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Stricken wiretap information leads to dismissal of charges

Charges against nine individuals arrested in a so-called stock manipulation case were dismissed by federal prosecutors. It was reported that misstatements were used in order to seek approval for court-ordered wiretaps. This in turn made it impermissible to use information obtained through the wiretaps as evidence at trial.

It is quite rare for such a suit to be dismissed in this manner. The indictments of the nine were well-publicized last year after a three-year investigation had been conducted. Prosecuting attorneys dismissed the charges because an application to record telephone calls contained "omissions and misstatements."

The nine individuals arrested had been charged with promoting worthless stock and then later selling it for large profits. A prosecuting attorney had accused one of those arrested as being "a serial market manipulator." However, the wiretap evidence was challenged by those charged because government officials misled authorities concerning the need for the wiretaps to take place. "They failed to meet the necessity element, and they withheld information from the judge that could have been important in her assessment," stated the attorney for one of the defendants. Wiretapping is considered "highly invasive" and can "only be used in extraordinary circumstances."

White-collar crimes like the one mentioned above often involve extensive investigations and can last several years. With such aggressive prosecution, a great deal of evidence may need to be sifted through by criminal defense attorneys to examine what may or may not be admitted in court. An attorney should be contacted as soon as one suspects they are being investigated or about to be charged.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Charges dropped in stock manipulation case," Stuart Pfeifer, March 25, 2014

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