Sunday, July 10, 2011
If you have an obstruction case premised on section 1519, you might want to check out this article by T. Markus Funk (Perkins Coie) in NACDL's Champion Magazine. It's titled, "Honey Laundering, A Toilet Flush, and a Governor's Yahoo Account: The New Age of Anticipatory Obstruction of Justice."
It is hard to move businesses in different directions. I like to use the analogy of turning a ship around -- it takes time, dedication and a steady hand.
Corporate governance is shifting again. We had the revolution of Sarbanes-Oxley in the early 2000s and now we have a new movement afoot. It is no coincidence that aggressive changes in white collar enforcement coincide with significant changes in the corporate governance landscape.
The newest trend -- which I fully endorse -- is the creation of corporate compliance committees. For most businesses, a separate compliance committee is an effective means to focus on difficult compliance issues, demonstrate a management commitment to compliance, and facilitate communications on compliance issues within an organization. By establishing such a committee, a company sends a very clear message. But the committee has to be more than just window dressing -- it has to have the support, the resources, and dedicated members with real expertise in the compliance area.
I like to use another analogy -- a compliance committee is like your dashboard on your car, telling you how fast you are going, how much fuel you have, and allowing you to signal others on the road.
A compliance committee should help your company navigate your legal obligations by empowering your decision makers with the right information. It serves a proactive role, separate from the audit committee which has a number of critical obligations related to Sarbanes-Oxley enforcement.
The compliance committee is responsible for ensuring that the company is complying with key legal and regulatory obligations. It is your primary vehicle by which to manage risk.
The compliance committee must actively gather and disseminate information reporting on overall compliance efforts. It must also communicate compliance issues and business risks to the right people. The right people include responsible managers, who are directly responsible for significant day-to-day business decisions.
The compliance committee must include one or more independent members who understand the regulatory environment, as well as the principles of good governance. This has a number of advantages. The independent member can test reports and statements, and mine discussions for issues that may otherwise go uncovered; may be able to share broad industry information and trends; and is likely to be less susceptible to a company’s internal culture (which might be reluctant to discuss certain risks and violations).
A well-structured compliance committee is your ultimate protection against potential legal and regulatory violations. I encourage others to look at such committees as part of an overall compliance program.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
A new article on SSRN by Martin H. Pritikin and Ezra Ross, titled "The Collection Gap: Underenforcement of Corporate and White-Collar Fines and Penalties" - forthcoming in Yale Law & Policy Review. SSRN's abstract:
Civil and criminal monetary sanctions (fines, penalties, and restitution orders) are primary tools in the enforcement activities of the modern administrative state, particularly in the context of corporate wrongdoing. Although the enforcement literature debates the fairness and efficiency of imposing corporate sanctions, once imposed, those sanctions must be collected to be effective. Yet federal and state agencies are leaving untold billions in collectible fines unrecovered. This is a problem of both theoretical and practical importance, yet it has been largely overlooked. This Article, for the first time, amasses the evidence of pervasive governmental undercollection; rebuts the argument that the problem is due to factors beyond governmental control; examines the root causes of undercollection; and recommends solutions that address the political and economic circumstances that impede reform.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The American Bar Association, Business Law Section, Business Bankruptcy Committee, Criminal Justice Section, White Collar Crime Committee and the Golden Gate University School of Law proudly host a national dialogue about the freezing, seizing and distributing entity assets and operating the entity at the intersection of complex white collar crime prosecutions and business bankruptcy. The conference will serve as part of an ongoing discussion about lessons learned, recurring issues and best practices. The conference will feature leading voices from the federal district and bankruptcy bench, Department of Justice, Criminal and Civil Divisions from "Main Justice" and prominent U.S. Attorney's Offices, and Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as prominent white collar crime and business bankruptcy practitioners and academics. The conference is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 4-5, 2011 at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, CA.
The conference organizers seek proposals for papers of publishable quality that explore this intersection between white collar crime prosecutions, business bankruptcy. Particularly, we seek papers discussing the freezing, seizing and distributing of entity assets, operating the entity, and the different practices and goals inherent to criminal prosecution, civil enforcement and business bankruptcy proceedings. A committee of academics will review paper proposals that may contribute to our discussion. Both essay and article length papers are welcome.
Proposals should describe the thesis, its general support, and the proposed format of the final paper. Proposals should be no more than 3-pages. We will review proposals as received, beginning on June 1, 2011, with the submission deadline of July 15, 2011. Authors of selected proposals will then submit a draft of the paper in advance of the November conference and by October 1, 2011. During the November conference, authors of the selected proposals will present a draft of their paper and the committee of academics and conference participants will review the draft papers in advance of the conference and participate in workshops for selected papers during the conference.
To submit a proposal or draft paper, or for more information about the conference, participants or call for papers, contact Professor Karen Gebbia (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Wes Porter (email@example.com), or by phone at (415) 442-6600. The attachment should be in Word or PDF format. Late submissions will not be accepted. An e-mail acknowledging submission will be sent promptly to each author. Decisions will be communicated on a rolling basis with final decisions no later than August 1, 2011.
Monday, June 13, 2011
My forthcoming article in the University of Texas, Review of Litigation, is titled "100 Years of White Collar Crime in 'Twitter.'" It is available on SSRN here.
The Abstract states:
"Despite the fact that Twitter did not exist when the term “white collar crime” was coined in 1939, it is an interesting exercise to highlight the last 100 years of white collar criminal activity using “tweets.” In so doing, this Essay tries to capture some of the key events that have been prominent in the white collar world.
"This Essay first examines corporate criminal liability, looks next at individual liability, and then discusses key statutes and crimes that have been used in the prosecution of white collar criminal activity. In this regard, mail fraud, RICO, and perjury are examined. Sentencing issues and how they have influenced the treatment of white collar crime are tweeted. The ultimate goal of this fictional presentation is to demonstrate a historical overview of white collar crime happenings and is so doing evaluate its progression over time."
(esp)(blogging from Lenox, Massachusetts)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The Charleston Law Review invites submissions for its annual Supreme Court Preview volume. This year’s Preview will feature a foreword by Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California Irvine School of Law. The 2009 Supreme Court Preview volume was cited by Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion in FCC v. Fox Television Stations Inc., 129 S. Ct. 1800 (2009).
We welcome an article or essay addressing a case before the Court in its October 2011 Term, or in the alternative, addressing an aspect of the Court itself such as recent voting trends, case load, an analysis of a particular Justice, or any other topic related to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court Preview is published to coincide with the opening of the October 2011 Term. We therefore ask that work be submitted no later than August 1, 2011. Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning June 1, 2011. Please direct submissions and any questions about our Supreme Court Preview to Mollie Brunworth, Editor in Chief, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Professor Adam S. Zimmerman and David M. Jaros have a new article titled, The Criminal Class Action. It is forthcoming in 159 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1385 (2011) and available on SSRN here. The abstract states:
"Over the past ten years, in a variety of high-profile corporate scandals, prosecutors have sought billions of dollars in restitution for crimes ranging from environmental dumping and consumer scams to financial fraud. In what we call "criminal class action" settlements, prosecutors distribute that money to groups of victims as in a civil class action while continuing to pursue the traditional criminal justice goals of retribution and deterrence.
"Unlike civil class actions, however, the emerging criminal class action lacks critical safeguards for victims entitled to compensation. While prosecutors are encouraged, and even required by statute, to seek victim restitution, they lack adequate rules requiring them to (1) coordinate with other civil lawsuits that seek the same relief for victims, (2) hear victims’ claims, (3) identify conflicts between different parties, and (4) divide the award among victims.
"We argue that prosecutors may continue to play a limited role in compensating victims for widespread harm. However, when prosecutors compensate multiple victims in a criminal class action, prosecutors should adopt rules similar to those that exist in private litigation to ensure that the victims receive fair and efficient compensation. We propose four solutions to give victims more voice in their own redress while preserving prosecutorial discretion: (1) that prosecutors and courts coordinate overlapping settlements before a single federal judge, (2) that prosecutors involve representative stakeholders in settlement discussions through a mediation-like process, (3) that courts subject prosecutors’ distribution plans to independent review to police potential conflicts of interest, and (4) that prosecutors adopt the distribution guidelines the American Law Institute developed for large-scale civil litigation to balance victims’ competing interests."
Sunday, May 1, 2011
"Despite the dramatic escalation in corporate fines and imprisonment imposed under the FCPA in recent years, a particularly lethal sanction for combating foreign corruption remains unused—suspension or debarment of prosecuted entities from future contracts with the U.S. Many of the firms caught bribing foreign officials have extensive contracts with a number of domestic federal agencies; meaning debarment may be a particularly devastating penalty both for the government contractor and the agency it transacts business with.
"This begs the question: are certain private contractors too big to debar? As this Article demonstrates, it appears so. Certain federal agencies have become highly dependent on a handful of private firms responsible for satisfying the vast majority of government contracts. Because of the potential “collateral consequences” that may result from the collapse of a debarred contractor, these firms have enjoyed bailouts from agency officials who refuse to sanction corrupt practices through suspension or debarment. If ridding foreign markets of corruption truly is a top priority of the U.S., it seems both unfair and imprudent for federal agencies to continue awarding lucrative, multibillion-dollar contracts to firms recently prosecuted for fraudulently obtaining such contracts overseas.
"This situation leads to the jaded viewpoint that paying fines when caught bribing foreign officials has “simply become a cost of doing business.” To help illuminate these concerns and lend support to the thesis, this Article examines the third largest FCPA-related enforcement actions to date: the BAE Systems case. On March 1, 2010, BAE Systems paid approximately $400 million in fines for its corrupt practices abroad. In the 365 days that followed however, BAE was awarded U.S. contracts in excess of $58 billion dollars. The U.S.’s refusal to debar BAE because of the risk of “collateral consequences” provides a case study of the benefits and drawbacks to deterring foreign corruption through suspension and debarment. This Article concludes that the U.S. must begin to diversify its portfolio of federal contractors so that prosecutors may leverage the legitimate threat of suspension and debarment to more effectively deter foreign corruption."
Friday, April 29, 2011
Professor Mike Cassidy (Boston College) has a wonderful new piece titled Plea Bargaining, Discovery, and the Looming Battle Over Impeachment Evidence, which will be published in Vol. 64 of the Vanderbilt Law Review (October 2011). With the discovery under review, this is a very important piece and I recommend it highly. The SSRN abstract states:
"In a criminal justice system where guilty pleas are the norm and trials the rare exception, the issue of how much discovery a defendant is entitled to before allocution has immense significance. This article examines the scope of a prosecutor’s obligation to disclose impeachment information before a guilty plea. This question has polarized the criminal bar and bedeviled the academic community since the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in United States v. Ruiz (2002). A critical feature of the debate has been the enduring schism between a prosecutor’s legal and ethical obligations – a gulf that the American Bar Association recently widened by issuing a controversial opinion interpreting Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8(d) to impose obligations on prosecutors well beyond the requirements of the due process clause.
"For reasons of institutional competence and legitimacy, the author argues that rules of criminal procedure are a far better vehicle for regulating pre-plea impeachment disclosures than state attorney conduct rules. As the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules convenes this year to contemplate controversial amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure with regard to the disclosure of exculpatory evidence, the author proposes a categorical approach to impeachment disclosures that will mediate the tension between the defendant’s interest in accurately assessing the strength and weaknesses of the government’s case, and the state’s interest in protecting the privacy and security of potential witnesses."
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
New Article - Guns, Fruits, Drugs, and Documents: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Responsibility for Real Evidence
Professor Stephen Gillers has a wonderful new piece in 63 Stanford Law Review 813 (April 2011), titled, Guns, Fruits, Drugs, and Documents: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Responsibility for Real Evidence. (click here to read it on the Stan. L Rev website) This one is a must-read. We all know how to handle weapons, drugs, or stolen property. But happens with the document in a white collar case? This piece offers some wonderful thoughts of dealing with documents provided to counsel.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Check out Ellen C. Brotman's (Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads) article: Make Probation a Real Option at Sentencing, 23 Federal Sentencing Reporter 257 (No. 4) (April 2011). Her opening line: "My advice to the Commission is to amend the Guidelines to establish probation as a distinct type of sentence with independent value, rather than as merely a lenient option to be used only in extraordinary cases."
(esp)(hat tip to Evan Jenness)
Sunday, March 27, 2011
New ABA Website Features U.S. and International Anti-Corruption News and Peer-Reviewed Analysis by and for Practitioners
The American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section is launching a new website that provides up-to-date, practitioner-oriented information and analysis on global anti-corruption matters. Managed by the section’s Global Anti-Corruption Task Force, the site features, among other unique categories of information: Peer-reviewed articles and analysis from practitioners worldwide; Up-to-date news reports; Extensive online resource links; A library of presentations; and Notices of upcoming anti-corruption events and seminars. The task force provides a neutral, practitioner-focused online resource to monitor, evaluate and report on anti-corruption news and developments in transnational anti-bribery efforts. Focus is on the interplay between anti-corruption governmental efforts and the effect that those efforts have on global commerce and business development. The website’s distinguishing features are: a) all published articles are peer-reviewed and available free of charge online; b) its subject-matter focus covers the globe, and not just the United States; c) published pieces come from leading practitioners and industry leaders from all over the world; and d) its objective is to provide news and analysis that is "for and by" practitioners who are looking for the latest developments and insights in the ever-changing global anti-corruption arena. The site also provides extensive real-time news announcements and reports on criminal and regulatory enforcement activities relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as similar international instruments such as the United Kingdom Bribery Act, the German Anti-Corruption Act, Russia’s National Plan for Counteraction to Corruption, and the U.N. Convention Against Corruption. The Global Anti-Corruption Task Force is co-chaired by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Boutros (in his personal capacity) and Perkins Coie Investigations and White Collar Defense Group partner (and former Assistant U.S. Attorney) T. Markus Funk. A link to the task force website is available here.
The American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section is launching a new website that provides up-to-date, practitioner-oriented information and analysis on global anti-corruption matters. Managed by the section’s Global Anti-Corruption Task Force, the site features, among other unique categories of information:
Peer-reviewed articles and analysis from practitioners worldwide;
Up-to-date news reports;
Extensive online resource links;
A library of presentations; and
Notices of upcoming anti-corruption events and seminars.
The task force provides a neutral, practitioner-focused online resource to monitor, evaluate and report on anti-corruption news and developments in transnational anti-bribery efforts. Focus is on the interplay between anti-corruption governmental efforts and the effect that those efforts have on global commerce and business development.
The website’s distinguishing features are: a) all published articles are peer-reviewed and available free of charge online; b) its subject-matter focus covers the globe, and not just the United States; c) published pieces come from leading practitioners and industry leaders from all over the world; and d) its objective is to provide news and analysis that is "for and by" practitioners who are looking for the latest developments and insights in the ever-changing global anti-corruption arena.
The site also provides extensive real-time news announcements and reports on criminal and regulatory enforcement activities relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as similar international instruments such as the United Kingdom Bribery Act, the German Anti-Corruption Act, Russia’s National Plan for Counteraction to Corruption, and the U.N. Convention Against Corruption.
The Global Anti-Corruption Task Force is co-chaired by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Boutros (in his personal capacity) and Perkins Coie Investigations and White Collar Defense Group partner (and former Assistant U.S. Attorney) T. Markus Funk.
A link to the task force website is available here.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Lance Cole & Stanley M. Brand, Congressional Investigations and Oversight: Case Studies and Analysis, Carolina Academic Press (2011) - Carolina writes:
"This book examines the legal and policy issues surrounding congressional investigations through a series of case studies, with an emphasis on the period from the second half of the twentieth century to date. It is organized by case study topic, with each chapter using one or two case studies to introduce and analyze a discrete area of legal authorities and policy issues. The central thesis and organizing principle of this book is to highlight the importance of effective congressional oversight and investigative activities in our American democratic system of government, as well as the constitutional and parliamentary bases for this legislative power. In addition to collecting legal authorities, the book includes relevant historical information and structural analysis of government functions, with an emphasis on separation of powers issues."
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Peter D. Hardy, BNA - CRIMINAL TAX, MONEY LAUNDERING & BANK SECRECY ACT LITIGATION
Peter D. Hardy, BNA - CRIMINAL TAX, MONEY LAUNDERING & BANK SECRECY ACT LITIGATION- An analysis of the law and procedure relating to federal criminal cases handled by the IRS and DOJ, addressing the pragmatic and strategic challenges at every stage of litigation.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Sara Kropf, Andrew George, William C. Cleveland & Julie Rubenstein, The 'Chief' Problem With Reciprocal Discovery Under Rule 16, The Champion, Sept/Oct. 2010
Charlotte Simon, Ryan D. McConnell, & Jay Martin, Plan Now or Pay Later: The Role of Compliance in Criminal Cases
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Okay, let me take off my white collar defense attorney hat and put on my former prosecutor hat for a minute. Call it my citizenship hat. Don't most of us want real, unadulterated big-time crooks to be investigated and, where appropriate, charged? Where are all the investigations and prosecutions of the accounting control fraud that caused one of the greatest recessions in U.S. history? You know, the current recession.
Back in the late 1980s, when the S&L Crisis hit and the Dallas-based S&L Task Force was formed, federal law enforcement officials quickly realized that, in many instances, colossal fraud had been committed by the very players who controlled the S&Ls. The S&L fraud was overwhelmingly based on sham transactions and sham accounting for those transactions. Massive resources were committed to investigating and prosecuting the S&L fraud. It was understood that the crooked players had hijacked their S&Ls and defrauded depositors and/or the FSLIC. This rather elementary distinction between the savings and loan as an institution and the fraudsters who controlled it was grasped by AUSAs and effectively conveyed to juries across the land.
Nothing like this is happening today with respect to the federal government’s investigation of the housing bubble, liars’ loans, and Wall Street's subprime lending scandal. The overwhelming number of investigations and prosecutions seem to be focused on piker fraudsters—corrupt individual borrowers or mortgage brokers. These cases are easy pickings, but do not get to the massive fraud that clearly permeated the entire financial system.
Professor William Black, of Keating Five fame, has written a scathing piece all about this for the Huffington Post. Here it is. Among Black's revelations? "During the current crisis the OCC and the OTS - combined - made zero criminal referrals." Astounding. These two agencies accounted for thousands of criminal referrals per year during the S&L Task Force years. More fundamentally, Black argues that today's federal prosecutorial authorities do not comprehend that individuals in control of an institution can have an incentive to engage in short-term fraud that enriches them individually while destroying the long-term prospects of the institution and the larger economy.
Nobody should be charged with a white collar crime unless the crime is serious and the prosecution believes in good faith that a jury will find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But how about a substantive investigative effort, including commitment of appropriate resources? Why are such huge resources being spent on dubious endeavors like insider trading and FCPA enforcement, while elite financial control fraud goes largely unaddressed? Professor Black's piece is highly recommended reading.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Jonathan C. Cross, law.com, RICO's Post-'Morrison' Reach: Will Other Courts Adopt the 2nd Circuit's Approach?
Margaret Colgate Love, Wash Post, Time to pardon people as well as turkeys, Mr. President
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Cooperation Costs by Miriam H. Baer (Brooklyn) - forthcoming article is Washington U. Law Review - here
This Article explores the costs and benefits of criminal cooperation, the widespread practice by which prosecutors offer criminal defendants reduced sentences in exchange for their assistance in apprehending other criminals. On one hand, cooperation increases the likelihood that criminals will be detected and prosecuted successfully. This is the "Detection Effect" of cooperation, and it has long been cited as the policy’s primary justification.
On the other hand, cooperation also reduces the expected sanction for offenders who believe they can cooperate if caught. This is the Sanction Effect of cooperation, and it may grow substantially if the government signs up too many cooperators, sentences them too generously, or causes them to become overly optimistic about their chances of receiving a cooperation agreement.
When the government allows the Sanction Effect to grow too large, it undermines one of its key tools for improving deterrence. Indeed, when the Sanction Effect outweighs the Detection Effect, cooperation reduces deterrence, and the government unwittingly encourages more crime. Since cooperation is itself administratively costly, the policy perversely causes society to pay for additional crime.
This Article reorients the cooperation debate around the fundamental question of whether cooperation deters wrongdoing. Drawing on economics and behavioral psychology, it provides a framework for better understanding how and when cooperation "works." Government actors who laud and rely on cooperation must address the fundamental question of whether it actually deters wrongdoing. To do otherwise, is to leave society vulnerable to cooperation’s greatest cost.