United States v. Litvak, No. 14-2902 (2d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed his convictions stemming from his conduct as a securities broker and trader at a global securities broker-dealer and investment banking firm. The court concluded that there was an insufficient basis for a rational jury to conclude that defendant's misstatements were material to the Department of Treasury and reversed the fraud against the United States and making false statement counts; because a rational jury could conclude that defendant’s misstatements were material, the materiality inquiry - a mixed question of fact and law - was properly reserved for the jury’s determination; defendant is incorrect that “contemplated harm” is a requisite component of the scienter element of securities fraud and the court rejected this challenge; and, in regards to defendant's claims of evidentiary errors, the court agreed that the exclusion of certain proffered expert testimony exceeded the district court’s allowable discretion, and that such error was not harmless. The court vacated the district court's judgment of conviction as to the securities fraud charges and remanded for a new trial. The court also addressed other evidentiary rulings that are likely to be at issue on remand.