Justia Securities Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Tax Law
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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a securities fraud action because it was barred by the act of state doctrine. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants knowingly failed to disclose legal deficiencies under Mexican tax law in the 2012 APA Ruling and sold shares knowing these legal deficiencies existed.The panel held that plaintiffs' claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 would require a United States court to pass judgment on the validity of a 2012 ruling by Mexico's tax authority. In this case, the mandatory elements of applying the act of state doctrine were satisfied and the policies underlying the doctrine weighed in favor of applying it to bar plaintiffs' claims. Agreeing with its sister circuits, the panel held that the district court was not required to consider the Sabbatino factors. The panel declined to reconsider whether a tax ruling by the Mexican government, that remains valid in Mexico, complied with Mexico's tax laws. View "Royal Wulff Ventures LLC v. Primero Mining Corp." on Justia Law

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Wilson was the Director, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Imperial, which acquired e-Bio, which ran a fraud scheme, "Alchemy." It involved purchasing biodiesel from a third party and reselling it as though it had been produced by e-Bio, to take advantage of government incentives for renewable-energy production without expending production costs. Wilson was convicted of 21 counts: fraud in connection with the purchase or sale of securities, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b) and 78ff; fraud in the offer or sale of securities, 15 U.S.C. 77q(a) and 77x, and 18 U.S.C. 2; material false statements in required SEC filings, 15 U.S.C. 78ff and 18 U.S.C. 2; wrongful certification of annual and quarterly reports by a corporate officer, 18 U.S.C. 1350(c)(1); material false statements by a corporate officer to an accountant, 15 U.S.C. 78m(b)(5) and 78ff, and 18 U.S.C. 2; and false statements to government investigators, of 18 U.S.C. 1001. The dcourt sentenced Wilson to 120 months’ imprisonment and to pay $16,468,769.73 in restitution. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. None of Wilson’s contentions reach the high threshold of showing that a reasonable jury could not have found him guilty. Viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the evidence adequately supports the jury’s finding that Wilson knowingly and willfully made false statements to investors, regulators, an outside accountant, and government agents, and the reasonable inference that Wilson participated in “Alchemy.” View "United States v. Wilson" on Justia Law

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From 1997-2001, Nacchio served as Qwest's CEO. Based on 2001 stock trades, Nacchio reported a net gain of $44,632,464.38 on his return and paid $17,974,832 in taxes. In 2007, Nacchio was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading, 15 U.S.C. 78j, 78ff. Following a remand, the court resentenced Nacchio to serve 70 months in prison, pay a 19 million dollar fine, and forfeit the net proceeds, $44,632,464.38. Nacchio settled a concurrent SEC action, agreeing to disgorge $44,632,464. Nacchio’s criminal forfeiture satisfied his disgorgement obligation. The Justice Department notified participants in private securities class action litigation or SEC civil litigation concerning Qwest stock that they were eligible to receive a remission from Nacchio’s forfeiture. Nacchio sought an income tax credit of $17,974,832 for taxes paid on his trading profits. The IRS argued that his forfeiture was a nondeductible penalty or fine and that he was estopped from seeking tax relief because of his conviction. The Claims Court held that Nacchio could deduct his forfeiture payment under Internal Revenue Code 165, but not under I.R.C. 162 and was not collaterally estopped from pursuing special relief under I.R.C. 1341. The Federal Circuit reversed as to section 165;Nacchio failed to establish that his forfeiture was not a “fine or similar penalty.” Because establishing deductibility under another section of the code is a prerequisite to pursuing relief under section 1341, Nacchio cannot pursue a deduction under that section. View "Nacchio v. United States" on Justia Law

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Internal Revenue Code section 1256 provides that an investor who holds certain derivatives at the close of the taxable year must “mark to market” by treating those derivatives as having been sold for fair market value on the last business day of the taxable year. A “foreign currency contract” is a “section 1256 contract” that an investor must mark to market. Contending that a foreign currency option is within the definition of “foreign currency contract," the Wrights claimed a large tax loss by marking to market a euro put option upon their assignment of the option to a charity. The Wrights’ assignment of the option was part of a series of transfers of mutually offsetting foreign currency options that they executed over three days. These transactions apparently allowed the Wrights to generate a large tax loss at minimal economic risk or out-of-pocket expense. The Tax Court held that the Wrights could not recognize a loss upon assignment of the euro put option because the option was not a “foreign currency contract” under section 1256. The Sixth Circuit reversed. While disallowance of the claimed tax loss makes sense as tax policy, the statute's plain language clearly provides that a foreign currency option can be a “foreign currency contract.” View "Wright v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a mutual fund, challenged the Commission's denial of an exemption from rules governing the calculation and reporting of petitioner's deferred tax liability. The court concluded that petitioner’s attacks on the Commission’s “hypothetical speculation” affords no basis for setting aside the Commission’s reasonable conclusion that petitioner’s proposal to provide for only a small fraction of its full potential tax liability may result in inequitable treatment of redeeming and non-redeeming shareholders, contradicting a primary purpose of the Investment Company Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. 80a-22(a). The court rejected petitioner's remaining claims. Accordingly, petitioner's arguments fail to carry the high burden required to overturn the Commission’s denial of an exemption and, therefore, the court denied the petition for review. View "Copley Fund, Inc. v. SEC" on Justia Law

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Pilgrim's Pride was the successor-in-interest to Pilgrim's Pride Corporation of Georgia f/k/a Gold Kist, Inc., which was the successor-in-interest to Gold Kist, Inc. In 1998, Gold Kist sold its agriservices business to Southern States Cooperative, Inc. To facilitate the purchase, Southern States obtained a bridge loan that was secured by a commitment letter between Southern States and Gold Kist. The letter permitted Southern States to require Gold Kist to purchase certain securities from Southern States. In early 2004, Gold Kist and Southern States negotiated a price at which Southern States would redeem the securities. Gold Kist’s Board of Directors, instead of accepting the offer, decided to abandon the securities for no consideration. The issue this case presented for the Fifth Circuit's review centered on whether whether Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation's loss from its abandonment of securities was an ordinary loss or a capital loss. The Tax Court (in what appeared to be the first ruling of its kind by any court) ruled that 26 U.S.C. 1234A(1) applied to the abandonment loss and required that it be classified as capital. However, the Fifth Circuit disagreed. Because section 1234A(1) only applied to the termination of contractual or derivative rights, and not to the abandonment of capital assets, the Court reversed the Tax Court and rendered judgment in favor of Pilgrim's Pride. View "Pilgrim's Pride Corporation v. CIR" on Justia Law

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In 2009, plaintiffs alleged that the defendants, in 1999 and 2000, marketed and sold to them investments, known as the 1999 Digital Options Strategy and the 2000 COINS Strategy, which were promoted as producing profits and reducing tax liabilities. Plaintiffs were charged substantial fees, but the promised benefits did not occur. The parties agree that the five-year statute of limitations for actions not otherwise provided for is applicable. The circuit court dismissed; the appellate court reversed and remanded. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, applying the “discovery rule” that a limitation period begins to run when the plaintiff knows or reasonably should know of the injury and its wrongful cause. The limitation period began to run when the IRS issued deficiency notices to plaintiffs in 2008. The complaint adequately alleged breach of fiduciary duty; that there was no basis for dismissing the claim as legally insufficient.View "Khan v. Deutsche Bank AG" on Justia Law

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Petitioners, husband and wife, sought review of a judgment of the Tax Court sustaining the Commissioner's determination of a deficiency, an accuracy-related penalty, and a penalty for filing a delinquent tax return. Husband worked for IBM and acquired IBM stock by exercising his employee stock options. Husband subsequently participated in a program operated by Derivium, whereby it would "lend" a client ninety percent of the value of securities that the client pledged to it as collateral. The court concluded that a combination of factors pointed decidedly to the conclusion that husband disposed of his stock by signing a Master Agreement and addenda and retained no real interest in his collateral or the "loan" after Derivium had transferred the proceeds to him. The court also concluded that plaintiffs have not shown that they acted with reasonable cause and in good faith when they declared their income from the sale of IBM shares to Derivium. Consequently, the court affirmed the Tax Court's imposition of an accuracy-related penalty. Further, plaintiffs have not carried their burden of establishing reasonable cause for failing to timely file their return and therefore, the Commissioner's assessment of a late-filing penalty was appropriate. View "Calloway v. Commissioner of IRS" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a registered representative and principal with various brokerage firms over the years, sought review of a final order of the Commission, which concluded that he willfully failed to disclose the existence of certain tax liens filed against him. The Commission's conclusion that petitioner acted willfully, which followed his appeal of various determinations of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and its predecessor, the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), subjected him to statutory disqualification from the securities industry. The court concluded that there was substantial evidence supporting the SEC's factual finding that petitioner failed to disclose the liens on his Forms U-4 and that the liens were material. Moreover, the SEC did not abuse its discretion when it determined that petitioner's conduct constituted a willful violation of the securities provisions relating to applications and registration. Therefore, the court denied the petition and affirmed the Commission's order. View "Mathis v. U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission" on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from a tax transaction involving Henry Samueli, the co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, and his investment advisor. At issue was whether a purported securities loan with a fixed term of at least 250 days and possibly as long as 450 days, entered into not for the purpose of providing the borrower with access to the lent securities, but instead for the purpose of avoiding taxable income for the lender, qualified for nonrecognition treatment as a securities loan pursuant to section 1058 of the Internal Revenue Code. The court agreed with the Tax Court's conclusion that the transaction did not meet the requirements of section 1058 and therefore affirmed the judgment of the Tax Court. View "Samueli, et al. v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue; Ricks, et al. v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law