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Category Archives: Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

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Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

DOJ Takes Down AlphaBay, the World’s Largest Dark Web Marketplace

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the seizure of AlphaBay, the largest criminal marketplace on the Internet, which was used to sell stolen financial information, identification documents and other personal data, computer hacking tools, drugs, firearms, and a vast number of other illegal good and services throughout the world. AlphaBay was the largest dark… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Uncategorized

Proposed Rules Aimed at High-Risk Brokers Confirm FINRA Push for Firms to “Do Their Part”

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) President and CEO Robert Cook spoke earlier this month at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he outlined several proposals to further what he called one of FINRA’s “most important purposes”—“to protect investors from bad actors.”  Taking aim at “those who seek to evade regulatory requirements and harm investors… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

U.S. Supreme Court Indirectly Limits Important Component of DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program

On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 16-529, that the SEC may not reach beyond the general five year statute of limitations period in order to obtain “ill-gotten gains,” a remedy known as disgorgement. Although the case did not involve a Foreign Corrupt Practices… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Securities and Commodities

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Time Limits Apply to SEC Disgorgement Orders

A unanimous United States Supreme Court held Monday, in Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, that the five-year statute of limitations under 28 U.S.C. § 2462 applies to disgorgement sought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Previously, the Circuits had been split on this issue. The issue in Kokesh was straightforward. Kokesh appealed a trial… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

President’s Proposed Budget Increases Healthcare Fraud Enforcement Funding

Much of the discussion surrounding President Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint has focused on cuts, but one proposed budget increase shows the new administration is likely to continue focusing on healthcare fraud enforcement.  Among cuts of approximately 18% to the budget of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the president’s budget proposes $70 million… Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Securities and Commodities

SEC Opens Cease-and-Desist Order Proceeding against Broker-Dealer and Chief Compliance / AML Officer

As we have highlighted in prior posts, regulators of financial institutions, including FinCEN, FINRA and SEC, have increasingly brought actions to bring organizations – and individuals – into compliance with AML / BSA obligations.  This enforcement activity is consistent with FinCEN’s August 2014 Advisory, now nearly three years old, emphasizing the idea that U.S. financial institutions… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Will 2017 Be the Year of Insider Trading Reform?

For several years running, insider trading has been among the most high-profile enforcement priorities for both DOJ and the SEC. Unlike most federal criminal law, insider trading remains undefined by statute, having instead been largely judge-made. Unsurprisingly, since the explosion of enforcement actions began, prosecutors and defendants have both pushed the courts to clarify (or… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

SEC: $7 Million Award to be Split by Three Whistleblowers

On Monday, January 23, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded more than $7 million to be split among three whistleblowers.  The three individuals helped the SEC in its investigation and prosecution of an investment scheme. The identity of whistleblowers is protected by law however, the SEC did disclose that the primary whistleblower will… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Companies Challenge CFPB’s Authority to Issue Civil Investigative Demands

As any company that has received a civil investigative demand (CID) from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) knows, the Bureau’s authority to issue CIDs is a powerful tool that leaves recipients with limited options to challenge or limit their compliance obligations.  Recently, the CFPB has fought back against CID challenges, asking two federal district… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Uncategorized

Caldwell’s Comments Draw Criticism, Apology—But Might Her Advice Be Timely?

It is no secret that top Department of Justice officials in Washington may occasionally be at odds with local prosecutors over charging or investigatory decisions made in U.S. Attorney offices around the country.  Indeed, DOJ Criminal Chief Leslie Caldwell was in the news last week for remarks she made during a Federalist Society luncheon in… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

In Data Privacy, Don’t Forget the State Attorneys General

State attorneys general play an active role in data privacy and security matters. Their involvement is increasing as they grapple with changing technologies and threats, rapidly evolving state laws and their relatively broad consumer protection authority to engage private sector custodians of personal data such as retailers, financial institutions, technology companies, and health systems. In… Continue Reading
Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Last Four Months of DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program Could Provide Important Signals

Last April, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice launched a one-year pilot program in the Fraud Section’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) Unit.  The pilot program, self-described as “building” on the Yates memorandum, provides structured incentives for companies to self-disclose, cooperate, and remediate with respect to FCPA violations.  The remaining four months… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

The U.S. Department of Justice is Ramping Up its Enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Think you are in compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?  Now would be a good time to make sure since the federal government is increasing its enforcement efforts as part of its Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that provides a wide range of protections to… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

The Yates Memo and Individual Representation

At the November 2, 2016 Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) Compliance and Legal Society Regional Seminar in New York, a SIFMA panel discussed the “Yates Memo,” its effect on internal investigations, and considerations regarding individual representation. The Yates Memo is a September 9, 2015 memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Debt Collection Practices Under Scrutiny of CFPB and NY Attorney General

On November 2, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit in federal district court in New York over an alleged “massive, illegal debt-collection scheme” that supposedly involved improperly increased debts and threats of arrest or legal action against delinquent borrowers. Douglas MacKinnon and Mark Gray are accused of… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Identifying Enforcement Innovations to Prepare for the Post-Yates Enforcement Environment

During a recent webinar sponsored by the Washington Legal Foundation, we explored the impacts intensive individual-focused criminal enforcement can have on an industry, using the recent history of criminal enforcement of food safety laws as a case study.  The individual prosecutions we discussed in that context were based in large part on application of the… Continue Reading
Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

UK set to shake up Corruption and Money Laundering Enforcement

The UK Government introduced the Criminal Finances Bill to Parliament today (13 October 2016), which will now start its passage through the parliamentary approval process before becoming law. The Government hopes that the Bill “will significantly improve the government’s ability to tackle money laundering and corruption, recover the proceeds of crime, and counter terrorist financing”, and… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

D.C. Circuit Rebukes CFPB in PHH Case

In a major setback for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the D.C. Circuit issued a significant ruling today that found the CFPB’s single director structure unconstitutional, ruled against the CFPB on important statutory interpretations – including the Bureau’s position that it was not subject to any statute of limitations in enforcement proceedings – and… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

I Can’t Get No (Financial Product) Satisfaction: CFPB Complaint Database Exceeds One Million Complaints

On September 27, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its Monthly Complaint Report capturing a high-level snapshot of trends in consumer complaints.  In conjunction with releasing its September Report, the CFPB confirmed it has handled over one million consumer complaints.  The CFPB describes consumer complaints as “submissions that express dissatisfaction with, or communicate suspicion… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Payment Processor Challenges CFPB’s Allegation That It Engaged in Unfair Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB”) lawsuit against payment processor Intercept Corporation remains pending, and recent briefing sheds light on what could result in broad implications for the payment processing industry and CFPB enforcement at large. We previously reported on the CFPB’s suit against Intercept, pending in district court in North Dakota.  The CFPB alleges… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

California Court Hands CFPB a Noteworthy Victory Against CashCall, Inc.

In a closely watched case pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the CFPB obtained a significant victory against CashCall Inc. (“CashCall”) and its affiliates.  The Court’s decision to grant the CFPB summary judgment on the issue of liability is noteworthy because it could have significant ramifications on a… Continue Reading
Energy Enforcement, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Court Holds FERC De Novo Review to Proceed as “Ordinary Civil Action”

Last week, a federal district judge ruled for the first time that the “review de novo” promised by section 31(d) of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), 16 U.S.C. § 823b(d), will be “treated as an ordinary civil action requiring a trial de novo.”  FERC v. Maxim Power Corp., Civ. No. 3:15-30113-MGM, at 2 (D. Mass.… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

BancorpSouth Bank Agrees to Pay More Than $10 million to Settle Charges of Redlining and Discrimination in Mortgage Underwriting and Pricing

On June 29, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and BancorpSouth Bank (BancorpSouth) agreed to settle allegations of redlining and discrimination in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act.  Notably, this case marks the second instance of the CFPB’s new approach to redlining analysis, which,… Continue Reading