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For companies suspected of wrongdoing, cooperating with Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations and self-disclosing their misconduct often appears to be their only option to avoid prosecution and reduce large financial penalties. But, these benefits often come at a price, especially to company employees who are caught in the middle. To gain cooperation credit for voluntary self-disclosure, companies are expected to identify all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the alleged misconduct. And as part of demonstrating their cooperation to the government, companies often pressure their employees to submit to interviews, including with DOJ, or risk losing their jobs and/or indemnification of legal fees. Such scenarios, which have become prevalent in today’s corporate enforcement environment, place employees “between the rock and the whirlpool” by arguably coercing their testimony and infringing on their constitutional right against self-incrimination. See, Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493, 498 (1967).
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By Robert J. Anello and Richard F. Albert
When federal prosecutors focus their attention on high profile misconduct that is not an obvious violation of federal criminal law, they often cannot resist the attractions of broadly worded “catch-all” fraud statutes. From time to time, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has pushed back on efforts to further expand the boundaries of these statutes, leading to reversals of some well-publicized criminal convictions.
By Margaret A. Dale and Mark D. Harris
Given the current turmoil in the markets, an increasing number of plaintiffs are bringing shareholder class action suits, citing corporate statements about COVID-19. As first-quarter earnings season draws to a close, now is a good time to reflect on the shareholder class actions that have been brought to date related to COVID-19, and others potentially yet to come.
By Terence M. Grugan, David L. Axelrod and Emilia McKee Vassallo
For more than 10 years, federal investigators have investigated criminal conduct in connection with the 2008 recession-era TARP program. From those investigations, U.S. Attorneys across the country brought cases and earned convictions for offenses spanning the federal criminal code. We can expect that these same agencies will use the same techniques and strategies to investigate crimes and bring cases involving fraud related to the COVID-19 stimulus packages.
By Russell Koonin and Adam Schwartz
In the midst the current COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC is paying attention. The Division of Enforcement has made clear that it will act, and act quickly, to stop fraudulent conduct that falls under its jurisdiction related to the pandemic.