Craig Carpenito was quoted in a March 17th article in the Corporate Crime Reporter titled, “Alston & Bird’s Carpenito on Prosecuting Walter Forbes – Three Times.” The article discussed Carpenito’s role in the prosecution of Walter Forbes, the CEO and Chairman of Cendant Corporation. Forbes was prosecuted three times. The first two trials ended with a hung jury, but Carpenito succeeded in the third trial and Forbes was convicted of a massive fraud, sentenced to more than twelve years in prison and ordered to repay $3.2 billion – the largest restitution order in a white-collar case.
Carpenito commented on the conviction, “It was an issue of emphasis…That case was a little broader and bigger than I thought it should have been. We narrowed the case. We kept the focus on Walter Forbes and what he knew. We simplified it.” He said, “Trials are like icebergs…What you see at trial is only a small percentage of the trial prep that is under water. It is an immense amount of preparation for a short amount of time in front of the jury. You lose the jury the further you go down. As a defense lawyer, it’s beneficial to complicate the case, to make it a complex technical kind of a crime, an issue of accounting. This number was here when it should have been there. It is more likely that a jury will look at that and say – well, he’s not an accountant. Well, there really is a gray area, when it could be x or w.” Carpenito added, “As a prosecutor, if you focus on the misstatements – the things that a person did know of and how they reacted, and whether or not they disclosed – you will be better off in a fraud case.”