Subject to Inquiry

Subject to Inquiry

THE LATEST ON GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Group

Susan C. Rodriguez

Photo of Susan C. Rodriguez Susan, co-leader of the firm’s financial institutions industry team, primarily focuses on government investigations and complex civil litigation. She has defended clients in numerous government enforcement actions by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), among others. In addition to representing individuals and companies in federal and state court, Susan has experience in dealing with the financial services, communication, transportation, and defense industries. She has also represented individuals and companies in response to congressional inquiries and investigations.

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Proposed Federal Rule Signals Remote Form I-9 Inspection of Employee Documents Will Likely Become Permanent Option

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
On August 18, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Proposed Rule titled Optional Alternatives to the Physical Document Examination Associated With Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). The Proposed Rule would formalize the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to extend certain COVID-19 rules permitting remote inspection of employee documents presented for… Continue Reading

CFPB’s New Interest in Examining Fintechs is Likely to Mean More Naming and Shaming by the Agency

Financial Institution Regulation
On April 25, 2022, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will begin examining nonbank “covered persons” that it has determined pose risks to consumers. The CFPB has had this authority since its inception. The Dodd-Frank Act empowered the CFPB to examine this category of nonbanks, which might include fintech firms that are… Continue Reading

2021 Brought SEC Focus on Crypto Exchanges and Lending Platforms

Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities
This past year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission followed through on its commitment to aggressively enforce securities laws in digital assets markets. As a result, it sharpened its focus on cryptocurrency exchanges and lending products. Read on for an overview and analysis of SEC activity in cryptocurrency and what to expect in 2022. About… Continue Reading

Department of Justice Announces National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation
On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its plans for increased scrutiny of the cryptocurrency market with the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) to pursue criminal investigations and actions against cryptocurrency misuse. The NCET will focus on “crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and… Continue Reading

Income Share Agreements – Risks, Rewards, and Regulators

Financial Institution Regulation
An Income Share Agreement (ISA) is a contract in which a lender gives a student money for education, and in return, the student promises to pay the ISA-provider a fixed percentage of the student’s income for a set amount of time after graduation. The student may repay more or less than the amount received, depending… Continue Reading

CFPB’s “Change of Direction” After One Month: New Goals, More Attorneys

Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Securities and Commodities
In the month since he became Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, David Uejio has implemented a “change of direction” at the agency, making sweeping announcements on a weekly basis. Read our complete commentary on McGuireWoods’ Consumer FinSights blog, which assesses where the CFPB stands after the Biden administration’s first month and the likely… Continue Reading

FinCEN Rule Ends AML Program Exemption for Banks that Lack a Federal Regulator

Anti-Money Laundering
On September 15, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published a Final Rule bringing banks that lack a federal functional regulator further under its purview. The rule subjects these institutions to minimum standards for anti-money laundering (“AML”) requirements, including a BSA officer, AML policies and procedures, and regular employee training, among other obligations. It… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Determines Action to Rescind DACA was Arbitrary and Capricious

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) choice to rescind the immigration program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). The Court noted the question before it was not whether DHS may rescind DACA but rather, whether DHS followed proper procedure in rescinding the… Continue Reading

Congressional Investigations: A Month In, Congress Signals Close Scrutiny of CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program

Compliance
The CARES Act is only a month old, but plans for investigations to track the nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus relief funds are already emerging from Congress. Among the mechanisms for oversight created and funded by the CARES Act itself is the Congressional Oversight Commission, a five-member committee overseeing $500 billion in loans doled out… Continue Reading

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Issues Initial Guidance on Essential Workers, Sectors

Energy Enforcement, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
As many industries transition to alternate working arrangements in response to COVID-19, certain sectors and functions essential to the nation’s public health, safety and community well-being must continue to operate. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security recently released an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to help… Continue Reading

Employer Update: DHS Extends Temporary Protected Status and Work Authorization for El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 1, 2019, an extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for qualifying individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua. DHS also announced a nine-month automatic extension of these TPS beneficiaries’ Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), allowing beneficiaries to work in the United States until January 2,… Continue Reading

Congressional Investigations: Beyond Sensational Headlines — Incoming House Leaders Announce Broad Investigative Priorities Targeting Business Community

Election and Political Law, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
In the politically explosive atmosphere of Washington, the talk of the town is focused on congressional investigations: who will be called before Congress, and when. Newspaper headlines blare the latest controversy — from use of personal emails for government business, to numerous investigations alleging corruption of current and former government employees, including several cabinet secretaries,… Continue Reading

Increased Immigration Worksite Enforcement Looming in 2018

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
 The days of speculation may have ended. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) acting director recently made clear that Form I-9 audits and worksite enforcement actions will surge in the coming year. In line with the Trump Administration’s tough position on immigration and its budget requests, most employers have anticipated increased immigration-focused audits and enforcement actions.… Continue Reading

CFPB Issues Game-Changing Rule On Arbitration Clauses

Financial Institution Regulation
On Monday, July 10, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a game-changing final rule regarding the use of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.  The Rule is effective 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register and applies only to contracts entered into more than 180 days after that date.  The final rule… Continue Reading

H-1B Employers Face Increased Site Visits

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
Employers using the H-1B visa program should take note as additional site visits may be on the horizon.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), part of the Department of Homeland Security, recently announced a new targeted approach to detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse and increased site visits of H-1B employers. In selecting worksite visits,… Continue Reading

Big Changes Come With The New Form I-9 Published by USCIS

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has officially published the long awaited revised Form I-9.  The new Form I-9 and instructions can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. The clock is now ticking— While employers may begin using the new Form I-9 immediately, all employers are required to implement use of the newly revised Form I-9… Continue Reading

Increased Fines on the Horizon for Immigration Law Violations

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
The Department of Justice has raised the bar on penalties for violations of federal immigration law.  On June 30, 2016, DOJ issued an interim final rule that goes into effect on August 1, 2016.  This rule, implemented as an inflation adjustment, increases the fines for employing unauthorized workers, for Form I-9 paperwork violations, and for… Continue Reading

The Export/Immigration Dilemma: Don’t Let OSC Catch Your HR Department Unawares

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
On March 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) issued a carefully worded technical assistance letter addressing the complex interplay between U.S. immigration and export control laws in the context of hiring and applicant screening. Although it provides limited new guidance, OSC’s letter is a… Continue Reading

Buyer Beware: Noncompliant Electronic I-9 Software Risks Customer Company Fines

Compliance, Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
Electronic I-9 software can be very attractive to companies looking for efficiency and ensuring compliance. Not to mention the elimination of file drawers that once housed these voluminous paper I-9 files. However, buyers beware, not all electronic I-9 software meets the federal regulations’ requirements. And the problem for well-meaning companies: ICE will still hold the… Continue Reading

Oral Arguments in PHH Case Signal Trouble for CFPB

Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation
The D.C. Circuit held oral arguments on April 12, 2016 in the case PHH Corp v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a case challenging the CFPB’s constitutionality as well as its interpretations of the Real Estate Procedures Settlement Act (RESPA), including its view that no statute of limitations applies to RESPA violations challenged by the… Continue Reading

Conducting Internal I-9 Audits – ICE and DOJ-OSC Provide Joint Guidance

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
A company’s I-9 file, which often goes unnoticed by all but a few HR professionals, can carry significant risk.  Form I-9 files often serve as landmines for fines, penalties, and sanctions.  Companies can mitigate these risks by conducting periodic Form I-9 audits. This week, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of Homeland… Continue Reading

Proposed Changes to Form I-9 Create New Compliance Questions

Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation, Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
Employers take note: a new Form I-9 is in the making.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security, announced on November 24, 2015, that it is seeking public comment on the various proposed changes.  The proposed changes will have far-reaching impact because all employers are required to complete and… Continue Reading

CFPB’s Position on Confidential Supervisory Information

Financial Institution Regulation
Is your financial institution or company subject to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) supervision? If so, take note of a recent bulletin warning supervised entities – both banks and non-banks – about the treatment of confidential supervisory information. There are two main takeaways from the bulletin: Disclosure of confidential supervisory information (CSI) is prohibited,… Continue Reading

Higher Education Facing Scrutiny from CFPB

Financial Institution Regulation
Colleges, universities and anyone offering postsecondary education, take note: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) continues to target alleged unfair and deceptive practices related to the student loan and financial aid process. A few weeks ago, the CFPB filed suit against Corinthian Colleges in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging violations… Continue Reading

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