White Collar Team Prevails in Insider Trading Case


A team of white collar defense attorneys achieved a dismissal of a five year old criminal case for Richard Lee, a former portfolio manager for SAC Capital, who was charged by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York with insider trading.  

In the wake of US v. Newman, a case Greg Morvillo, Savannah Stevenson and others litigated and won on appeal, and after another firm had secured a guilty plea and cooperation agreement for Lee, he retained the team to represent him.  Although Lee could simply have gone to sentencing and likely received a probationary sentence, the team discovered previously unknown evidence that suggested Lee was factually innocent of insider trading.  Soon after learning the new information, the team filed a motion to withdraw Lee’s Guilty Plea based on two issues.  The first, newly discovered evidence that called into question when and how Lee received the supposedly improper information, leading to his teams’ conclusion that he had not in fact committed insider trading.  The second, that his guilty plea was legally and factually insufficient because it failed to take into consideration one of the elements of insider trading, Lee’s knowledge of any personal benefit provided to the alleged tipper of the material nonpublic information.  

Eighteen months after filing the motion, District Court Judge Paul Gardephe granted Lee’s motion based on the second point, the factual inadequacy of the plea.  Because the case was five years old and the conduct had occurred 10 years ago, Judge Gardephe set a December 9, 2019 trial date.  On Thursday, November 7, however, the SDNY filed and Judge Gardephe so ordered a Nolle Prosequi which resulted in a dismissal of all of the criminal charges against Richard Lee. 

The team was led by Gregory Morvillo and included Ellen Murphy, Amy Walsh, E. Scott Morvillo, Henry Putzel, Nicole Lloret, Caitlin Sikes, and former Orrick lawyer Savannah Stevenson.