In January 2000, Jeffrey Tognetti received a verdict on a securities fraud charge following a jury trial in New York. At that time, it was ruled by a judge that the majority of additional charges against Tognetti – a total of 79 felony counts – had to be dropped immediately.
The judge overseeing Tognetti’s trial ruled that the government failed to meet necessary standards and burdens at trial and at sentencing, resulting in a void between the charges and the evidence that the prosecution could not fill despite multiple chances to do so as offered by the court. Though the government wanted the jury to believe that Tognetti used investor money for purposes other than what they believed that money would be used for, no evidence was provided by the government that proved this charge to be true; in reality, the investors involved all knew that part of Tognetti’s practice at the time involved the trade of certain amounts of money. Ultimately, records show that the amount of money entering investor’s accounts exceeded the amount of money that was supposedly used for questionable purposes.
The judge went on to state that she agreed with Tognetti, the defendant, that there was never a sign of intentional loss among his business practices, meaning that the multiple charges of fraud brought against Tognetti could not be validated. None of Tognetti’s actions and business practices were ever anything other than transparent. Additionally, the judge ruled that the government prosecution failed to take multiple factors into account when filing their charges, such as allowing for the outlay of setting up a functioning office with computers, competent staff and so forth – things that all of the investors involved knew about, given that this was part of a start-up business.
The charges, in short, were unsubstantiated.
Read the full summary of the trial and ruling as made by United States District Judge Deborah A. Batts here: Court Decision.