CHAMBERS USA 2017:  In May 2017, Creed Black was again ranked for the 12th consecutive year by Chambers & Partners Publishing as a leading individual in the field of "Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations," receiving a Band 1 ranking in Pennsylvania.   

 

WHITE COLLAR PRACTICE SEMINAR: On November 10, 2016, Creed Black spoke at the 2016 White Collar Practice Seminar, a program organized annually by the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.   Mr. Black, a PACDL member, was one of three panelists who prepared and presented a seminar course on federal sentencing, "Containing the Damage: The Bench and Defense Bar on White Collar Sentencing."  The two-day PACDL program, attended by criminal defense attorneys from throughout Pennsylvania as part of their continuing legal education, took place at The Union League in Philadelphia.

 

SUPER LAWYER RECOGNITON 2017:  In May 2017, Creed Black was recognized for the 14th time as a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" in the field of "Criminal Defense: White Collar," by Super Lawyers magazine.  Only five percent of Pennsylvania attorneys are chosen each year.

 

BEST LAWYERS 2018:   In August 2017, Creed Black was selected by Best Lawyers for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America (24nd Edition), in the practice area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar.  He was first recognized in 1995 and has now been included among the Best Lawyers in America for over 20 years.

 

BEST LAW FIRMS 2017:  In Novmber 2016, U.S. News and Best Lawyers  released their latest publication of Best Law Firms (7th Edition), ranking over 10,000 law firms nationally and by metropolitan area.  The solo firm of Creed Black was recognized in the Philadelphia metropolitan area as a "Tier 1" firm in the field of Criminal Defense: White Collar.  The firm has been recognized among the Best Law Firms since 2011.  

 

LAWYER OF THE YEAR 2011:  Best Lawyers, the oldest peer-review publication in the legal profession, named Creed Black as its "Philadelphia Best Lawyers Criminal Defense: White-Collar Lawyer of the Year" for 2011.  Only one lawyer in each field in each community is honored as Lawyer of the Year.  The Best Lawyers listings are based on peer ratings for ability, professionalism, and integrity.

 

SECURITIES ENFORCEMENT:  On October 11, 2016, the SEC announced its enforcement results for FY 2016, including filing a record 868 enforcement actions and obtaining $4 billion in disgorgement orders.  The filed actions included insider trading cases against 78 parties.   A record high $57 million was awarded to 13 whistleblowers, which was more than in all prior years combined since the inception of the whistleblower program in 2011.   Whistleblowers are eligible for awards if they voluntarily provide the SEC with unique useful information that leads to a successful SEC enforcement action.  Awards are based upon a percentage of monetary sanctions recovered by the SEC from defendants. 

 

HEALTH CARE ENFORCEMENT:  In February 2016, the Justice Department announced a $784 million settlement had been negotiated with Pfizer's Wyeth subsidiary, to resolve civil cases pending in the District of Massachusetts over the calculation of Medicaid rebates for Protonix during the period 2001-2006.  This is the latest is a series of settlements by the government with major pharmaceutical companies to resolve criminal and/or civil claims relating to promotional and billing practices.  In February 2014 Endo Pharmaceutical agreed to pay $171 million to resolve civil claims for the promotion of Lidoderm.  In November 2013 Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $1.39 billion to resolve claims involving Risperdal and other drugs.   In May 2012, Abbott Labs reached a $1.5 billion settlement with the government involving Depakote.  In 2009, the government reached a $1.4 billion settlement with Eli Lilly involving the antipsychotic medication Zyprexa.  In 2009 the government reached a $2.3 billion dollar settlement with Pfizer involving the painkiller Bextra.

 

CRIMINAL TAX ENFORCEMENT:  In October 2015, the IRS announced that its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) has resulted in the collection of more than $8 billion in back taxes, interest, and penalties.  The OVDP is designed to stop offshore tax evasion by US taxpayers using foreign bank accounts.  More than 54,000 taxpayers have participated since 2009 in OVDP.   A streamlined disclosure procedure was announced in 2012, and eligibility criteria were expanded in June 2014.  Recent statutory enactments and numerous Intergovernmental Agreeements now call for additional third-party reporting and make it less likely that offshore financial accounts will go undetected, acccording to the IRS, so additional civil and criminal enforcement activity may be expected against U.S. taxpayers who have not disclosed voluntarily.  

 

FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES:  In April 2016 the U.S. Sentencing Commission approved guidelines amendments, which became effective November 1, 2016. Those most relevant to white collar cases include provisions relating to "compassionate release," intended to broaden the eligibility requirements so that early release might become more available to elderly inmates with serious illness and family circumstances.  Also, there are amendments to the guidelines and policy statements concerning the "standard" and "special" terms of probation and supervised release, intended to revise, clarify and rearrange provisions governing the imposition and enforcement of  various conditions of supervision.  

 

SUPREME COURT NEWS:  On April 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided that the application of an incorrect guidelines range by the district court at sentencing can be a basis for a resentencing, even though the original sentence fell within the correct range.   In Molina-Martinez v. United States, No. 14-8913, the Court ruled that the incorrect use of an elevated guidelines range affected the defendant's substantial rights within the meaning of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b), qualifying him for a resentencing without first needing to present additional evidence that he would have received a lower sentence had the correct guidelines been used.  A contrary holding by the Fifth Circuit was reversed.

 

FEDERAL SENTENCING TRENDS:  In April 2016, the U.S. Sentencing Commission released data on sentences imposed during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015.  The data included over 71,000 federal criminal cases nationally; and 2,424 cases within the Third Circuit, including 715 cases from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (EDPA).   Within the EDPA, more than 94% of those 715 cases were resolved by guilty plea.  Among the EDPA cases, approximately 28% of the sentences fell within the guidelines range; 35% were below the guidelines, due to government motion based upon a defendant's cooperation against others; and 23% of defendants received favorable variances below the guidelines due to statutory factors in 18 U.S.C. Section 3553. That percentage (23%) was somewhat above the national average, where defendants nationwide obtained such favorable variances in only approximately 17% of the cases.

 

 

 

 

 


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