A Poem Fit For White-Collar Crime: In the City of Night

John Gould Fletcher

John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)

A poem, In the City of Night, by John Gould Fletcher, that’s fit for white-collar crime:

In the City of Night

by John Gould Fletcher

(To the Memory of Edgar Allan Poe)

City of night,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

City of twilight,
City that projects into the west,
City whose columns rest upon the sunset, city of square, threatening 
    masses blocking out the light:
City of twilight,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

City of midnight, city that the full moon overflows, city where the cats 
    prowl and the closed iron dust-carts go rattling through the shadows:
City of midnight,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

City of early morning, cool fresh-sprinkled city, city whose sharp roof 
    peaks are splintered against the stars, city that unbars tall haggard 
    gates in pity,
City of midnight,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

City of rain, city where the bleak wind batters the hard drops once and again, 
    sousing a shivering, cursing beggar who clings amid the stiff Apostles on the 
    cathedral portico;
City where the glare is dull and lowering, city where the clouds flare and flicker 
    as they pass upwards, where sputtering lamps stare into the muddy pools 
    beneath them;
City where the winds shriek up the streets and tear into the squares, city whose 
    cobbles quiver and whose pinnacles waver before the buzzing chatter of raindrops 
    in their flight;
City of midnight,
Drench me with your rain of sorrow.

City of vermilion curtains, city whose windows drip with crimson, tawdry, tinselled, 
    sensual city, throw me pitilessly into your crowds.
City filled with women's faces leering at the passers by,
City with doorways always open, city of silks and swishing laces, city where bands 
    bray dance-music all night in the plaza,
City where the overscented light hangs tepidly, stabbed with jabber of the crowd, 
    city where the stars stare coldly, falsely smiling through the smoke-filled air,
City of midnight,
Smite me with your despair.

City of emptiness, city of the white façades, city where one lonely dangling lantern 
    wavers aloft like a taper before a marble sarcophagus, frightening away the ghosts;
City where a single white-lit window in a motionless blackened house-front swallows 
    the hosts of darkness that stream down the street towards it;
City above whose dark tree-tangled park emerges suddenly, unlit, uncannily, a grey 
    ghostly tower whose base is lost in the fog, and whose summit has no end.
City of midnight,
Bury me in your silence.

City of night,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

City of restlessness, city where I have tramped and wandered,
City where the herded crowds glance at me suspiciously, city where the churches are 
    locked, the shops unopened, the houses without hospitality,
City of restlessness,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

City of sleeplessness, city of cheap airless rooms, where in the gloom are heard snores 
    through the partition, lovers that struggle, couples that squabble, cabs that rattle, 
    cats that squall,
City of sleeplessness,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

City of feverish dreams, city that is being besieged by all the demons of darkness, city of 
    innumerable shadowy vaults and towers, city where passion flowers desperately and 
    treachery ends in death the strong:
City of night,
Wrap me in your folds of shadow.

 

 

 


Weekend Cocktails | Backwards Bartending and Neo-’80s Beverages

 

White Collar Wire’s weekend cocktail notes.

Gastronomista.

Gastronomista.

From Emily Arden Wells, who writes as Miss Emma Emerson at Gastronomista, here are cocktails served backwards in crisp videos.  As she says:

You sit down at a bar, peruse the menu, decide on a tipple, order, and then… wait.  It is this moment of waiting that has indescribable power.  This moment is filled with anticipation – a pause – and it is the time I always use to watch the scene behind the bar.  I carefully observe the tender of bar, watching his or her hands quickly trade bottle for bottle, add ice, bitters, and then delightfully shake the concoction or stir with casual flair.  It’s a glorious moment, a moment when one always asks themselves, will the cocktail be as magnificent as I’ve imagined???  And then, there it is.  A glorious potation filled glass shimmering in the bar’s candle light, waiting to be devoured.  And then, the moment of climax: the first sip.

Ahhhhhh……

Jude Goergen from Glassbackwards has found a way to make this moment of anticipation even better – each cocktail is prepared backwards.  Yes, backwards, and, some might argue, it’s even better that way.

These high-quality videos give one added appreciation for the art of a good bartender.

Green means go.   (photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

Green means go (photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

From the Washington Posta revival of ’80s cocktails:

When cocktail lovers talk about “classic” cocktails, they usually mean drinks made before 1950: The Perfect Martini, the Singapore Sling, the Daiquiri. Few would make the case that a Kamikaze or Harvey Wallbanger belongs in such exalted company.

Unless, of course, they work at the Majestic.

Still, a little too green for us.

 

 

 

 


ABA White-Collar Crime Committee Winter/Spring 2014 Newsletter

Suit looks tight.

Suit looks tight.

Here’s the ABA White-Collar Crime Committee Winter Spring 2014 Newsletter.

 

 

 

 

Good articles on:

  • INTERNATIONAL WHITE COLLAR CRIME AND DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS
  • CORPORATE COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN ITALY:
    ARE THEY THE SAME?
  • GIVE ME BACK MY BOOKS AND RECORDS: APPLICATION OF RULE 41(G) IN RESPONSE TO FEDERAL SEARCH AND SEIZURE WARRANTS
  • HOT ISSUES IN CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURES
  • THE BOARD’S ROLE IN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMPLIANCE: GUARDIAN AND GUIDE
  • SEC ARGUES FOR BROAD CONSTRUCTION OF DODD-FRANK ACT
    WHISTLEBLOWER ANTI-RETALIATION PROVISION
  • DOES THE GREEN LIGHT MEAN GO?: WILL SEC’S NEW RULES FOR SMALL OFFERINGS INCREASE STATE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS?
  • NEW PROPOSED RULES INCREASE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS’
    RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Thoughtful.

Thoughtful.

We have written on several of these issues, as well, including deferred prosecution agreements.

 


For Corporate Counsel || Stalking Horses, Pitchfork Crowds, Narrow Neckties, Mr. Rogers’s Slippers and Indicted Employees: 6 Steps To Dodge Being Deweyed

" . . . brave, clean and reverent.  And, cooperative in the civil investigation."

” . . . brave, clean and reverent. And, cooperative in the civil investigation.”

You may (or may not) recall the Boy Scout Law:

“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, friendly, brave, clean and reverent.”

Your corporate employees, officers and colleagues may exhibit all, some or none of those characteristics.  Even if one masters all the peculiars of the Boy Scout Law, however, strict adherence is no shield against indictment in the situation where one moves from “witness” to “target” for reasons outside the control of the “Scout.”

So: herewith 6 lessons to heed if you wish to avoid ending up like a young man named Zachary Warren.

 

Mother's Day.

Mother’s Day.

It is unusual for the government to indict leaders of a major law firm, as the Manhattan District Attorney’s office indicted three of the leaders of the now very-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf.  What has caused the most discussion, controversy and even introspection is the indictment of a fourth defendant, one Zachary Warren, a 29 year-old “client relations manager”  — apparently, a glorified internal bill collector with a distinguished resume, both before and after Dewey.

What can inside counsel, or those who advise them, learn from the path that led these four men — but young Mr. Warren, in particular — to being charged and perp-walked?  More remains to be told of this tale: as in all such white-collar sagas, there are likely at least two sides to every side.  I do not know Mr. Warren, nor do I have any special insight into what he, the investigating agents and the prosecutors were or might have been thinking.

Nevertheless, I can at least provide six lessons on how to minimize the likelihood that you — inside corporate counsel, risk manager or chief compliance officer — will have to explain to the boss or the board how your own Mr. or Ms. Warren got himself in a criminal fix.

Some background is unavoidable.  The best places to start are an article by James B. Stewart in the New York Times (A Dragnet at Dewey & LeBoeuf Snares a Minnow); an Atlantic article by Stewart (In Dewey’s Wreckage, Indictments); and a post by David Lat at Above The Law (What Dewey Know About Zachary Warren, Defendant No. 4 In The Criminal Case?).  Read the articles in full, but here are some relevant portions:

From James B. Stewart in the Times:

“You’ve been indicted,” an assistant Manhattan district attorney, Peirce Moser, told Zachary Warren, a 29-year-old magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown Law School with a prestigious clerkship on the Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Memphis.

“Can you say that again?” a stunned Mr. Warren asked when he received the call two weeks ago Friday.

Almost as surprised as Mr. Warren himself were Mr. Warren’s cellmates before his arraignment a week ago — the top managers of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the global law firm that imploded in 2012. Although some of them had trouble remembering who Mr. Warren was, the indictment claims that all four were co-conspirators in a major accounting fraud. The firm’s chairman, executive director and chief financial officer, ages 60, 57 and 55, had long known that they were the subjects of a criminal investigation. All had prominent criminal lawyers, while Mr. Warren had hired a lawyer only after the phone call that Friday.

Alone among the defendants, Mr. Warren was charged in two separate indictments, one accusing him of a “scheme to defraud” and falsifying business records and the other charging him with six felony counts of having “made and caused” false entries in books and records. Mr. Warren pleaded not guilty and was released on $200,000 bail. His once-bright future has now been threatened.

How did a 29-year-old with an impeccable record, someone who had never even taken an accounting course, end up as an accused mastermind of what the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., called “a massive effort to cook the books” of the once-giant law firm? And how did he get there without realizing he should hire a lawyer?

From Mr. Lat:

I fall somewhere in between the extremes of “naive youngster ambushed by the DA’s office” and “arrogant lawyer full of hubris.” Here’s my theory as to why Zachary Warren didn’t bring a lawyer with him to the interview: he didn’t see himself as one of “those people,” i.e., a potential criminal defendant.

And now for the 6 lessons.

And now for the 6 lessons.

Lesson Number 1: Recognize that the danger is not innocence or naivete on the one hand, nor guilt or arrogance on the other, but rather the conviction that “I” am not one of them.

What’s the tag line of the blog you’re reading?  Don’t read us because you’re a criminal.  Read us because, some time or other, someone may think you are.  In his Above The Law post, Mr. Lat alludes to the problem, which is perhaps the most common trait among people charged with white-collar offenses.  No employee, colleague, officer or director thinks that he or she is a criminal.  Ready to do what you have to do for your family and future?  Absolutely.  Willing to throw an elbow?  When needed, sure.  Holding your nose through something unethical?  Well, there was that one time, back in 1990.

But something criminal?  Nope.  No way.  Criminals are people who break the law.  They steal stuff and hurt people.

The Government point-of view (via New Line Cinema).

The Government point-of view (via New Line Cinema).

The task that arises from lesson number 1 is to convince those you are guiding that their assessment of their culpability (or lack of culpability) is irrelevant to how agents, investigators, prosecutors, regulators and politicians will view their culpability.  Indeed, some of the facts that your employee trumpets as an emblem of innocence may, in the government’s eyes — or “Eye,” if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan — be just as likely a badge of fraud.

Lesson Number 2: The civil case is always a stalking horse for the criminal case.

Not very sporting.

Not very sporting.

Of course, “always” is not “always,” but it is often enough to make it reliable.  If a person believes he or she is part of a civil inquiry only, he or she will conclude — wrongly — that the exposure is limited.  An employee or officer being interviewed by law enforcement or prosecutors should assume that there is a shadow criminal investigation and that he or she is at least a “subject” of that investigation.

We'd like a word.

We’d like a word.

Lesson Number 3: The company’s civil case and the individual officer or employee’s criminal case are on two different planets because of the current pitchfork mentality about putting “somebody” in jail. 

Corporations are not natural persons and cannot be imprisoned.  When very bad things happen, the natural impulse is to determine (or shift) blame.  The fruit of that impulse is to hope someone goes to jail — even where the civil and criminal standards are different; where “knowledge” and “intent” must be discerned differently; and where the rules of evidence and Constitutional principles apply to individuals in ways that differ from the manner in which they apply to corporate entities.  Judges are not immune from such sentiments, as where a federal judge publicly urges the Department of Justice to prosecute individuals:

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley approved the auto maker’s settlement with prosecutors Thursday, saying it “painted a reprehensible picture of corporate misconduct.” But he added that ultimately individuals are responsible for corporate misconduct and urged the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which conducted the investigation into Toyota, to continue its probe.

“I sincerely hope that this is not the end but rather the beginning to seek to hold those individuals responsible for making these decisions accountable,” Judge Pauley said during a roughly 20-minute hearing in Manhattan federal court.

When asked if prosecutors would pursue individuals during a news conference Wednesday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he wasn’t “foreclosing anything” but believed the settlement is the “final resolution” of the case.

“[T]he rules of evidence sometimes do not allow you to use certain kinds of evidence and certain documents against individuals, although they might be admissible against the company itself,” said Mr. Bharara. “And so although there is an admission that there were individuals who engaged in conduct which provides for a basis to bring a case against the company, they are not charged here.”

The comments add to a growing chorus from judges who have criticized prosecutors for settling claims of wrongdoing with companies while not bringing charges against executives or others who actually made the decisions.

 

Lesson Number 4: Government agents and investigators lie to you.  They deceive you all the time; it is ethical for them to do so; and there is little you can do about it.

Many employees think that, in general, law-enforcement agents do not lie (or, at least, that law-enforcement agents do like lie to people like them).

Not so forbidden, actually.

Not so forbidden, actually.

Surprisingly large numbers of otherwise savvy, well-educated people profess shock and dismay when they find out that an agent has misled them, told them an untruth or left out an important fact that might have changed their answer to a question.

However heartfelt, such dismay is misplaced.  Much of what we expect law-enforcement to do — especially with regard to undercover operations, searches-and-seizures and interrogations — is premised on not being forthcoming.  Like any other witness, an FBI agent or a sheriff’s deputy must testify truthfully in court proceedings, and is subject to perjury and other sanctions if he or she fails to do so.  By the time we reach that stage of an investigation and prosecution, however, our employee or colleague has already spoken with the agents out of a desire to cooperate; from fear of being perceived as not cooperating; or from embarrassment at being associated with particular events, even by implication.

This compulsion to speak leads us to the next lesson: avoid the Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Syndrome.

Lesson Number 5: Teach your employees and colleagues to avoid the Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Syndrome.

Getting carded, back when there was no casual Friday.

Getting carded, back when there was no casual Friday.

I’ve spoken before on why businesspeople talk to agents without having their lawyer or the company lawyer present.  I call it the “Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Syndrome,” named after the star of the old television series The FBI.  Watch this 140-second video on the Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Syndrome, then keep reading.

(An aside: I’ve written before on the relationship between crime and narrow neckties: Criminals In Ties: Contract Law and Reservoir Dogs)

 

 

 

Lesson Number 6: Tell the truth in response to questions you understand, and demand a new question if you don’t understand the old one, but don’t put on Fred Rogers’s slippers.

If your employee or colleague decides to cooperate in an investigation, they need to meditate on the old chestnut “in for a penny, in for a pound.”  Lying is the quickest path to indictment.  In complicated, expensive, protracted business-crime or regulatory investigations, false-statement or obstruction charges are easier and cheaper to prove that the underlying, substantive conduct.  And, judges and juries jump to conclusions about liars and document-shredders.

Foot powder and an immunity letter.

Foot powder and an immunity letter.

On the other hand, answering “truthfully” does not mean answering “cuddly.”  Assume that the agent knows the answer (or has a decent guess about the answer, or has a preconceived notion about the answer) to every question that he or she poses.  Further, assume that each question, and therefore each answer, is at best a “neutral” event from the perspective of the person being questioned.

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Friday Cocktails | Drinking In London, Watching Your Vocabulary and Freezing Your Cubes

To begin the weekend: London’s top cocktail bars, a whiskey glossary and a history of ice cubes.

The Connaught.

The Connaught.

London Calling. The drinks aren’t cheap, but here’s a look from The Guardian at the top 10 classic cocktail bars in London:

London’s cocktail scene is booming, with new bars opening all the time – but if you want to treat yourself to a flawless classic then head to a hotel bar. Cocktail expert Jared Brown chooses the best, plus some cutting edge places where top mixologists are producing drinks destined to become the new classics.

 

"Vermouth" before "whiskey" but after "gin."

“Vermouth” before “whiskey” but after “gin.”

Definitions.  From the folks at Saveur, a handy whiskey glossary.

"All I said was that my martini wasn't cold enough."

“All I said was that my martini wasn’t cold enough.”

Cutting Much Ice.  And, in what may the best tangentially-related article on cocktails, here is Freezer Harvest: A History of Ice Cubes, from Modern Farmer magazine:

While it’s usually challenging to trace the origins of specific cocktails (with all the drinking the details get lost), we understand pretty well how ice got into all of them. It started when one entrepreneur named Frederic Tudor had the idea to harvest lake and pond ice from New England states and sell it in hotter countries. He began sending ships full of ice from Boston to Martinique and Cuba in 1806, expanded the business to Southern US states, and his ice reached as far as India. In the process he created the ice trade.

Up until that point many cocktails were made with added water, but it didn’t take long for the concept of “cooling drinks” with ice to catch on. Different shapes of ice were specified for different drinks: lumps of ice for cocktails, shaved ice for juleps, and cobblestone ice for cobblers. These new drinks were so delicious it seems every foreign visitor to the U.S. in the early 1800s commented on the marvelous cocktails in this country. Soon, “American bars” opened up in big cities around the world serving these refreshing and exotic delicacies. But the glory days of the cocktail in America came to an end in 1920.

The thirteen years of Prohibition pretty much killed the art of bartending in America, and it took decades for things  to begin to turn back around. It wasn’t until after 2000 that a critical mass of American bartenders began looking to drink books from Frederic Tudor’s time, and classic cocktails came back into fashion. High-end bars gave better attention to each element in the cocktail, from the base spirit to the type of sugar used in the simple syrup, and eventually to the shape and size of ice best-suited to each drink. The problem was that by then nobody harvested ponds anymore, and machine-made ice provided one size of cube for all types of drinks in most bars.

I’m going home to check the freezer.

 

 




Need to Know | Nuts-and-Bolts of The Toyota Deferred-Prosecution Agreement

Toyota logoFrom the Wall Street Journal‘s law blog (@WSJLaw and @jacobgershman), here is a good summary of the Highlights from Toyota’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement With Prosecutors.  Note that the agreement provides, as is common, for the appointment of an independent monitor, and the scope of the monitor’s review-authority seems quite broad.  (Perhaps the Government had in mind Apple’s recent battles with its monitor).

Beware of Greeks and corporate monitors bearing gifts.

Beware of Greeks and corporate monitors bearing gifts.

Here is a copy of the Toyota deferred prosecution agreement.

For further reading about the benefits and burdens of DPAs, we’ve discussed them before: White Collar Wire on deferred prosecution agreements


“After Deadline” and What White-Collar Lawyers Need: Grammar and Style

Readin' and writin' and 'rithmetic.

Readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmetic.

From Philip B. Corbett and the indispensable folks at “After Deadline,” the New York Times grammar and style column, this post on Bright Passages.

In particular:

In a brief respite from danglers and who/whom problems, here’s another small sampling of sparkling prose from the last few weeks.

 

 


White Collar Wire: Now On The ABA Blawg Directory

ABA-JournalWe’re very happy to now be part of the American Bar Association Journal’s Blawg Directory.

 

Here’s the ABA post:

White Collar Wire

Blawg

A blog about law.

 

"Blogs?  We don't need no stinkin' blogs."

“Blogs? We don’t need no stinkin’ blogs.”