Subject to Inquiry

Subject to Inquiry


Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Group

Category Archives: News

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CFPB, Enforcement Actions, Judgments, News

Here to Stay? Appellate Court Rejects Challenges to CFPB

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) authority. In Morgan Drexen, Inc. v. CFPB, Morgan Drexen, Inc., which licenses its proprietary software to law firms and provides “live paraprofessional and support services,” and one of its attorney customers,… Continue Reading
CFPB, Compliance, Financial Regulation, News, Regulation, Uncategorized


A recently released Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) plan meant to end “payday debt traps” is meeting serious criticism from industry experts who say the rule, as proposed, would seriously limit short-term borrowing options for American consumers. According to the CFPB, the proposed rulemaking would require lenders to take steps to ensure that consumers are… Continue Reading
CFPB, Compliance, Enforcement Actions, Financial Regulation, News

CFPB Fines Military Allotment Processor $3.1 Million

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a consent order with Fort Knox National Co. and its subsidiary Military Assistance Co. (MAC), alleging that the companies duped U.S. military service members into paying millions of dollars in hidden fees. Fort Knox National Co., through MAC, is one of the largest processors of military… Continue Reading
CFPB, Legislation, News, Regulation

Rogue Agency or Champion of Consumers? House Votes for CFPB Transparency

A common complaint against the CFPB is that the agency wields too much power without enough accountability. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling recently described the CFPB as “the single most powerful and least accountable Federal agency in all of Washington.” And as U.S. Senator David Perdue has complained, “the CFPB is a rogue agency… Continue Reading
DOJ Policy, Financial Crimes, News, Schemes, Sentencing, White Collar Crime

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
News, Uncategorized

SCOTUS Narrows SOX Obstruction Statute

In its recent ruling in Yates v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a conviction under Sarbanes-Oxley’s “anti-shredding” statute, holding that it covers documents, records and only “tangible objects” similar to them – and not, as in the case at hand, fish. The petitioner, a fisherman, faced a federal felony conviction for directing a… Continue Reading
Enforcement Actions, Financial Regulation, Judgments, News, SEC, SEC Enforcement, Securities Class Actions

Update: Second Circuit Vacates Judge Rakoff, Clarifies Standard of Review for Consent Decrees.

In a much anticipated decision, on June 4 the Second Circuit vacated District Court Judge Rakoff’s rejection of a consent judgment approving a $285 million settlement between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Citigroup. In 2011, the SEC alleged that Citigroup created and sold mortgage bond investments without disclosing that the people assembling… Continue Reading
Enforcement Actions, News, SEC, Securities Litigation

“Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys!” SEC Update on Technology and Enforcement

You may recall this line from the original Batman movie, where Jack Nicholson, playing the role of Joker/Jack Napier in a Golden Globe-nominated performance, shouted in awe at the various gadgets employed by the Caped Crusader. I am not suggesting that the SEC has a Batmobile or Batarang at its disposal, but comments made by… Continue Reading
Campaign Finance, Election Law, Export Controls, News

The Bedeviling Question of Willfulness in the Criminal Context

Courts have long struggled with interpreting (and thus instructing a jury on) the statutory element of willfulness. This frequently manifests in the challenge of expressing what level of knowledge the defendant must possess about the law he is accused of violating. Reflective of this challenge, courts have characterized the element of willfulness as “bedeviling,” turning… Continue Reading
Dodd-Frank, News, SEC, Whistleblowers

The 2013 Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program Annual Report

In November, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) released its 2013 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program (the “Report”). The Report details the number of whistleblower tips and complaints received and the amount of whistleblower awards made during fiscal year 2013.  Whistleblower Complaints and Tips FY 2013 According to the Report, the SEC… Continue Reading
Corporate Compliance, Enforcement Actions, News, White Collar Crime

Healthcare Executive Indicted for Alleged Cover-Up

A recent federal government indictment of a former executive for national hospital chain Health Management Associates (HMA) provides yet another example of the fact that a cover-up can lead to consequences as severe as the crime itself.  The indictment, which was unsealed November 26, charges the executive, who worked for HMA between 1994 and 2011,… Continue Reading
Anti-Corruption, Government Ethics, News

The IRS Scandal: What Next?

Well, this could be a huge development. Playing second fiddle to the recent IRS scandal involving how the agency mishandled applications from some right-leaning groups is the simple fact that the Service has historically offered little guidance on how it measures the primary purpose of such activities. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) had… Continue Reading
Government Ethics, Lobbying, News

This is the dawning of the age of disclosure?

 While Congress and the courts continue to struggle with how much disclosure should be required in our campaign finance system, a new front could be opening up – litigation.  Almost unnoticed by the main stream media, News Corp.’s proposed $139 million April 22 agreement to settle a shareholder derivative lawsuit included a clause that would… Continue Reading

Setencing Commission Amends Guidelines Applicable In Fraud Cases

The United States Sentencing Commission recently unveiled a number of key amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines regarding securities fraud, insider trading, and financial institution fraud.  According to a Commission news release, the amendments respond to Dodd-Frank Act directives instructing it to review and amend the guidelines’ application in fraud cases.  Judge Patti B. Saris,… Continue Reading

FEC Needs to Bolster Transparency in Enforcement Procedures

In advance of the run up to an historic hearing held by the House Administration Committee , the Political Law Group at McGuireWoods recently sent this letter  (click on Berke letter) to the Committee on House Administration.  As we stated in our letter,   we believe that more guidance is needed by the FEC to assist campaigns in complying with… Continue Reading

More Lobbying Reform on the Horizon?

If the ABA has its way, Congress will significantly reform the thresholds for lobbyist registration.  The ABA House of Delegates, acting on the recommendation of a special task force on lobbying reform, voted this week to support significant reforms.   A recent article in Roll Call took a good look at the issue, reporting: The ABA wants to… Continue Reading

A Change in Enforcement Policy or The Specter of an “Enemies’ List”?

A letter sent by Republican Senators to the Commissioner of the IRS questions the retroactive enforcement of the gift tax in a highly politicized environment noting that President “Obama and the White House have made it clear they view section 501(c)(4)s with deep hostility and that the (White House) Staff fear their ability to influence an election.” … Continue Reading
Anti-Corruption, Corporate Compliance, News

Welcome to the Permanent Campaign

After the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United, much of the debate focused upon how the ruling would open the door for more corporate and union political activity.  While no significant for profit corporate activity arose during the 2010 election cycle, there was an increase in political activity by corporate non-profits (and of course unions). … Continue Reading

FCIC to Release its Report on the Causes of the 2008 Financial Crisis

In May 2009, in the wake of the “Great Recession,” President Obama signed into law the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, which established the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.  According to the FCIC’s website, the Commission was created to “examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.” … Continue Reading