DOJ’s New Guidelines on Repeat Corporate Misconduct: Do They Have Real Teeth?

On October 28, 2021, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco released a memo setting out “Initial Revisions to Corporate Criminal Enforcement Policies.” The memo indicated that the Department of Justice would place greater emphasis on a corporation’s “history of misconduct” in reaching determinations about whether to criminally charge a corporation. Noting that past misconduct is potentially indicative of the strength of internal controls to prevent criminal activity,… More

The DOJ, SEC, Insider Trading, and Data Analysis

A year ago, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) heralded data analytics in announcing parallel insider trading actions against a senior executive at a pharmaceutical company (Viatris Inc.), formerly known as Mylan N.V. (“Mylan”). The SEC asserted that “efforts to conceal the scheme through secure messaging apps and foreign cash payments were unavailing, as this case highlights the agency’s ability to use sophisticated data analysis to detect suspicious trading patterns and identify the traders behind them.”

Last year’s case was against the alleged tippee,… More

DOJ’s Settlement Imposes Legal Process Compliance Monitor, Highlighting the Government’s Increased Focus on Data Preservation

Google will spend the next three years with an independent compliance monitor scrutinizing its process for responding to warrants and other government data requests. This and other requirements are part of a settlement agreement with Google, announced by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) on October 25, 2022, to resolve a four-year long dispute over lost data responsive to a DOJ search warrant.

The dispute dates back to a warrant the DOJ obtained in 2016 in the U.S.… More

Boeing’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement In Question After Court Rules 737 Max Crash Victims’ Families May Assert Rights Under The Crime Victims’ Rights Act

A recent ruling from a federal district judge in Texas has called into question the finality of deferred prosecution agreements.  Deferred prosecution agreements are negotiated and entered into by the government and criminal defendants (typically corporations) and allow the defendant to avoid a criminal conviction.  In exchange, defendants are often required to accept responsibility for charges, pay fines, cooperate with ongoing investigations, and engage in ongoing compliance processes,… More

Companies Should Beware of Employees Texting Business Communications

Text messaging is convenient.  It is an informal and instant mode of communication now available through numerous apps, which allow an individual to use their synced phone, tablet, and computer to quickly fire off messages.  It’s no wonder that text messaging has extended beyond the realm of friends and family, taking hold in our daily business communications.

However, intra-company text messages and other off-channel business communications have drawn scrutiny from the federal government because they undermine a company’s ability to maintain effective recordkeeping.… More

DOJ Updates Policies on Corporate Ethics and Compliance

Last week, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco delivered remarks on corporate criminal enforcement, announcing revisions to DOJ’s policies for addressing corporate ethics and compliance matters. These changes reflect an increased focus on holding individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing, guidance on handling corporate recidivism, further transparency regarding the appropriateness and necessity of monitorships; incentives for voluntary self-disclosure of misconduct; and a recognition of compensation related incentives to garner a corporate culture of compliance.… More

DOJ Announces Increased Focus on Digital Asset Crime with Newly Formed Digital Asset Coordinator Network

On Friday, September 16, 2022, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a formalized focus on digital asset abuse by publically releasing a 46 page report on the Role of Law Enforcement in Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets (the “Report”). DOJ describes this Report as a “companion” to its other recent report, How to Strengthen International Law Enforcement Cooperation For Detecting, Investigating And Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related To Digital Assets,… More

In Deciding Tortious Aiding and Abetting Claims, MA Federal Court Finds Routine Provision of Banking Services May Amount to Substantial Assistance When a Strong Inference of Actual Knowledge Exists

On August 31, 2022, in a lengthy order,[1] Judge Timothy Hillman of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts denied motions to dismiss that were filed by multiple defendant banks (the “Banks”) in an attempt to avoid liability for allegedly aiding and abetting a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme by TelexFree. While the Banks raised a variety of issues, the judge’s rulings regarding the “substantial assistance” element of a tortious aiding and abetting claim is particularly noteworthy.… More

New York Federal Prosecutors Indict Defendant in Connection with NFT Insider-Trading Scheme

Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York recently charged Nathan Chastain with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a purported scheme to illegally profit from sales and purchases of Non-Fungible Tokens (“NFTs”).[1]  This landmark criminal case marks the first time federal prosecutors have pursued criminal action to police insider trading in the NFT marketplace.

Chastain is a former employee of Ozone Networks,… More

Supreme Court Preview: The Supreme Court Poised to Address Key Federal Wire Fraud Issue

In the 2022-2023 term, the Supreme Court will address the definition of “property” under the federal wire fraud statute, which prohibits a person from “obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses.” 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The definition of “property” for the purposes of this statute has been much debated—need “property” be economic in nature?  Must it be tangible?  Can one’s admission to a university constitute “property”? … More