Wall of ShameAuthenticity of E-Mails

Authenticity of E-Mails in First Trial May Haunt Johnson

Fabricated E-Mails Are No Joke for Former PurchasePro CEO

While former PruchasePro executive Charles Johnson is currently on trial in U.S. District Court on charges of making improper deals to inflate company earnings, he is staying in the headlines for an earlier case that ended in a mistrial and led to the firing of Johnson’s former attorney, Preston Burton.

In that case, prosecutors and the FBI stated that emails produced by Johnson were fabricated, citing inconsistencies in text and typeface. Burton has stated that Johnson told him both that the fabricated emails were a joke and an effort to challenge his legal team. The trouble continued when junior associates on the defense team could not find two important emails Johnson has previously provided, giving prosecutors additional evidence that indicated Johnson had been tampering with electronic records.

Surety's Take: Fabricated E-Mails Are No Joke for Former PurchasePro CEO
Johnson claims his fabricated e-mails were a joke and a way to challenge the efforts of his legal team. Prosecutors, on the other hand, believe the former PurchasePro CEO tampered with documents that would implicate him in an accounting fraud scheme. Irrespective of whether Johnson's tampering represented an attempt to cover his tracks, a test for his legal counsel or a failed attempt at humor, his case highlights the ease with which e-mails – like other electronic records – can be tampered, and the challenges electronic records present in terms of authentication.

The Power of Proof

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