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Inside the 1st Muni Bond Criminal Case

Publisher: Law360
June 7, 2017
Day Pitney Author(s) Daniel E. Wenner

Dan Wenner authored an article, "Inside the 1st Muni Bond Criminal Case," published by Law360. The article detailed the prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (USAO) of Christopher St. Lawrence, the town supervisor for the town of Ramapo, New York, and N. Aaron Troodler, the executive director of the Ramapo Local Development Corporation (RLDC). The government charged them with conspiring to commit securities fraud and wire fraud and with committing those offenses. The superseding information alleged they made false representations with respect to municipal bonds offered by the town and the RLDC. Troodler pleaded guilty to the charges, and St. Lawrence was convicted at trial. After cataloguing the alleged misconduct, which included lying about a property development that was scrapped to protect a rattlesnake habitat, Wenner noted "that the superseding information does not allege that either Troodler or St. Lawrence improperly benefited from the scheme to which Troodler pleaded guilty and for which St. Lawrence was convicted. It appears, then, that perhaps Troodler and St. Lawrence engaged in this conduct without ill intent, expecting (as is sometimes the case) that everything would work out in the end. Unfortunately, the laws criminalizing fraud are not forgiving of such optimism." Wenner relayed the USAO's warning that the municipal-bond industry was in the government's sights. And he concluded that "with a focus on municipalities, even folks looking to serve their communities will not be immune from prosecution should they get caught up in a scheme to hide the facts from investors."

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