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An appeals panel has reversed the convictions of two prominent foreign attorneys who had been found guilty of conspiracy and 16 counts of falsifying business records. In February 2003, Harry Bloomfield, an ex-member of the Quebec Securities Commission, and Stuart Creggy, a former senior partner at London’s Talbot Creggy, were each sentenced to a $6,000 fine, five years of probation and 500 hours of community service by Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Bernard J. Fried. The convictions were the centerpiece of an investigation into a “pump and dump” scheme in which traders ran up the price of offshore shell companies before selling them. The scheme reportedly cost investors $17 million. In an unsigned opinion Thursday, the Appellate Division, 1st Department, unanimously reversed the convictions and dismissed the underlying indictment. That indictment had alleged that Bloomfield and Creggy had arranged for a third party, Liberian diplomat Charles Wilson, to sign letters identifying himself as the beneficial owner of 16 off-shore companies, thereby preventing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from discovering the true owners. The defendants were charged with falsifying business records. The state’s Penal Law �175.00(2) defines “business records” as records that are “kept or maintained by an enterprise” as evidence of its condition. The acquittals of Bloomfield and Creggy turned on the fact that they did not “keep” or “maintain” the fraudulent records. “Each of the 16 letters forming the basis of the charges … were held by Andrew Warren, a partner at the London law firm Talbot Creggy,” the panel wrote in People v. Bloomfield, 1942/01. “As the letters were not held by the Management Company or in the records of the 16 individual companies, they were not ‘kept or maintained’ by these offshore corporations.” Therefore, the panel ruled, the records “do not fit within the legal definition of ‘business records.’” The panel also dismissed the possibility that a letter signed by Warren and sent to the management company of the 16 corporations, which reiterates the falsehood that Wilson owned the companies, could support the convictions. The letter “does not suffice as proof that either defendant supplied the false information,” the panel said. “Furthermore, this letter did not form the basis of the indictments.” A spokeswoman from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said the office intends to appeal. Nathaniel Z. Marmur of Stillman & Friedman represented Bloomfield. Joseph J. Aronica of the Washington, D.C., office of Duane Morris represented Creggy.

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