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ATTORNEY GENERAL VAN HOLLEN CRACKS DOWN ON WHITE COLLAR CRIME; PRAISES RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

 

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen praised today's Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision upholding defendant Louis H. LaCount's multiple Brown County convictions for theft by a bailee of property valued at more than $2,500 and securities fraud in the sale of a security.

 

"White collar crimes involve complex financial and legal issues on appeal," said Van Hollen. "My office will aggressively prosecute these cases at all levels, and we will protect Wisconsin's citizens and businesses from the crippling economic loss that accompanies white collar crime."

 

LaCount was convicted in Brown County Circuit Court of multiple white collar theft-type felonies stemming from his employment as a debt negotiator and office manager at Gates, Paul & Lear, L.L.C., a Green Bay area company. He received a 15-year prison term, enhanced for habitual criminality, and additional sentences to be served concurrently. He appealed his convictions to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. That court rejected his arguments, concluding in pertinent part:

 

  • That law enforcement officers did not violate LaCount's right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures when it executed a search warrant and seized financial records from LaCount's office.
  • That the circuit court properly allowed the prosecution to present expert testimony from David Cohen, supervisory counsel for the Division of Securities at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, regarding the application of state securities law to the charged offenses.
  • That the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to convict LaCount of securities fraud.
  • That the circuit court did not violate LaCount's right to a jury trial when it determined that LaCount was a habitual offender under Wisconsin law.

 

A link to the decision and opinion can be found at:

 

http://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=28507

 

The State of Wisconsin was represented in the circuit court by the Brown County District Attorney's Office. The State was represented on appeal by Assistant Attorney General James M. Freimuth of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Criminal Appeals Unit.