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Case Studies

Michael E. Clark Helped Energy Client Avoid Criminal Charges

Fraud prosecution under the Commodities Exchange Act

Client industry: Energy
Type of case: Fraud prosecution under the Commodities Exchange Act
Court: U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Amount in dispute $20 million+
Result: The government offered a deferred prosecution agreement on eve of the six-month trial

Baker Donelson represented the client, the former head of energy trading for a major energy company, over several years in investigations by multiple agencies and jurisdictions. The client, some subordinates, and the company were ultimately charged in the Northern District of California with violating the Commodities Exchange Act based on novel theories of fraud related to the company's actions during the energy market crisis in the early 2000s. After Baker Donelson attorneys prevailed on pretrial motions that were affirmed by the Ninth Circuit over the government’s appeal, criminal charges were avoided on the eve of a six-month jury trial, when the prosecutors offered a short deferred prosecution agreement to resolve the multicount indictment, resulting in no conviction for the client.

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