Tonkon Torp Celebrates Final Victory for Former Bank of Oswego CEO

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon recently dismissed the last criminal charges lingering against Dan Heine, former Bank of Oswego CEO. In 2015, Mr. Heine and Diana Yates, the Bank’s former CFO, were indicted for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and making false bank entries during the time they served as officers for the Bank. They both denied any wrongdoing.

Tonkon Torp partner Caroline Harris Crowne served as co-counsel for Mr. Heine, along with attorneys from New York-based Pryor Cashman, in the widely publicized case. In 2017, she played a prominent defense role in Mr. Heine’s seven-week joint trial with Ms. Yates. In her role, she argued key legal issues and handled the direct or cross examination of a dozen witnesses. Partner Michael Willes, at the time an associate, also played a major role in the defense of the case, focusing on analysis of the complex financial transactions involved in the case and developing strategies for witness examinations. The jury trial ended in a mixed verdict, and Mr. Heine continued on appeal with the Federal Public Defender.

In October 2021, the Ninth Circuit announced its decision to reverse the convictions. In its majority opinion, the court agreed with what trial counsel had argued from the very start:  that the government’s theory of “bank fraud” was legally unsound and that the government’s charges of false entries in the Bank’s call reports were improper because the financial data in call reports was accurate. The potential for further proceedings remained. However, in January 2022, the government announced it would request dismissal of all remaining charges against Mr. Heine, then formally dropped the charges in March 2022.

“This marks the conclusion of a long journey for Mr. Heine,” shared Caroline. “We are very proud of our defense during a marathon trial and the work we did to lay the foundation for a successful and decisive conclusion of the case.”

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