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Category Archives: Fraud, Deception and False Claims

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Compliance, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Department of Education Adopts Rules Increasing Student Loan Risk for Schools

As we previously reported, in June the Department of Education (DOE) proposed new rules relating to when students could assert a borrower defense to repayment, effectively a discharge of student loans.  On November 1, DOE adopted the rules in substantially the same form they were proposed. In commentary, DOE observes that the former borrower defense… 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
Election and Political Law, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims, Securities and Commodities

AN IMPORTANT CHECK ON THE ABUSE OF GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY

As citizens of a nation founded on the rule of law, we depend upon law enforcement and prosecutors to protect us from harm and from those who infringe our liberty.  In exchange for this protection, we permit these public servants to exercise authority and at times great power.  Thankfully, and it should go without saying,… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims, Securities and Commodities

SEC Describes Recent Efforts to Combat Pyramid Schemes and Affinity Frauds

Over the past two years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stepped up enforcement actions against pyramid schemes and related affinity frauds. Last week, in a speech at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, addressed his division’s most recent efforts to combat these frauds. In particular,… Continue Reading
Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

The Olympus Debacle: Why Internal Whistleblowing is a Good Thing for Compliance

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that Olympus Corporation of the Americas (OCA) agreed to pay $646 million to resolve three cases relating to its longstanding practice to bribe doctors and hospitals in the U.S. and abroad. The company entered deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) related to violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and… Continue Reading
Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Is the Government the Public? Seventh Circuit Suggests Willingness to End FCA Circuit Split by Joining Sister Circuits in Saying No

Courts generally agree in False Claims Act cases that the government alone does not count as “the public” for purposes of the Act’s public disclosure bar. The current bar calls for dismissal of complaints whose allegations have already been publicly disclosed, with the aim of preventing parasitic suits. Seven circuits subscribe to the view that… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Developer Facing 230-Year Sentence Illustrates Necessity of Full and Accurate Disclosure

Demonstrating the importance of full and accurate disclosure, a Chicago commercial real estate developer faces a maximum sentence of 230 years in prison for misrepresenting his company’s finances. After a two-week trial, on February 24, a jury found Laurance Freed, president of Joseph Freed and Associates LLC (JFA), guilty of bank fraud, mail fraud, and… Continue Reading
Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

The SFO’s ‘Seize and Sift’ Procedure

R (on the application of Colin McKenzie) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office saw an unsuccessful attempt to judicially review the SFO’s currently in-use procedure for dealing with material that it has seized, and which may contain content subject to legal professional privilege (“LPP”). This ‘procedure’, set out in the SFO’s Operational Handbook, provides… Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

FinCEN Announces First Card Club AML Enforcement Action

Just in time for Christmas, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the financial industry (including casinos and card clubs) regulator, announced its first-ever enforcement action against a card club, California’s Oaks Card Club (Oaks). The enforcement action, which carried a penalty of $650,000, is the latest in a string of actions against gaming enterprises and is… Continue Reading
Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims, Uncategorized

Cooperation, Leniency, Internal Investigations, Self-Incrimination, Privilege and All That Jazz

I recently attended a Fraud Conference in Miami where I heard a French lawyer insisting that since he was a defence advocate, his job was to defend his clients against fraud allegations, not to prosecute them.  Instead of cosying up to the authorities, and self-reporting, he regarded it as his duty to challenge the prosecutor and… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims, Securities and Commodities

First Guilty Verdict for Dodd-Frank “Spoofing” Violations

On November 2, 2015, Law360.com reported that Michael Coscia became the first individual to be convicted for the crime of “spoofing” under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. The Dodd-Frank Act amended section 4c(a)(5) of the Commodities Exchange Act, making it unlawful to engage in any trading or practice that “is, is of the character of,… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

CFPB Obtains Injunction Against World Law Group

The CFPB recently obtained preliminary injunctions against debt-reduction company World Law Group, its affiliates and its owners, thereby freezing the company’s assets and stopping all further operations pending the outcome of a CFPB lawsuit against the company. The injunctions, issued on September 2 and September 14, come on the heels of the complaint filed by… Continue Reading
Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Making Bankers Accountable

The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority have recently been showing signs of gearing up for the new regime which is intended to have the effect of making senior bankers and other financial services managers accountable for failings within their institutions. The intention, of course, is to avoid the kind of meltdown we all… Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

FinCEN Final Rule on Foreign Bank Requires Covered Financial Institutions to Take “Special Measures”

On July 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published in the Federal Register a final rule pursuant to Section 311 of the Patriot Act against FBME Bank Ltd. (FBME, formerly known as Federal Bank of the Middle East). FBME is based in Tanzania but does most of its… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims, Securities and Commodities

Reflections on a Sentence: Spooking the City

Tom Hayes emerges from his trial at Southwark Crown Court for Libor manipulation as a very considerable loser, who took some very bad decisions in the course of the SFO investigation and trial (and perhaps deserves his long sentence for the level of stupidity displayed alone, although the Judge specifically stated that he took no… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

FFIEC Assessment Helps Financial Institutions Prevent Cyber Attacks

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently issued an assessment tool meant to assist financial institutions in the detection of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the prevention of cyber attacks. The FFIEC is an interagency body that develops the principles and standards used by agencies and organizations empowered to examine financial institutions, such as the Consumer… Continue Reading
Compliance, Fraud, Deception and False Claims, Securities and Commodities

SEC’s Whistleblower Program Awards Over $3 million to Company Insider

On Friday, July 17, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it will award more than $3 million to a company insider who helped the SEC “crack a complex fraud.” The SEC’s whistleblower program was adopted under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. It rewards high-quality, original information that results in enforcement actions exceeding $1… Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

AML Compliance Developments in the Gaming Industry

Executives of regulated entities often lament that fulfilling compliance obligations interferes with their ability to operate their business. However, an extensive (and extended) regulator investigation with the potential for civil and / or criminal penalties can present an even greater obstacle to running a business. Trends over the last year in the gaming industry suggest… Continue Reading
Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

DOJ Criminal Division Chief Provides Guidance on Corporate Charging Decisions

On April 17, 2015, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell provided helpful guidance regarding the Justice Department’s approach to corporate charging decisions in remarks that she delivered at New York University Law School’s Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement. Ms. Caldwell explained that her remarks furthered the Criminal Division’s efforts to increase transparency regarding corporate prosecutions,… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Will Judge Rakoff Get His Wish? – Changes to Federal Sentencing Guidelines May Alter the Plea Bargaining Process

In an article last fall, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff lamented the prevalence and process of plea bargaining in today’s criminal justice system.  While plea bargains currently resolve an estimated 97 percent of federal criminal cases, recent changes to the sentencing guidelines may encourage some white-collar defendants to take their chances at trial. Last week, the… Continue Reading
Compliance, Fraud, Deception and False Claims, Securities and Commodities

Inadequate Internal Controls Cost Tech Firm $750,000

Without admitting or denying the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s findings, Polycom Inc. settled with the agency on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, over alleged insufficient internal controls and disclosure violations for personal perk expenses. Andrew Miller, Polycom’s former CEO, traveled to Indonesia and South Africa with his girlfriend, took limousine rides, and purchased dress shirts,… Continue Reading