Is this theory so radical? Little else explains why federal government lawyers are making certain arguments to defend the fraud convictions of two Wall Street financiers – Ross Mandell and Adam Harrington of Sky Capital — against their appeal. Our government now argues that “criminal statutes have extraterritorial reach so long as the nature of the crime does not turn on where the defendant acts and where restricting the statute to domestic acts would undermine the statute’s purpose.” Appellate Brief For The United States of America, Mandell v. U.S., Docket Nos. 12-1967 and 12-2090, at 34 (emphasis added). You read that right; where the crime occurs is irrelevant, because if our federal government declares the “purpose” of an American law reaches beyond our borders, you can be prosecuted for something you are accused of doing abroad, even if that act is not a crime offshore! Unless American courts reaffirm a recent Supreme Court decision, our Justice Department can stretch the reach of America’s metastasizing criminal law and equally byzantine civil law anywhere on the planet. Extraterrestrials, beware.
Our federal government’s attempt to expand its jurisdictional reach, its control, is now being tested before the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City considering Messrs. Mandell and Harrington’s appeals of their criminal convictions. The reach of our criminal law is a cause for concern, given the myriad of often-contradictory, expansive and vague laws already on the books and the increasingly broad concept of illegality. The dangerous implications stretch beyond the world of finance. Among those with an interest in the outcome may be longtime United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who has recently been accused of not adequately reporting the value of private plane trips ostensibly taken in part to procure the company of an allegedly underage woman while in the Dominican Republic. (2)(3) However, caution is urged with all investigations, particularly those involving prominent individuals. (4) Investigations are often commenced on the basis of information or claims made by individuals whose credibility is, at best, suspect. The investigation into Sky Capital, the brokerage firm which employed Messrs. Mandell and Harrington, is one example….Read More