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Steven is going to jail.


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This was already alluded to by Ookla the Infinite in this post, but Steven broke federal law in a very visible, and unsympathetic way.


Lets summarize the events of Skin Deep from the perspective of the Securities Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.


Steven Leeds (a professional odd-jobs man) is given a large share of I3 in exchange for a fairly small service.  (2-3 days of private detecting) Leeds then spreads rumors about one of the rivals of I3 through his own personal rumor mill. Leeds buys the rival at a steep discount as a result of the rumors that were spread.  After a few days the fears provoked by the rumors prove to be unjustified, and Leeds sells his stock to the primary holder of I3, making a huge profit along the way.


If I were a federal investigator with these facts I would immediately suspect that the detective work was a smoke screen.  I would suspect that Leeds was hired to acquire the rival company in a monopolizing move.  As I looked into the issue I would see that the "crime" Leeds was hired to investigate was perpetrated by someone with close ties to I3 (the mother of one of its employees) and was committed in such a way as to leave nobody indicted for theft.


I looked at the FTC webpage and found that

Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect "may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly."



The Federal Trade Commission Act bans "unfair methods of competition" and "unfair or deceptive acts or practices."


These crimes are punishable by

up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual, along with up to 10 years in prison. Under federal law, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts or twice the money lost by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is over $100 million.




I know that Leeds's life was on the line, and his actions were justified.  However, as a federal investigator I do not have access to that information.  I would be asking for a warrant within the hour.


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Lol, that's a good point! I have to point out one thing, though. Leeds could easily beet the charges with an insanity plea. He is easily smart enough to become an expert in law and come up with a better defense than insanity as well, but insanity is the easiest way to go. He would never go to jail for it in a million years.

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I am not a lawyer so everything I am going to say is based on hasty internet research.  If someone else can clarity my points I would welcome the correction.


I am not so sure about the insanity plea.  Steven Leeds has always maintained that he is sane in spite of his hallucinations.  Even if he could prove it in court I don't think he would want to because it would mean admitting that he was not in control.  Also the definition of legal insanity is given by the McNaughton rule:



At the time of committing the act, the accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or, if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

Steven knew exactly what he was doing as well as the consequences.  He knew that he was depriving several of the stockholders of the company of valuable funds.  He may hallucinate, but by the legal definition he was sane at the time.


Furthermore, pleading insanity is a very unattractive option.  It means instead of serving a fixed amount of time for your sentence you go to a mental health facility until the doctors there say you are no longer a danger to society.  In many cases this ends up being twice as long as the proscribed prison time for an offender.  In short, (if I may abuse the language for a moment) by taking an insanity defense he would go to not-jail for a million years.


I would also like to point out that Steven is not a very sympathetic defendant.  He is rich, and he does confidential "odd jobs".  A prosecutor can use that to imply that Steven's job is to fix problems when the law gets in the way, and she would not be too far off the mark.  That, combined with his recent press puts Steven in a very difficult situation.

Edited by MathEpic
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He could prove that he was insane to stay out of trouble. He could just have one of his hallucinations help him act the part. I could see him doing just that. As for the press, they would eat it up and help sway public opinion toward his insanity. They actually want him to be crazy.


The fact still stands that he could become a legal expert in a day if he had to. Just glance through a couple law books, reason out the rest of the laws as he goes. Easy. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

He's still incredibly rich and smart so I doubt he would go to jail. Money always wins.

That's a sweeping comment...  The smart part might help him get out of trouble, but the rich only means you might be able to hire a lawyer with really high fees.  That person still might screw up your defense.


I doubt taking one other competing company out would constitute substantially lessening the competition.  You might have something with "unfair methods" but I think a lot of people would want to keep things quiet by that point.  The feds might not have been allowed access yet to anything making them suspicious of Stephen, Yol certainly wouldn't jump to point it out, since he took care of spreading some of the rumors, and the high-ups at the company that hired the assassin certainly wouldn't want to draw attention to their own nefarious actions.  To sum up, unless the feds already smelled a rat or had access to incriminating evidence against Stephen, I don't know that anyone would be pointing it out to them lest that person, company or group of people come under investigation themselves.

Edited by traceria
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