On April 25th, the Eighth Circuit addressed whether defendant's claimed lack of knowledge that the securities laws applied to the promissory notes he sold to investors meant that he could not be sentenced to prison for violating those laws. Defendant and the government reached a plea agreement that did not provide for defendant's sentencing. After defendant's guilty plea was entered, the district court sentenced him to five years' imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and restitution in the amount of $6,841,921.90. Defendant appealed the sentence arguing that because he did not know that his conduct violated Rule 10b-5, imprisonment was not a permissible sentencing option. Affirming the sentence, the Court held that to avoid imprisonment a defendant must establish that he did not know the substance of the SEC rule he allegedly violated regardless of whether he understood its particular application to his conduct. U.S. v. Behrens.