Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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The Mississippi Secretary of State found that David Watkins and Watkins Development, LLC, committed four securities-fraud violations in connection with revenue bonds sold to finance a renovation project at the Metrocenter mall in Jackson. Watkins appealed and the chancery court vacated one count but affirmed the other three. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Secretary on all four counts. The Mississippi Supreme Court granted certiorari and reversed the Court of Appeals in part because the Secretary failed to cross-appeal the chancellor’s decision to vacate Count I. That said, the Court affirmed the Secretary’s findings on the other three counts. View "Watkins Development, LLC v. Hosemann" on Justia Law

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In 2005, Weight Watchers discovered that its bookkeeper, Dianne Belk, had embezzled nearly $1,000,000 from the business over a six-year period. Belk embezzled the money by writing checks to herself from Weight Watchers accounts. She concealed her writing of unauthorized checks by inputting legitimate vendors' names in the computerized bookkeeping system as the ostensible payees. However, Belk would type her name as payee on the paper checks. Belk then would cash the checks at local banks and casinos, including the Rainbow Casino, and she often would gamble with the embezzled money. Belk reported her winnings to the Internal Revenue Service via W-2G forms provided by the casino, and she paid taxes on those winnings. According to the complaint, Belk lost roughly $240,000 of the stolen funds to Rainbow Casino. More than three years after first learning of Belk's embezzlement activities, Weight Watchers filed suit against Belk, Robert Belk, Jr. (Dianne's husband), Rainbow Casino-Vicksburg Partnership, L.P., Bally Technologies Inc. (the casino's management company),and five John Doe defendants. Weight Watchers' claims against Rainbow Casino and Bally Technologies were based on fraud, unjust enrichment, conversion, and negligence. Rainbow moved for summary judgment, arguing that the three-year statute of limitations had begun to run in 2005 when Weight Watchers first learned that Belk had been cashing unauthorized checks at the casino. Rainbow also argued, in the alternative, that summary judgment was appropriate because the casino was a holder in due course and that it did not have a legal duty to investigate the circumstances surrounding issuance of the checks. In this appeal, the Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the statute of limitations barred an action against a casino for its alleged involvement in an embezzlement scheme. Finding that the Weight Watchers failed to provide any evidence of fraudulent concealment by the casino, the Court agreed with the trial court that the statute of limitations had run at the time the suit was filed. View "WW, Inc. v. Rainbow Casino-Vicksburg Partnership, LP" on Justia Law