White Collar & Government Enforcement Blog

White Collar & Government Enforcement Blog Blogs

Latest from White Collar & Government Enforcement Blog

In a landmark unanimous ruling late last week, Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, et al. 601 U. S. ____ (2024), the U.S. Supreme Court held that whistleblowers do not need to prove their employer acted with “retaliatory intent” to be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Instead, all whistleblower plaintiffs need to prove is that their protected activity was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s unfavorable personnel action. 
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Endorses Low Burden of Proof for Whistleblowers

In 2019, the Department of Justice created the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF or Strike Force), a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant, and program funding at all levels of government—federal, state and local. The PCSF is a constellation of partnerships among the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, multiple U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Inspectors General for multiple federal agencies working together to crack down on unlawful anticompetitive activities in the public procurement process. As we have
Continue Reading Aggressive Procurement Collusion Enforcement Risk Remains High for 2024

The United States Department of the Treasury has announced that it is working to address what it perceives as money laundering risks associated with investment advisers. Specifically, the agency asserts that absent consistent and comprehensive anti-money laundering (“AML”) and countering the financing of terrorism (“CFT”) obligations, corrupt officials and other illicit actors may invest ill-gotten gains in the U.S. financial system through hedge funds and private equity firms. Treasury indicated its intention to issue a proposal in the first quarter of 2024 that would apply Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) AML/CFT requirements, including suspicious activity report obligations, to certain investment advisers. 
Continue Reading Treasury Announces Renewed Push for Investment Adviser AML Rules in Q1 2024

On December 13, 2023, CoinList Markets LLC (“CoinList”) agreed to pay $1,207,830 pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Office of Foreign Assets Controls (“OFAC”) in connection with allegations that the San Francisco based virtual currency exchange violated OFAC’s Russia/Ukraine sanctions by allowing users in Crimea, an embargoed country, to open accounts on its platform.
Continue Reading Sanctions Enforcement in the Cryptocurrency Industry Continues to be a Focus

On December 14, 2023, with bipartisan support, Congress passed the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (“FEPA”), making it a federal crime for any foreign government official to demand, receive, or agree to receive a bribe from a U.S. company or individual, or any person while in United States territory in exchange or in connection with obtaining or retaining business. The legislation is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, and is anticipated to be signed into law by President Biden. Considered by the law’s authors to be one of “the most sweeping and consequential foreign bribery laws in nearly half a century,”
Continue Reading Corrupt Foreign Leaders Now on the Hook for Bribery Charges: Congress Passes the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act

Written by Paul Desmond in the key of E-flat minor and performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet using a funky quintuple (5/4) time, “Take Five” is and was the biggest selling jazz single of all time. But it is also slang for exercising one’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Because many civil lawyers ask when and how to invoke the privilege, we thought we would take a stab at answering some of the not-so-obvious questions that often arise.
Continue Reading “Take Five” – A Guide to Invoking the Fifth Amendment in Civil Cases

The U.S. authorities are increasingly taking actions against big-name crypto mixers for potential violations of sanctions regulations. On November 29, 2023, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctioned Sinbad.io (“Sinbad”), which is a virtual currency mixer. As a result, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealings involving Sinbad or its property interests. Virtual currency mixers are anonymized software tools that allow users to conceal the source or owner of digital assets.
Continue Reading OFAC Sanctions Crypto Mixer Following Allegations of Laundering Funds to North Korea

Last week, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced it declined to prosecute Lifecore, a U.S. biomedical company, after Lifecore voluntarily disclosed that a company it acquired paid bribes to Mexican officials and falsified documents both before and after Lifecore’s acquisition.[1] 
Continue Reading Voluntary Self-Disclosure of FCPA Violations Following Acquisition Avoids Corruption Charges

In Securities & Exchange Commission v. Govil, No. 22-1658, 2023 WL 7137291 (2d Cir. Oct. 31, 2023), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dealt a setback to the enforcement agenda of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) by limiting its ability to seek disgorgement under 15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(5) and (7) to situations in which the regulator can demonstrate investors have suffered pecuniary harm.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Reins in SEC Disgorgement Powers

An official from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced the DOJ’s plans to “substantially” add to its current roster of 75 prosecutors specializing in healthcare fraud. On November 7, John “Fritz” Scanlon, assistant chief of the DOJ’s criminal division, fraud section, who spoke at a Healthcare Compliance Association conference in Washington, D.C., stated that the 75 prosecutors are distributed among seven strike forces across the U.S. The DOJ uses nine interagency strike force teams to root out alleged fraudulent activities, particularly focusing on Federal healthcare program fraud and abuse. These teams are spread throughout the country, focusing on regions
Continue Reading Increased Enforcement in Healthcare? DOJ to Add More Prosecutors

After conducting a thorough and privileged internal investigation, it becomes evident that your Company has overcharged the government over $50 million, and that the fraud was directed by a high-level manager. What do you do next? After the recent HealthSun declination, you should self-disclose under the DOJ’s Voluntary Self-Disclosure policy, in conjunction with other acts of remediation! 
Continue Reading Should my Company Self-Disclose Major Fraud? The Answer is Now Clear

In a huge victory for white collar defendants and lawyers alike, the US Sentencing Commission (the “Commission”) recently announced several key amendments to existing federal sentencing guidelines will be effective November 1, 2023. Two of the most significant amendments relate to (1) zero-point offenders and (2) withholding points for acceptance of responsibility.
Continue Reading Good News for White Collar Defendants and Their Lawyers – Recent Changes to the Sentencing Guidelines

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week the advent of a new safe harbor for companies that discover wrongdoing by the acquired business in the course of an M&A transaction. Buyers hoping to take advantage of this avenue for leniency would be well-advised to conduct thorough diligence and act quickly to report any wrongdoing they uncover, as the potential upsides for those who do so may be considerable in light of the DOJ’s new policy.
Continue Reading DOJ Announces Mergers & Acquisitions Safe Harbor Policy

On September 29, 2023, Albemarle Corporation (“Albemarle”), a global chemical manufacturer, reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to resolve investigations into violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). This settlement is the culmination of a five-year investigation stemming from bribe payments made by Albemarle’s third-party sales representatives and employees of a subsidiary to government officials in Vietnam, Indonesia, and India to obtain government contracts in the chemical catalyst business between 2009 and 2017.
Continue Reading Albermarle Agrees to Pay $218 Million to Settle Foreign Bribery Probe

A few weeks ago, we discussed two recent cyber-related False Claims Act (FCA) cases. One of those cases is a qui tam lawsuit against Penn State and, as of the date of our article, we were waiting to see if DOJ would opt to intervene in the case on behalf of the United States.
Continue Reading Update – DOJ Declines to Intervene in Penn State Cyber-Related FCA Case

At the Global Investigations Review Annual Meeting in New York on September 21, 2023, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Marshall Miller (“Miller”) delivered remarks that provide an invaluable glimpse into the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ’s”) current and forthcoming priorities and initiatives on corporate criminal enforcement. Miller’s remarks shed light on various key areas of DOJ’s enforcement focus, including DOJ’s continued encouragement of voluntary self-disclosure and increasing attention towards safeguarding national security interests. Miller also emphasized DOJ’s commitment to consistency, predictability and transparency in its corporate enforcement work with an aim that such commitment will help companies better predict outcomes for certain criminal
Continue Reading A Look into DOJ’s Current Corporate Criminal Enforcement Landscape