During a speech last week to a group of white collar defense attorneys, John Carlin, a senior official at the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed what many in the white collar and corporate compliance space have been preparing for since January: the DOJ is devoting a “surge” of resources to ramp up its white collar enforcement efforts. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal*, Carlin listed several agency actions that are either in the works or already underway:
- Embedding Federal Bureau of Investigation agents within the DOJ, including a new “squad” of dedicated agents in the agency’s fraud section, to focus on investigations into foreign bribery, market manipulation, and healthcare fraud cases;
- Enhancing efforts to incentivize companies to develop compliance programs to preemptively prevent legal violations by employees;
- Developing new tools, including the use of data analytics, to identify corporate wrongdoing (and encouraging corporations to do the same); and
- More strictly enforcing the terms of deferred- and non-prosecution agreements.
Although the increased focus on enforcement should not come as a surprise to careful (or even casual) observers, the DOJ’s emphasis on preemptive compliance suggests the agency will be receptive to organizations who are proactively improving their compliance practices.
Companies should consider reviewing their compliance policies and implementing certain best practices to minimize the risk of being swept up in any future enforcement pushes: