McKesson wins $44 million in compensation from Iran
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Nov. 23 entered a $44 million judgment against Iran in litigation that McKesson Corp. brought over its financial interest in an Iranian dairy.
Following the Iranian revolution in 1979, McKesson sued Iran in Washington’s federal trial court over allegations that Iran illegally withheld dividends the dairy issued and expropriated the company’s 31% interest in the dairy. The suit has dragged on for 28 years.
Judge Richard Leon shot down what he called Iran’s attempt to “resuscitate” previously rejected arguments that lawyers for Iran have made over the years. Leon reinstated an earlier judgment for McKesson, including compound interest.
Comverse CEO settles with SEC for $53 million
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 23 settled a long-running stock-options backdating case against former Comverse Technology Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jacob “Kobi” Alexander for $53 million.
Alexander, who fled to Namibia and has been fighting extradition since 2007, will be permanently barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company. He still faces a 36-count criminal indictment on charges including conspiracy, securities fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.
The settlement, which is subject to approval by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, calls for Alexander to pay $26 million in disgorgement, $21 million in interest and a $6 million civil penalty.
Judge tosses bias claim against federal agency
WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed a complaint filed by a woman whose job was to take complaints from whistleblowers, but who claimed she herself was a victim of retaliation.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said the allegations by Natresha Dawson were “insufficient to raise an issue for trial.” He granted summary judgment in favor of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an agency with responsibilities that include protecting federal whistleblowers.
Dawson, who is black, filed her initial complaint in 2007, alleging discrimination based on race and sex and violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Guilty verdict in 2001 murder of Chandra Levy
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man imprisoned for attacking two female joggers was found guilty on Nov. 22 of murdering Washington intern Chandra Levy, wrapping up a murder mystery that took down a congressman and captured the nation’s attention a decade ago.
Ingmar Guandique was convicted of first-degree murder for attacking Levy while she exercised in Washington’s Rock Creek Park in May 2001.
Her disappearance made headlines when she was romantically linked to then-Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.). Condit was once a suspect, but police no longer believe he was involved in her disappearance.
New York consultant admits role in influence peddling
NEW YORK (AP) — A Democratic political consultant pleaded guilty on Nov. 22 to a felony securities-fraud charge and admitted that he played a central role in an influence-peddling scandal that shook the state’s pension fund.
“I intentionally engaged in fraud, deception…[and] corruption,” Henry Morris said before state Supreme Court Justice Lewis Bart Stone, admitting being at the fulcrum of the pay-to-play scheme at the $125 billion retirement pool.
Morris acknowledged using his ties to former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi to get millions of dollars in payouts for himself, to channel money to cronies and to solicit campaign contributions for Hevesi from firms seeking state business.
Prison term in scam that targeted N.Y. law firms
NEW YORK — A scam artist who conned lawyers by pretending to have found their packages and tricking them into covering his fake taxi fare to their New York City law firms is heading to prison.
James Hill, who pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, was sentenced to 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years in state prison on a felony charge of criminal possession of a forged instrument. He received a concurrent one- to three-year sentence on one count of first-degree scheming to defraud.
Hill was arrested in July after trying to rip off about 30 law firms from April to June, according to the complaint. He would call law firms claiming he found a package on a train addressed to a lawyer at the firm. He would then offer to bring it to their offices if the firm covered his $38.50 taxi fare. The fake packages contained copies of documents from the New York State Insurance Fund.
Quirk in law lets rape suspects off the hook
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A state judge has dismissed rape charges against two Idaho men, citing a quirk in state law concerning an unmarried women being tricked into having sex with a stranger.
Police said that, in July, the intoxicated woman was tricked by her then boyfriend, Zachary McGraw, into having sex with a stranger, Cielo Sanchez. Idaho law specifies that rape can be charged if the victim is tricked into believing the person committing the act is her husband.
Ada County District Judge Cheri Copsey said that the key word is “husband”; because the woman thought she was having sex with her boyfriend, she’s not protected by the law.
Jury tells SAP to pay Oracle $1.3 billion for IP theft
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal jury on Nov. 23 ordered SAP A.G. to pay $1.3 billion to its archenemy, Oracle Corp., for stealing customer-support documents and software in a scheme to siphon off customers.
Oracle demanded billions of dollars from SAP for the theft. SAP admitted that a subsidiary stole the documents and argued it owed just $40 million.
The jury sided with Oracle’s argument that the value of the stolen intellectual property was vast, and that enforcing copyrights is vital to maintaining a healthy technology industry and funding innovation.
Family members share in royalties from gospel classic
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Family members in a bitter dispute over the rights to popular gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” all own a piece of the work, a federal jury has decided.
“I’ll Fly Away,” one of the most recorded gospel songs of all time, has been the subject of a nearly two-year court battle between the heirs of Albert Brumley Sr. Jurors had to decide whether the older Brumley composed the song on his own or if he did it while working as a staff writer by a company that has since been purchased by his son, Robert Brumley.
Jurors found that Albert Brumley wrote the song on his own. The finding means that other family members are entitled to inherit rights to the song.
Judge caught with stripper, guns, drugs pleads guilty
ATLANTA — U.S. District Senior Judge Jack Camp entered guilty pleas on Nov. 19 to a federal drug felony and two misdemeanors associated with his arrest after liaisons with a stripper and prostitute who also was a convicted drug felon and a confidential informant for the FBI.
Camp, who was arrested with two guns in his possession while abetting a drug purchase, was not charged with any gun-related offenses. He also has agreed to help the government defend any challenges to cases he presided over as a judge.
Under the plea agreement, Camp likely faces four to 10 months in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Embezzler attorney sentenced to federal prison
ATLANTA (AP) — An attorney was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges that he embezzled more than $340,000 from his law firm.
Steven Zagoria, 59, was also sentenced on Nov. 22 to five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $318,000 in restitution to the victims of his crimes.
Prosecutors said Zagoria forged the signature of one of his firm’s leaders on checks and then deposited them into his personal account. He used the money to pay his mortgage, credit card bills and even gave some of it to his wife.