Corporate white-collar criminals enjoyed the lowest prosecution rate in history under former President Trump. But there is a new sheriff in town. According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, about 15% of these significant white-collar crimes involve repeat offenders. Now the Department of Justice (DOJ) is toughening its posture toward these corporate offenders. Under Monaco’s direction, a Corporate Crime Advisory Group is conducting a wide-ranging review of policies related to corporate criminal activity and developing new policies aimed at delivering both incentives and consequences when dealing with white-collar crime. If you have been charged with such crimes, you need an aggressive local criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later.
In an attempt to intensify personal accountability when white-collar crimes occur, the DOJ is more focused on prosecuting the top dogs in the corporate world than on merely punishing the corporation itself. New DOJ policies fixate on identifying repeat offenders and prosecuting them. That means the DOJ must look at misconduct within a company more expansively, install more monitors to stay on top of possible issues and make more persuasive demands for collaboration in these cases. Offenders will have to share evidence of crimes and actually name names across the board, not simply point out those involved to a substantial degree. Immediately upon discovering evidence of misconduct, the government will require notification, which eliminates the previous custom of gamesmanship and delay from corporate entities. Companies who continue with their old practices will soon discover that the penalties are delivered more quickly and more heavily than what they may have expected in previous years.
The DOJ has developed policies that definitively outline the expectations of corporate self-disclosure, along with the benefits of doing so. Speedier disclosures result in greater accompanying benefits. Explicitly, collaboration and voluntary remediation by companies could lead the DOJ to forgo efforts to seek a guilty plea or the use of independent compliance monitors, which will result in huge savings for the companies. And we all know money speaks volumes and can be a huge incentive for cooperation.
Past Behavior Matters
Additionally, a thorough review of the offender’s civil, regulatory, and criminal history will now be weighed as the DOJ considers resolving cases of wrongdoing. That is a difference worth noting, as only conduct similar to current law-breaking was considered when determining how to proceed in the past.
There is another potential change worth noting when it comes to repeat offenders. The DOJ is studying the elimination — or, at a minimum, a significant reduction — of allowing lawbreakers to “weasel out” of criminal prosecutions by simply paying fines and making promises that the illegal behavior will not happen again. An entirely new group of FBI agents will be tasked with pursuing corporate crimes and seeking criminal prosecutions when appropriate. Continue reading