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Denver Complex Litigation Blog

White collar crime: Accused of money laundering?

Money laundering, which is the process of making money earned from criminal activity appear clean, is a serious crime in Colorado and the United States as a whole. Those facing charges of money laundering may find themselves facing severe consequences if they are ultimately convicted. A white collar criminal defense attorney may be able to help one fight the charges or at least find ways to minimize the penalties if convicted.

There are three steps to a money-laundering scheme. Those steps are placement, layering and integration. These steps involve putting dirty money in a clean financial system, concealing the source of the funds and then withdrawing the funds, which are now in a legitimate account.

A breach of fiduciary duty can lead to securities litigation

Business owners in Colorado who want to see their companies flourish often deal in securities. Having to report to and keep shareholders happy is not always an easy thing to do. If one is not careful, claims of breach of fiduciary duty may come one's way. When this happens, securities litigation may be unavoidable.

Fiduciary duty means that one must act in another party's best interests. Failing to do so is called a breach of fiduciary duty. As far as securities go, if business owners or corporate boards make decisions that end up hurting their shareholders, their shareholders may take legal action to recoup their losses. In order to do this, however, the following elements must exist in the case:

  • Element number one: Duty exists
  • Element number two: That duty was breached in some way
  • Element number three: Damages were incurred

Colorado real estate litigation: Dealing with encumbrances

What is an encumbrance? Why could having one on a property lead to real estate litigation in Colorado? What can one do about it?

An encumbrance, in real estate terms, simply means that there is a claim or some sort of imitation placed on a property. This means the property owner will only be allowed to do so much with the property. For example, it may limit one's ability to construct anything on a piece of land, or it may restrict what kinds of items may be used on the property, or it could limit the owner's access to his or her property.

How could antitrust laws affect your business?

When you hear the words “antitrust law,” what comes to mind? Do the words conjure images of Mark Zuckerberg sitting before congress, forced to defend Facebook’s actions? Do they sound like hurdles to clear on the way to a successful merger or acquisition? Do they give you a warm feeling because they mean the law favors a free market? Or do they remind you that you really want to watch the Avalanche and Nuggets games?

If you’re in the last camp, you’re not alone. The nation’s antitrust laws recently got dragged front and center into the world of Colorado sports and business. And in a case that garnered national attention, Denver-based Altitude Sports and Entertainment sued Comcast for antitrust violations. In short, Altitude claims Comcast is using unfair practices to keep Altitude out of homes and off TVs. No Avalanche games. No Nuggets.

D.R. Horton ordered to pay millions in construction defects case

Residents of a condo community in another state have been fighting with their builder, D.R. Horton, for six years to get various things around their complex fixed. Thanks to a recent court ruling, they will be getting what they want. D.R. Horton, one of the largest homebuilders in the country, has been ordered to pay roughly $14 million to repair the various construction defects at this particular location. As this builder also has a presence in the state of Colorado, this ruling may give some hope to those locally who are dealing with similar concerns.

According to a recently published news article, the residents at the Beach Boulevard condo complex first filed legal claims against D.R. Horton in 2013 after cracked stucco caused water damage to a number of the buildings. There were also issues with windows, roof vents, insulation and balconies, among other things. The company claimed that nothing was wrong with the homes and that it had done quality work, while the residents claimed that the job done was cheap and of poor quality. After a trial in 2016, a jury sided with the homeowners and awarded them millions in damages. The builder, however, appealed, causing this mess to drag out for another three years.

How much should innovators worry about regulation?

Self-driving cars. Facial recognition software. Telemedicine. Delivery drones. Artificial intelligence. Ridesharing. Short-term room rentals. Everywhere you look, people are using new technologies to disrupt old markets. And the companies pushing these new models have often had a stormy relationship with the law.

There are plenty of household stories to this effect. We’ve heard of Uber’s struggles with employment law. Airbnb’s struggles with local taxes. Facebook’s policy changes in the wake of the 2016 election and its ongoing antitrust concerns. And while these are giant companies with millions or billions of dollars at stake in these legal challenges, the core questions are the same for smaller businesses, too. How much should innovators and entrepreneurs concern themselves with regulation?

When can one sue for fraudulent misrepresentation?

Business owners are always making deals and signing contracts. When they do, they want to believe that the individual or entity with which they are entering an agreement is being honest. Unfortunately, there are those in Colorado and elsewhere who may say or do whatever just to get contracts signed. This is called fraudulent misrepresentation, and one can sue for damages if one is a victim of it and it caused harm.

Legally, contracts are only considered valid if both parties agree to the terms. In cases where fraudulent misrepresentation is an issue, it is impossible for one party to fully agree to the contract terms because the agreement is essentially based on a lie. Making false statements -- written or verbal -- remaining silent or using various gestures, if done knowingly, constitutes fraudulent misrepresentation.

Facing criminal charges for embezzlement?

Many Colorado residents hold jobs where they are responsible for handling other people's money or property. If they keep that money or property for themselves rather than using it for its intended purpose, they may be charged with embezzlement. This is a serious charge that can have severe consequences if one is ultimately convicted.

In order for prosecuting attorneys to achieve a conviction, they have to prove that certain elements exist in an embezzlement case. The first element is that a fiduciary relationship existed between the accused and the alleged victim. If that exists, then the following common elements may also have to be present:

  • There must be evidence that the accused, through that relationship, took property.
  • There must be evidence that the accused took ownership of the property or gave it to someone else.
  • There must be proof that the defendant intended to take the property from the rightful owner.

Colorado securities litigation: Accused of or victim of churning?

Securities is a risky business for Colorado residents to be involved in -- regardless if one is a broker or portfolio manager in charge of trading or a client who is trying to meet certain investment goals. A number of things can go wrong; being accused of or being a victim of churning is just one of them. No matter what side of the fence one sits in a securities litigation case involving churning, legal counsel can help one achieve the best outcome possible.

Churning occurs when a broker or portfolio manager makes excessive trades to generate commissions. These trades are of no benefit to his or her client; in fact, it may cost a client a lot of money. It is just a way for a person in one of these positions to make more money for him or herself.

Breaking down intellectual property laws

Creativity is a commodity. Of all the things that you can do to build wealth and make a living for them, using your mind to develop novel solutions to problems is one of the most rewarding. And it requires stringent protections.

Whether you are a writer, designer, musician, inventor or a business owner with a trade secret, your creativity is what sets you apart. You have to do what it takes to protect your "creative capital," and there are many ways to do it.

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