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Going back many decades, each Deputy Attorney General (DAG) has promulgated revisions to the Department of Justice’s corporate criminal enforcement policies, leaving behind eponymous policy memos that were carefully studied by defense attorneys (e.g., the “Holder Memo” and the “Thompson Memo”). Finding an approach that deters corporate wrongdoing and incentivizes corporations to participate in investigations but avoids punishing entire corporations (including their shareholders and employees) for the conduct of a few bad actors has proven to be a perennial challenge. On the one hand, overly lenient policies may fail to incentivize companies to cooperate with investigations and identify wrongdoers. On the other hand, policies that are overly focused on collecting headline-making settlement amounts from corporations may do little to deter wrongdoing by employees, while indictment can amount to a death sentence for a corporation that may ultimately be innocent of the charged crime. This was the case with Arthur Andersen in the early 2000s, an auditing firm unwisely charged by the Enron Task Force with obstruction of justice, a crime that it did not commit. By the time the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the conviction, the scandal had effectively put the firm out of business. See, Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States, 544 U.S. 696 (2005) (reversing trial conviction).
By Edward T. Kang
In the COVID-19 era, there has been a heist of great value, but it has not gone undetected. Prosecutors have called the heist the largest fraud in U.S. history, with the thieves stealing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money through fraudulently obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
By Andrew N. Bourne
Professional liability insurance policies may provide coverage for criminal proceedings, including defense costs incurred defending against criminal indictments. Corporate policyholders, and individuals covered under professional liability policies, should know exactly what type of claims are insured.
By Andrew Goudsward
After nearly nine years in the private sector, Glenn Leon returned to the U.S. Department of Justice to take over a section that has grown both in staff and in stature as it pursues some of the government’s biggest white-collar cases.
By Jonathan S. Feld and Lisa M. Burnett
The attorney-client privilege is a critical component in the legal process but its protection is constantly being challenged in complicated corporate investigations. There are measures that attorneys should, where possible, take steps to mitigate the risk of losing the privilege.