President's Financial Fraud Task Force Gets Rare Win in Atlanta and Other News

After another late night of listening to tapes of witness interviews and undercover phone calls, I’ve just put on a little Richie Havens to look over the federal criminal news for you readers.

Much has been written over the past couple of years about the lack of financial institution fraud cases brought by the Department of Justice. However, the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, Sally Quillian Yates, announced yesterday a sentencing in a case investigated by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Task Force. Mrs. Yates announced that Atlanta businessman, Charles Michael Vaughn, who operated CM Vaughn Emerging Ventures Fund, was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $9 million in restitution.


The announcement lauded the efforts of the multi-agency approach of federal law enforcement, regulatory agencies and others working to investigate and prosecute financial crimes in the markets. Quite frankly, that seems like a little bit of a stretch here to fit this case in that dynamic. This case seems more like the usual sort of fraud case traditionally handled by the FBI, or Postal Service.


Of absolutely no relation, but of note because it is such a rare event, federal district court Judge Richard J. Holwell, 65, is leaving the bench to form a boutique firm with two of his former partners at White & Case. Judge Holwell recently presided over the insider trading trial of Raj Rajaratnam. Of particular interest, Judge Holwell, noted in his interview with the New York Times that being a federal judge is “an extremely rewarding job, but [that it] can also be an extremely isolating job.” Also, he said that his move back into private practice had nothing to do with the compensation difference between private practice and the judiciary. You gotta like the guy to. Instead of maintaining the “Judge” before his name in private practice, he says, “I’m going back to Rick.”

Justice Kennedy Comments On Our Prison Nation

As reported by the LA Times, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, in a speech to the Los Angeles legal community at Pepperdine University, derided the state of our nation’s prison mentality. In what was described as an “otherwise courtly and humorous address,” Justice Kennedy remarked that “California now has 185,000 people in prison at $32,500 a year.” Justice Kennedy noted that U.S. prison sentences are eight times longer than those issued by the European court system.

We have previously commented about the criminalization of virtually everything in our nation. We even have a federal criminal law on the books for the unlawful use of the character of “Smokey Bear” (seriously – look it up – 18 U.S.C. 711) and interstate transportation of dentures (18 U.S.C. 1821 – you can’t make this stuff up)! More importantly, has been the use of honest services mail fraud (18 U.S.C. 1346) by federal prosecutors to fashion together a federal criminal common law, which the Supreme Court, we hope, will soon reign in.

Nevertheless, it is nice to note that the oppressive length of our prison sentences are not lost on our Supreme Court. Injustice is being done in our justice system.

Macon Lawyer Mark Treadwell Nominated for MDGA Federal Judgeship

Macon attorney Mark Treadwell has been nominated by President Obama to fill a District Court vacancy in the Middle District of Georgia created by Judge Hugh Lawson’s taking of senior status. The Macon Telegraph reports that Mr. Treadwell was informed yesterday of his nomination.

Mr. Treadwell, a 1981 graduate of Mercer University School of Law, is a partner in the firm of Adams, Jordan & Treadwell, P.C. After graduation Mr. Treadwell worked for a large Atlanta firm before returning to Macon in 1985, where he has resided and practiced law. He is a fellow of the distinguished American College of Trial Lawyers and teaches as an adjunct Professor of Law at Mercer’s School of Law.

Mr. Treadwell’s firm’s website is here and his resume is here.