When we here at the Financial Fraud Law Blog think about financial fraud law, it does not take long before we think about the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. In a little over four years as U.S. Attorney – following his unanimous confirmation by the Senate – Bharara has played, and he most certainly continues to play, a major role in prosecuting all forms of financial fraud, from insider trading, income tax fraud, and securities fraud to money laundering, credit card fraud, and health care fraud (including recently charging 49 Russian diplomats and spouses with Medicaid fraud, despite their diplomatic immunity).
Much of his attention has been focused on large-scale, sophisticated financial frauds, which led him to create two new units in his office: the Complex Frauds Unit and the Civil Frauds Unit. The Civil Frauds Unit has collected close to $500 million in settlements since its inception, including multi-million dollar settlements with Deutsche Bank and CitiMortgage. The Complex Frauds Unit prosecutes financial frauds including cybercrimes, from computer hacking to identity theft to other kinds of Internet-related financial frauds.
He has a conviction rate that seems to be nearly perfect. For example, under Bharara, 33 people have been charged in connection with the Long Island Railroad disability fraud scheme – 28 have pleaded guilty and five have been convicted after trial.
Bharara has played an important role in seeking to combat corruption in New York City and New York State government. Just recently, moreover, he sought to bar corrupt politicians from keeping their government pensions.
Insider trading? He’s got that on his radar, with scores of insider trading convictions, including billionaire hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and Rajat Gupta.
Bharara also continues to play an important role in the Madoff case – even to the extent of obtaining Peter Madoff’s guilty plea for his role in his brother’s Ponzi scheme and a 10 year prison sentence for this Madoff family member.
Bharara takes public policy roles as well, recently warning that sequestration may lead to an increase in financial fraud. He has concluded a two year term as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and as chair of its subcommittee on White Collar Fraud but remains as co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
It is news when an Assistant U.S. Attorney leaves the Justice Department to join a private law firm – and it is particular news when an AUSA leaves Bharara’s office to join a private law firm, as has occurred a couple of times at least in the past few weeks (Former Assistant U.S. Attorney David Massey, Who Prosecuted Swiss Bank, Joins Richards Kibbe & Orbe; Federal Prosecutor Jeffrey Alberts to Lead Pryor Cashman’s White Collar Defense Practice).
More focused on financial fraud than any other U.S. Attorney, more closely associated with financial fraud prosecutions than anyone else in the Justice Department,
Preet Bharara is #1 in Financial Fraud Law for the year.
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