Category: DOJ

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Silicon Valley in the Cross-Hairs

SEC and DOJ Targeting Fraud Involving Pre-IPO Companies Historically regulators have been reluctant to interfere with the complex world of pre-IPO  financing and private market transactions, which tend to involve the most sophisticated investors.  However, several recent public statements make it clear that both the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities and … Continue Reading

DOJ’s Focus on Food Safety and Corporate Executives

On April 29, 2016, Dole Foods Company announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had launched an investigation concerning listeria outbreaks at certain Dole plants.  The investigation comes on the heels of a number of high profile DOJ probes into outbreaks of food-related illnesses, most recently Blue Bell Creameries, and continues the DOJ’s recent trend towards … Continue Reading

DOJ Seeks to Boost Voluntary Disclosures Through FCPA Pilot Program

In a move that follows long-standing complaints from the corporate community and the FCPA defense bar concerning the Government’s vague assurances of “cooperation credit” in FCPA resolutions for self-reporting companies, on April 5, 2016, DOJ officials announced a new one-year FCPA “pilot program” that outlines a concrete set of standards defining what constitutes cooperation and what credit … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Restricts Pretrial Freezing of Untainted Assets

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Luis v. United States, No. 14-419, slip op., that the pretrial restraint of legitimate, untainted assets needed to retain counsel of choice violates the Sixth Amendment. Accordingly, the Court overturned an Eleventh Circuit ruling permitting the government to prevent a criminal defendant from using … Continue Reading

Freedom of Access or Freedom to Investigate? Uncertainty Remains Concerning the Discoverability of Materials Provided to the Government

Several recent rulings have highlighted the uncertainty surrounding the discoverability of information provided to the government, either as a part of a government investigation or subsequent proceedings. The decisions suggest that the views of courts on such issues may vary widely, which creates uncertainty for companies interacting with the government. On March 14, 2016, the … Continue Reading

AAG Caldwell Dispels Rumors of “Yates Certification” Requirement

On March 3, 2016, DOJ Criminal Division’s Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell addressed recent media reports claiming that companies under investigation by DOJ will soon need to certify their full disclosure of certain documents as a prerequisite to obtaining a settlement agreement with the Department.  Caldwell addressed—and dismissed—the rumored certification requirement while speaking on a … Continue Reading

New DOJ Guidance on Self-Disclosure in FCPA Cases?

The Washington Post reported last week that the DOJ is considering an internal policy that could give some companies a “free pass” if they voluntarily disclose violations of the FCPA, including information regarding culpable employees.  The proposed policy—which is under review and has not yet been adopted—strongly recommends that prosecutors decline to bring criminal charges … Continue Reading

SEC Enforcement:  Self-Reporting is Prerequisite to Deferred and Non Prosecution Agreements in FCPA  

In his keynote address at the ACI 32nd International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Washington, DC on November 17, 2015, SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney announced to the in-house compliance officials and corporate defense attorneys in attendance that, going forward, any public company that fails to self-report a potential FCPA violation to … Continue Reading

DOJ Memo to Prosecutors Calls for More Aggressive Pursuit of Corporate Executives

The U.S. Department of Justice—widely criticized for the perceived lack of cases brought against corporate executives—issued a new directive yesterday to all U.S. Attorneys designed to hold more individuals accountable for illegal corporate conduct.   The memorandum, written by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, first acknowledges the challenges involved in pursuing individuals for corporate crimes, … Continue Reading

Why We Should Expect More Criminal Cases Charging Illegal Coordination Between Campaigns and Super PACs

Note: An earlier post on Perkins Coie’s In the Arena: Law and Politics Update discussed, from a campaign finance lawyer’s perspective, why the prosecution in United States v. Harber signals greater jeopardy in the future for operatives in down-ballot races who coordinate with hastily-formed “super PACs.” And an earlier version of this post, which offers … Continue Reading

DOJ and SEC Dig In After Judicial Blow to SEC’s Home “Court” Advantage

As observed in this blog and elsewhere, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has aggressively pursued enforcement actions in administrative proceedings before its own Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), rather than before federal judges in the U.S. District Courts.  In response, defendants have begun raising constitutional challenges to the SEC’s administrative proceedings, claiming that the SEC’s … Continue Reading

Call to Arms from White House and DOJ on Spyware Sanctions

Last week, DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell took to the Justice Department’s blog to rally support behind recent White House proposals that would bolster law enforcement tools for prosecuting those who create, sell or advertise malicious “spyware.”  Spyware refers to software that allows users to surreptitiously intercept communications on their victims’ electronic devices such … Continue Reading

Holder Takes “First Step” in Comprehensive Review of Federal Asset Forfeiture Program

Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder took an important first step towards reforming the DOJ’s federal Asset Forfeiture Program.  Under the program, state or local law enforcement authorities may ask federal agencies to take or “adopt” assets that have been seized under state law.  Federal agencies then sell the assets and return a significant portion … Continue Reading

DOJ’s “Top 10” for Effective FCPA Compliance Programs

At the American Conference Institute’s 9th Annual Houston Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Boot Camp, January 27-28, 2015, Deputy Criminal Chief Jason Varnado, from the Major Fraud Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas, offered the audience of compliance and audit professionals insight into what the Department of Justice (DOJ) expects … Continue Reading

General Counsel’s Secret Recordings Ruled Admissible Against CEO

Last week, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey ruled that prosecutors can use secretly recorded conversations between Joseph Sigelman, the former chief executive officer of PetroTiger, and the company’s former general counsel, Gregory Weisman, in Sigelman’s upcoming trial.  Judge Joseph E. Irenas explained that the mere existence of an attorney-client … Continue Reading

Compliance Officer Assessed $1 Million Penalty for Program Failures

In a rare move targeting an in-house compliance officer, the former Chief Compliance Officer of MoneyGram International Inc. has been assessed a $1 million civil penalty by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) for failing to implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering (“AML”) program and for failing to file suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Narrows Scope of Remote Tippee Liability in Landmark Insider Trading Decision

In a ground-breaking decision, the Second Circuit dealt a substantial blow to federal prosecutors’ epic crackdown on insider trading by raising the bar for the government’s burden of proof in “remote tippee” cases that have plagued the financial industry in recent years. The decision in United States v. Newman (available here) places significant restrictions on the ability … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Questions Deference to SEC in Insider Trading Cases

At first glance, the 24-pages of orders issued by the Supreme Court on November 10, 2014, appear to be nothing more than the usual proscriptions, including a long list of cases for which the Supreme Court has declined to consider further appeals.  However, at the end of a perfunctory list of certiorari denials is a three-page Statement … Continue Reading

Expanded warrants to let DOJ remotely search and seize electronically stored information saved anywhere?

The U.S. Judicial Conference recently received public comments on proposed amendments to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 (the “Rule”), which would enlarge DOJ’s ability to remotely access, search, and seize electronically stored information (“ESI”).  Under the current Rule, a magistrate judge’s authority to issue warrants is limited to persons or property located within the … Continue Reading

Waving Goodbye to IAC Waivers

With nearly 97% of all federal convictions in 2013 secured through plea agreements, the Department of Justice announced yesterday that it will no longer ask criminal defendants who plead guilty to waive their right to appeal on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC).  In a memorandum to all federal prosecutors, Deputy Attorney General James … Continue Reading

DOJ steps up efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal False Claims Act cases

DOJ has announced that it will increase efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal actions under the False Claims Act.  In a recent address to the False Claims Act plaintiffs’ bar, Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, described the Criminal Division’s recent successes in prosecuting healthcare and government procurement fraud and its renewed efforts … Continue Reading
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