First Circuit’s New England Compounding Center Decisions Illustrate Reach of Federal Criminal Law

In 2012, New England Compounding Center (“NECC”) shipped contaminated anti-pain medication to hospitals and clinics around the country, with devastating consequences. Patients around the country developed fungal meningitis and spinal and paraspinal infections. At least 63 died, and nearly 700 more suffered debilitating injuries. In opinions issued on July 9, 2020, the First Circuit addressed—and, for the most part, rejected—efforts by NECC’s owner and chief pharmacist to vacate their convictions and set aside the lengthy prison sentences they were ordered to serve for their roles in shipping the contaminated drugs.… More

Are Disgorgement Payments to the SEC Tax-Deductible? U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Liu v. SEC Complicates the Analysis

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month in Liu v. SEC raises the question of whether disgorgement payments in SEC enforcement actions should now be deductible for federal income tax purposes.  The Court held that a disgorgement award that does not exceed a wrongdoer’s net profits and is ordered for the benefit of victims is equitable relief, and therefore available to the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act. … More

CFPB’s Structure Found Unconstitutional, But Agency Will Survive

The Supreme Court in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau held that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) violated the separation of powers, but stopped short of finding the entire agency unconstitutional and instead held the CFPB could live on with a director who was removable at will by the President.

The Court reasoned that the CFPB’s “unique structure” was unconstitutional because the agency was “vested with significant executive power” but was led by a single director who was,… More

Liu v. SEC: Supreme Court Upholds the SEC’s Disgorgement Power But the Quagmire Continues

Last week, the Supreme Court decided in Liu v. SEC that the SEC may continue to seek disgorgement in judicial proceedings as a form of equitable relief under the Securities Exchange Act.  A ruling to the contrary would have deprived the SEC of its most significant tool, in dollar terms, for obtaining monetary relief.  Although the decision preserves the SEC’s disgorgement power, it restricts how courts may disgorge ill-gotten gains in three ways: in general,… More

DOJ Updates Guidance on Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

Earlier this month, the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance.  In considering enforcement actions against companies, prosecutors use the guidance to assist in evaluating (1) the form of any resolution or prosecution, (2) the amount of a monetary penalty, if any, and (3) whether to impose compliance obligations, such as a monitor or reporting requirements.  The guidance thus provides valuable insight into the factors prosecutors consider when making these decisions.… More

SEC Enforcement Co-Director Provides Update on Priorities During Pandemic: Takeaways for Issuers, Investment Advisers and Investment Companies

Following up on previous guidance, Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC Division of Enforcement (“Enforcement”), provided updated detail on Enforcement’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a virtual keynote address last month at the Securities Enforcement Forum West 2020.  (We discussed Enforcement’s prior statements here and here.)  In his remarks, Peikin affirmed that Enforcement will continue to prioritize COVID-19-related fraud – in particular,… More

Texas Man Using Online Name Generator Latest to Be Charged with PPP Loan Fraud

In the past two weeks, the federal government has charged several individuals in Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud schemes.  The allegations have ranged from applying for loans for non-operating businesses to using loan funds to buy cars and jewelry.  Charges announced this week showed a whole new level of creativity.  A Texas man, Samuel Yates, allegedly used an online name generator to make up the names of hundreds of employees in an effort to obtain a $5 million loan. … More

DOJ Reportedly Issues PPP-Related Subpoenas to Banks

In yet another sign that the federal government is following through on its warnings about PPP loan fraud, the Department of Justice, according to reports from Reuters, has issued grand jury subpoenas to several Wall Street banks related to an investigation into PPP loans.  The subpoenas were reportedly issued by the DOJ’s Fraud Section.  The issuance of the subpoenas does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing by the banks. … More

Purchasing a Rolls-Royce Is Not a Permissible Use of PPP Funds

Federal prosecutors continued to quickly respond to PPP loan fraud, bringing two additional cases that allege clear misuse of the funds intended for small businesses.  In one case, prosecutors in Georgia charged reality TV personality Maurice Fayne, aka “Arkansas Mo” of “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” fame, with bank fraud for allegedly using $1.5 million of a $2 million PPP loan to maintain his luxury lifestyle. … More