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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WILSON PARTICIPATES IN SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF FEDERAL SECURITIES FRAUD PROSECUTION


Roger C. Wilson recently participated with lead counsel from the Federal Defender Program, Inc. in the defense of a former Chief Financial Officer in a multi-defendant criminal securities fraud prosecution in federal district court in Atlanta. United States v. Darryl Horton, et al., No. 1:11-cr-00268-TCB-1.  The client, Darryl Horton, of Michigan, former CFO of Conversion Solutions Holdings Corp., a Georgia company, was charged along with the former CEO and the former Chief Operations Officer in a seven-plus-count federal indictment involving alleged securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy.  In addition to those counts against all three defendants, the CEO was charged under the federal Sarbanes-Oxley law with falsely certifying corporate financial statements.  The indictment involved alleged misstatements in corporate financial filings and in corporate press releases regarding the nature and valuation of various firm assets.  The trial lasted two full weeks. Near the end of the trial, the former CEO, Rufus Harris, fled the jurisdiction, leading to a national manhunt for him by federal law enforcement agencies.  At the start of the trial, Harris had chosen to waive his right to counsel, then representing him, and to represent himself in the trial.  After Harris's flight the trial continued to completion in his absence. The federal jury convicted Harris (captured a week later in Utah) of all eight counts charged, and it convicted the former COO on most counts, each of those counts involving possible sentences of 20-years or more imprisonment and very large fines.


However, the former CFO, Mr. Horton, was acquitted on three counts and the jury was hung on the remaining four counts against him, when defense counsel and federal prosecutors resolved the remainder of the case against him.   Substantial testimony and other evidence was presented to the jury that Mr. Horton was at most peripherally and unknowingly involved in the particular events underlying the indictment, in contrast with the other two defendants.  Roger Wilson participated in the defense of Mr. Horton with Jake Waldrop and Thomas Hawker, both attorneys with the Federal Defender Program in Atlanta.


Roger C. Wilson has represented and advised many individuals and companies in connection with governmental investigations and enforcement activity involving alleged or possible violations of federal laws and regulations in the areas of export controls, foreign assets controls, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, import regulation and customs laws, and federal banking and mortgage fraud statutes.  In addition to representation of clients in federal and state trials, he has represented such clients before federal agencies, including in resolving possible violations prior to the initiation of government enforcement activity, by voluntary disclosures and similar methods.  He also has advised and assisted companies in designing and implementing corporate compliance programs designed to assist the corporations and their personnel in avoiding possible violations of federal laws in many of these areas.

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