FCPA Coming to the Front of the Line
DOJ officials have increased the size of the fraud section's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") enforcement unit. DOJ officials expect the fraud section to grow by as much as 50 percent over the next few years, with an increased focus on FCPA enforcement, as in a recent action against Daimler that resulted in the appointment of a corporate monitor. This increase is coupled with a new trend among FCPA investigations: increased cooperation with foreign officials. U.S. firms are struggling to comply with the complex provisions of the FCPA as it stands, but now they face increased risk that the foreign officials with whom they work will cooperate in the U.S. investigation.
Fraud Prevention Comes to Main Street
There is a new tool for fraud prevention: StopFraud.gov, which is a website established by the Federal Financial Fraud Taskforce. In a press release, the DOJ described the site as "a one-stop shop for the American people to learn how to protect themselves from fraud and to report it wherever - and however - it occurs." Only time will tell whether this new access point to report purported fraud to the Taskforce will enhance its investigation efforts or merely distract it from investigating serious frauds.
Six Things You Need to Know About the New SEC Enforcement Rules
Earlier this year, the SEC's Division of Enforcement announced that it has formalized its enforcement procedures by outlining clear paths to follow during the course of an investigation. The Division outlined that it would use proffer agreements, cooperation agreements, deferred prosecution agreements and nonprosecution agreements to garner cooperation, reward cooperation and resolve cases. Click here to see the six things you need to know about the new rules. For more about the SEC's cooperation initiative, click here.
Why Hire Lawyers to Conduct Internal Investigations? It's Privileged.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that when an internal investigation is in the cards, hiring lawyers to both investigate and give legal advice can shield from disclosure the investigators' notes and report, due to the combination of attorney-client and work-product privileges. For a copy of the opinion, click here.
More Money, More Problems? DOJ Seeks More Money to Combat Financial Crimes.
The DOJ has made clear that prosecuting financial crimes is one of its main targets. In its proposed fiscal year 2011 budget, the DOJ sought an additional $96.8 million for its economic fraud enforcement, which is a 23 percent increase over its 2010 budget. In a similar move to increase its focus on financial frauds, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has announced the formation of a new Civil Frauds Unit to combat large-scale financial frauds.