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Barak Cohen represents two kinds of clients: companies and individuals facing government enforcement actions and investigations in highly regulated industries, particularly the healthcare and government contracting industries, and companies that need strategic business advice regarding compliance and regulatory matters in the cannabis industry.

On March 2, 2023, U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Lisa Monaco once again delivered groundbreaking remarks at the American Bar Association National Institute on White Collar Crime, this time heralding a new era of corporate enforcement aimed at addressing U.S. national security priorities.  Last spring, as U.S. sanctions against Russia rolled out, DAG Monaco described sanctions as “the new FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act”)” in terms of DOJ priorities, sending shockwaves through the world of corporate compliance.  Since then, DOJ has borne that promise out largely through an aggressive campaign, championed by Task Force KleptoCapture, as we have previously written about, resulting in a large number of criminal cases targeting individual defendants. 

In this most recent announcement, DAG Monaco set a new tone: announcing that enforcement of national security-related violations—most notably sanctions evasion and export control violations—against corporations would be among the top priorities of the DOJ.  Later in the day, Matthew Axelrod, Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement within the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), drove home that point, emphasizing that companies should no longer view export control and sanctions violations as “technical violations,” but would be well advised to view them as enterprise risks given the prioritization these issues are receiving within the various government enforcement agencies, including the DOJ.  Further highlighting this new landscape, the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) spoke at the ABA White Collar Conference for the first-time ever on March 2 and the DOJ, BIS and OFAC issued their first-of-its kind joint compliance guidance the same day, relating to third party-intermediary risks. 

It was a day filled with sea-changing announcements for sanctions and export control enforcement, but the takeaway was simple: Sanctions and export controls really are the new FCPA in terms of corporate enforcement priorities and related compliance expectations.  The Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) has already begun conducting sanctions- and export-related investigations.Continue Reading DOJ to Prioritize Enforcement of Sanctions and Export Control Violations Against Corporations

In this second episode of a series regarding False Claims Act (FCA) enforcement, Perkins Coie attorneys Barak Cohen and Alex Canizares are joined by guest Pete Jensen, Global Chief Compliance Officer for Arthrex, Inc., one of the world’s largest medical device companies. In the podcast, Pete discusses the myriad challenges healthcare companies face when managing

In this post, Perkins Coie attorneys discuss a U.S. Federal Trade Commission settlement regarding its most recent law enforcement action to monitor the marketplace for misleading cannabidiol product claims. The action targets Kushly Industries LLC and the company’s sole officer for allegedly making false or unsupported health benefit claims about Kushly’s CBD product.

Read the

In this episode of White Collar Briefly, Perkins Coie’s Barak Cohen, David Fletcher, and Alexander Canizares discuss the landscape for increased fraud investigations and enforcement actions related to COVID-19 stimulus spending, including False Claims Act investigations and qui tam whistleblower litigation, as well as steps companies can take to reduce their potential exposure. Barak, David,

On July 28, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused six individuals and their companies with securities fraud in connection with two cannabis-related businesses in California that raised $25 million in an unregistered securities offering.  The SEC’s complaint was filed in the Central District of California and seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten

Ben Purser, chief risk officer for mortgage lender, Roundpoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation, and Barak Cohen, partner in Perkins Coie’s White Collar & Investigations practice and lead for the firm’s Commercial Litigation in Washington, D.C., discuss the challenges of legal compliance and risk in an industry that has been directly affected by two global financial crises

In 2008, Congress passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which awarded approximately $700 billion in stimulus funds to companies reeling from one of the greatest financial crises to strike the U.S. The TARP included oversight provisions, particularly the creation of a Special Inspector General at Treasury and a Congressional Oversight Panel. Numerous investigations and prosecutions relating to stimulus fraud resulted, some of which continue to this day. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to present an even greater economic crisis for the U.S. When developing the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which involves roughly $2 trillion in stimulus aid to businesses suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators looked to TARP for inspiration, including the incorporation of provisions for investigations and enforcement lifted almost verbatim from the TARP legislation.
Continue Reading Coronavirus Stimulus, Lessons and Predictions from TARP Insiders

In this time of supreme uncertainty, companies have many urgent concerns. Recent actions by the Department of Justice give businesses another thing to focus on: investigations and enforcement relating to fraud, waste, and abuse sure to trail in the wake of Covid-19 relief.

Even if your company does not receive funds specifically tied to the

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (popularly known as the 2018 Farm Bill) into law.

  • Among the broad-ranging provisions included in the law, it legalizes the cultivation and sale of hemp at the federal level, effective January 1, 2019.
  • Hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) businesses have thrived in numerous

There will be little debate that this has been a bad day for the state-sanctioned (and regulated) marijuana industry.  The Obama-era directives that significantly fettered the discretion of U.S. attorneys to bring federal narcotics charges against marijuana growers, distributors and possessors in states that “legalized” marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes are now a thing