insider trading case, the Department of Justice will have the opportunity to step in as well.  Should the SEC feel that the case is fortified with enough information to lead to a criminal conviction, the DOJ could do its own investigation to be sure it leads to the same conclusion.

In addition to the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority also gives the DOJ as heads-up on potential criminal cases.  FIRNA is the largest independent regulator in the United States.  They are looking for insider trading activities and they often make inquiries on trades that look suspicious.  If their inquiries reveal wrongdoings, FIRNA will share their information with state or federal authorities.

White collar criminal defense attorneys know that FIRNA and the SEC are the two agencies that sniff out insider trading activities, then pass along their information to the FBI or state police.  One attorney in New York stated that “those involved in insider trading cases that result in civil charges rarely offend again.  Insider trading crimes are typically crimes of opportunity with a rational person making an irrational decision to act.”

Our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer at The Mace Firm spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout all over the United States. There are criminal lawyers all over the country, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston,  Miami, Myrtle Beach, Pawleys Island, Surfside Beach, Columbia and several other areas.

If you or someone you know is facing federal criminal or state criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer in your area. A federal criminal lawyer at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of our federal criminal attorneys to schedule your free consultation.

Google Loses Federal Appeal

Google loses federal appeal regarding Street View.  Most of the people who use Google are aware of a feature on the site known as Street View.  Street View allows users to see real photos of maps they are searching, instead of drawings.  To make this possible, Google uses vehicles known as Street View cars with camera poles mounted on their roofs to take photographs of roads all over the world.  The photos not only capture images of roads, they also show viewers homes, stores and vehicles located on those streets at the time of the photo.  Sounds like a useful tool, and innocent at that.  However, as the cameras on the Street View cars were taking the photos of the roadways, they were also collecting “detailed information” and transmitting it over Wi-Fi networks they passed through.  This information included emails, usernames, passwords, photos and documents.  In the federal appeal filed in the case, Google was said to have wrongfully collected this personal information and, as a result, violated wiretap laws.

In their defense, Google argued that the Street View activities were not in violation of the wiretap law because data transmitted over Wi-Fi is considered a “radio connection” and is easily accessible to the public.  The federal appeals court disagreed with their defense and sided with the lower court judge’s ruling.  This is the first time an appeals court has ruled that it is illegal to “sniff out and collect” personal data from Wi-Fi networks supplying internet connections to people’s homes.  This is also the first time a company, Google, has tried to do something like this.

Internet privacy experts are thrilled at the news, saying that the federal appeals court decision “is a tremendous victory for privacy rights.”  In addition to that, Google is no longer allowed to “wi-spy.”  Google has even offered an apology for their snooping, which happened between 2008 and the beginning of 2010.

Since the federal appeals court’s ruling, all of the plaintiffs whose privacy was compromised will be able to move forward with their case against the company.  Due to the extensive reach of Google’s “snooping,” potential damages may amount to billions of dollars.  In fact, earlier in 2013, Google settled a lawsuit involving 37 states for $7 million.  In that case, Google was sued by the attorney general for invading privacy by collecting various data.

Since the appeals action was finalized, Google has disabled the equipment responsible for collecting the data and plans to destroy the data which was collected.

When you are involved in a federal appeal case, it is wise to have the help, experience and knowledge of a federal appeal lawyer.  A good federal appeal lawyer will research past precedent and existing legal cases to find grounds for your appeal.  This is necessary because a the federal appeals court will not simply reverse the lower court’s decision for frivolous reasons.

If you or someone you know would like to file a federal criminal appeal in the Federal appeals court or state appeal, it will be in their best interests to speak with an experienced federal appeal lawyer.  Please call an appellate attorney at The Mace Firm for a free consultation today.