• Supreme Court Rejects the Government’s “Fishy” Interpretation of Sarbanes-Oxley Obstruction Statute
  • March 23, 2015 | Authors: Sophie B. Kaiser; Harry Sandick
  • Law Firm: Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP - New York Office
  • On February 25, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Yates v. United States. This case involved the interpretation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1519, a statute that was added as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and which provides that a person is guilty of a crime if he or she “knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence” a federal investigation. The particular allegedly obstructive act at issue in Yates involved a fisherman who discarded undersized red grouper which previously had been caught in violation of federal conservation regulations. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed a conviction and the Supreme Court, in a split decision, reversed.