The Bear Stearns hedge funders Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, found not guilty last month of fraud in the only major criminal prosecution even indirectly related to Wall Street’s meltdown, will be dragged back into court by the SEC in a civil case. No settlement, the word is.
No one really expected the SEC to drop its case, especially when the duo were stunningly acquitted on criminal charges. That would be way too embarrassing for the government.
Last month’s verdict meant that other Wall Street goniffs could breathe easier. And it also cast doubt on prosecutors’ continued use of e-mails to try to prove guilt.
In the upcoming civil trial, though, prosecutors don’t have prove anything “beyond a reasonable doubt” — the standard is a “preponderance” of evidence. And they still do have that ton of allegedly incriminating e-mail.
Remember O.J.? Remember white-collar schemer Richard Scrushy? Both won their criminal cases but then lost their civil cases. For details, see Tony Ortega’s “Go To Prison, Get A Nightline Puff Piece? Does Ted Koppel Know About This?”