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BKLW Secures Misdemeanor for Tech Professional Charged with CAN-SPAM Act Violations

Thu 20th Oct 2022, Blog, Case Successes

A BKLW trial team consisting of attorneys Whitney Z. Bernstein, Thomas H. Bienert, Jr., and Carlos Nevarez and paralegal Leah Thompson secured a misdemeanor and no-jail time resolution in the middle of a multi-felony complex trial on behalf of the firm’s client, a non-resident technology professional working in the United States on an employment visa. The client and three others were charged in the indictment with one felony count of conspiracy, four felony counts of wire fraud, and five felony counts of electronic mail fraud on charges relating to the alleged theft of “IP netblocks” used to send large amounts of emails through the internet. He faced a potential sentence of decades in prison, an alleged loss of over $70 million, and certain deportation from the United States if convicted of the charges. Led by Ms. Bernstein, a few days into trial the BKLW team secured a global misdemeanor settlement for the client that limited the loss amount to $9,700 and called for no jail time. At sentencing, after argument by Ms. Bernstein, the court not only adopted the $9,700 loss amount and gave no jail time, but also reduced the client’s fine, over the government’s objection, from $100,000 to $25,000.

The trial result was the culmination of a multi-year defense effort by a larger team that also included BKLW attorneys James D. Riddet, Sandra C. Lechman, and Anne A. Uyeda and paralegal Garrison Giali. Defending the case required review of millions of pages of documents and assessment of many unusual issues due to the government’s prosecution of defendants under a relatively new federal law, the CAN SPAM Act. BKLW engaged in significant motion practice attacking the government’s broad charges, as well as its investigative practices, including a successful motion to suppress the client’s statements, a motion to dismiss the charges as constitutionally void for vagueness, and motions challenging the novel treatment of IP netblocks as property under the wire fraud statute. BKLW also successfully fought to exclude improper evidence and preclude expert testimony and prejudicial terms in the government’s case.

“Whitney adeptly led and coordinated a large BKLW team for years to successfully navigate and defend against complex, technical charges that threatened to destroy our client’s life,” said senior partner Thomas Bienert. “I’m so proud of Whitney and the entire team, whose professional and tenacious advocacy secured this incredible result and garnered the respect of the federal prosecutors and District Court. The case demonstrates the depth of our firm, where older, senior attorneys with decades of trial experience like Jim Riddet and me work with a combination of exceptional trial attorneys hitting their prime and talented up-and-coming more junior attorneys and paralegals in a coordinated effort that increases the likelihood of success for our client.”

BKLW specializes in white-collar criminal defense and investigations, complex civil ligation, and bankruptcy and insolvency matters. The firm’s trial results include both complete defense verdicts and multi-million dollar plaintiff victories. In cases resolved short of trial, the firm has secured numerous dismissals in defense cases and settlements in plaintiff cases totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars.