Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Whistleblowers and ‘Ride-Sharing’ Gray Area

Crespo, Yanelys, Uber V. Regulation: ‘Ride-Sharing’ Creates a Legal Gray Area (December 1, 2016). 25 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 79 (2016). Available for download at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2887791

THAT’S ONE UBER VAT PROBLEM. Waitingfortax.com And the tax nitty gritty

Apple is losing its focus again — and this taatime, there’s no Steve Jobs coming to the rescue Business Insider

Are Tax Settlements a Scam ...

Odebrecht and Braskem Plead Guilty and Agree to Pay at Least $3.5 Billion in Global Penalties to Resolve Largest Foreign Bribery Case in History 

How Google Saved $3.6 Billion Taxes From Paper 'Dutch Sandwich

£4m food crime unit set up over horse meat scandal has still not resulted in any prosecutions The Telegraph

Public companies appear to have a better handle on their books after a whistleblower investigation, according to a new study reported by The New York Times: Whistleblowing Linked to Decrease in Financial Misconduct. Jaron H. Wilde from the University of Iowa attempted to clarify the impact on corporate practices of employees blowing the whistle. He concluded that whistleblowing can lead to lasting changes within a company and a sharp decrease in financial misconduct. The study used Department of Labor data from 2003 to 2010 to identify 317 public companies where employees filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for facing whistleblower retaliation. Those companies were tracked against “control firms” for changes in financial reporting…”

It’s the gangs who are doing the killing, and Chicago politicians are in bed with the gangs

Police memoirs: how officers are making crime pay The Guardian

Tax Crimes how many IRS special agents Carpenter v. Commissioner, IRS, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172675 (D CN 2016) here), is an interesting case involving a Bivens action, Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S. Ct. 1999, 29 L. Ed. 2d 619 (1971).  Bivens authorizes an implied federal cause of action based on constitutional violations where there is no statute authorizing the action.  The action is against the individuals causing the violation rather than against the Government.  Bivens actions are not available where, for the alleged violation, Congress has provided a remedy by statute.
The Carpenter decision relates to a motion to dismiss based on inadequacies in the complaint.  Motions to dismiss test the adequacy of the complaint.  Basically, the Court declined to dismiss the main thrust of the claim in order to permit discovery to proceed, with the recognition that, after discovery, some or all of the issues could be resolved by summary judgment.  There will be further trial level proceedings in the matter.  But, some aspects of the decision caught my attention.

The factual background is interesting because, according to the allegations in the complaint not yet tested in discovery, the IRS agents executing the search warrant at Carpenter's place of business were way over the top in the manner in which they executed the search warrant.

The affidavit in support of the search warrant alleged that the agents would search for "for evidence that Carpenter was engaging in criminal tax offenses, including conspiracy to impede the lawful function of the IRS, 18 U.S.C. § 371, and aiding and assisting the preparation of false income tax returns, 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2)."  The affidavit did not mention "any specific dangers anticipated in executing the proposed search nor any exigent circumstances justifying a highly armed raid on the property."

The Facts (Principally as Alleged by Carpenter)

Here is a description from the case of how the IRS agents executed the search warrant:
On April 20, 2010, Schrader and 72 unknown IRS agents (the "John Doe" defendants) executed the search warrant at 100 Grist Mill Road in order to obtain evidence against Daniel Carpenter and GMC. Carpenter alleges that the IRS agents wore "black Kevlar bullet-proof vests and were brandishing automatic weapons" during the execution of the search, which was conducted in the same manner as a SWAT operation. Id. at ¶¶ 8. During the search, Carpenter and the other GMC employees were not informed of which crime they were suspected of committing, nor were they provided with the search warrant affidavit or any other document indicating which crimes were at issue. Id. 
During the search, the government seized 322 banker boxes of documents over the course of eighteen hours, a period in excess of what was authorized by the warrant. Id. at ¶ 9. During the search, the agents held numerous employees against their will for long periods of time and interrogated them. Id. Carpenter was "placed in custody, threatened with handcuffs, and questioned, despite his invocation of his right to have counsel present." Id. at ¶ 10. He was also "threatened with arrest" when he attempted to speak to counsel or leave the room to make a call. Id. Carpenter also alleges that the government "ransacked" his office during the search. Id. at ¶ 28. 

AND SO THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE DRAWS TO A CLOSE: Percentage of Young Americans Living With Parents Rises to 75-Year High.

Despite a rebounding economy and recent job growth, the share of those between the ages of 18 and 34 doubling up with parents or other family members has been rising since 2005. Back then, before the start of the last recession, roughly one out of three were living with family.
The trend runs counter to that of previous economic cycles, when after a recession-related spike, the number of younger Americans living with relatives declined as the economy improved.
The result is that there is far less demand for housing than would be expected for the millennial generation, now the largest in U.S. history. The number of adults under age 30 has increased by 5 million over the last decade, but the number of households for that age group grew by just 200,000 over the same period, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Washington priced young people out of the housing market with the first bubble, and then priced them out again by re-inflating prices after the first bubble popped. If Millennials ever wake up to how badly Washington has screwed them, the political effects could be huge.