• Crime Fiction,  Theology

    George V. Higgins and the Archeology of White-Collar Crime

    In popular culture, business-crime is presented cartoon-fashion. In movies, on television or in novels, businesspeople who are corporate targets of government investigations come across as Snidely Whiplashes with French cuffs.  This practice is predictable, its results boring.  Not so with the work of the late Boston-based novelist and one-time Assistant United States Attorney George V. Higgins (1939 – 1999).   From the George V. Higgins Collection at the University of South Carolina: George V. Higgins (1939-1999) succeeded in nine distinct careers, all of which are documented in his archive.  Armed with two English degrees and a law degree, Higgins became a journalist for the Associated Press, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal,…

  • Cocktails

    Milk Punch for Christmas Morning (via Garden & Gun)

    This Martha Foose’s Milk Punch recipe (from Garden & Gun magazine) looks like a fine replacement for eggnog: “A little cup of old school milk punch will keep the holidays merry and bright The first time Mississippi chef Martha Hall Foose tasted milk punch, she was at the Chart House in New Orleans, and now the drink is a staple on her holiday menu. Foose, the author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and a James Beard Award-winner, may have found the key to surviving the holidays. “We drink milk punch on Christmas morning after the presents are opened,” Foose says. “Then we all get back in our beds with…

  • Deferred Prosecution Agreements

    Confidentiality and Transparency in Deferred Prosecution Agreements

    Here’s a note about.DOJ Transparency In Deferred Prosecution Agreements Professor Podgor argues: It is hard to believe that someone would have to file a lawsuit to obtain information about a non-prosecution agreement of a corporation.  One can understand the need to protect individuals from the sting of criminality when an agreement is reached to defer a prosecution or when an individual is being spared a prosecution as an alternative method to rehabilitate that individual.  But corporations are not afforded the same rights as individuals. The government is quick to note that corporations do not have the same rights as individuals when they are trying to obtain corporate documents.  Fair enough, and…

  • Cocktails

    Holiday Punch

    Garden & Gun magazine has outstanding cocktail recipes.  We are not great ones for punch, here at the White Collar Wire, but in a season of good will, we might try this Garden & Gun Holiday Punch: Tagging behind the cocktail revival, however, has been a punch revival, spearheaded by the cocktail historian David Wondrich (see his encyclopedic 2010 book, Punch, for the whole shebang) and popularized by bartenders like Slater, whose bar menu features a revolving cast of oldfangled and newfangled punches. “Punch bowls are the original cocktails,” Slater says. This is true: The bowl preceded the glass by more than a century. Peruse some old punch recipes—and by old, I…

  • Costs, Budgets and Fees,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Take The Deal or Go To Trial? Exactly.

    The awful pressure to plead guilty, brought on by the significantly enhanced sentences that the Government often seeks where a defendant asserts his right to a trial, is highlighted in the media in drug cases, as here: Prosecutors Draw Fire for Sentences Called Harsh. For white-collar defendants — businesspeople who may be otherwise wholly unacquainted with the criminal justice system — the combination of mandatory minimums, ardent prosecutors and a public consciousness that prefers to blame for their woes abstractions (“Wall Street” or “the accountants” or “bankers”) rather than individual choices means that going to trial is almost impossible.  Plus, the costs can be prohibitive. Indeed, when a federal judge…

  • Compliance,  Sentencing

    It’s Only A Fine

    One would expect fines In civil and criminal enforcement actions to bear some relationship to both the offensive conduct and the statute that authroizes the fine, but that’s rarely the case.  Rather, they’re the product of strategy, tactics, raw power and solid horse-trading, as outlined by Professor Peter J. Henning: Fines, Without Explaining How They Were Calculated In particular, Professor Henning notes: For an individual, it is difficult to resist the broad authority granted to the S.E.C. to impose significant monetary penalties. For companies, the civil penalty is more a matter of how much they are willing to pay because limitations on the amount of a penalty seem to be…