WSGR Wins Complete Acquittal for Former Hedge Fund Executive

On September 27, 2019, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted WSGR’s motion for a judgment of acquittal on the remaining counts against WSGR's client, David Levy, who was formerly the chief investment officer of hedge fund Platinum Partners. The latest decision by the court represents a complete victory for Mr. Levy.

On July 9, 2019, after a 12-week trial, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York found acquitted Levy of five of the most serious counts against him. The jury found Levy not guilty on all charges related to the government's allegations that Mr. Levy and others ran their hedge fund, Platinum Partners, as a massive, $1 billion Ponzi scheme. However, at that time, the jury also found Mr. Levy guilty of lesser charges relating to an amendment to a bond indenture of a Texas-based oil and gas company. After the verdict was reached, the trial judge immediately sought an expedited post-trial briefing and signaled those counts of conviction may also be in jeopardy.

On Friday, September 27, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan granted WSGR’s Rule 29 motion for acquittal, which is believed be the first such motion ever granted by Judge Cogan in his 13 years on the federal bench. In his written decision, Judge Cogan said that even making reasonable inferences in favor of the government and deferring to the role of the jury, prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Levy had criminal intent. The court also conditionally granted Levy’s motion for a new trial in the event that the judgment of acquittal is later reversed or vacated.

Mr. Levy was represented by Michael Sommer, Moe Fodeman, Kate McCarthy, Ariel Jeong, and Zak Kravat, as well as senior paralegal Lee Ann Almeida, all of the firm's New York office.

See Law360's September 27, 2019 article for more information about the decision.