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Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Group

Category Archives: Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

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Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

The Tip of the Iceberg Emerges: Initial Wave of Class Actions Reflect How Private Causes of Action Will Add Significantly to Price Gouging Litigation

As pandemic response task forces at the federal and state levels ramp up price gouging investigations and enforcement actions across the country, civil plaintiffs attorneys have jumped to the forefront by utilizing private causes of action to file price gouging-based class action lawsuits against dozens of major retailers and food supply companies.   Senate Majority Leader… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Price Gouging Investigations Are Coming: What Industry Needs to Understand

Update: please see our May 14 post for information on private causes of action to file a series of price gouging-based class action lawsuits against several dozen major retailers and food supply companies. In response to the national coronavirus health crisis, federal and state Attorneys General have elevated the investigation and prosecution of COVID-19-related crime,… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

SEC Enforcement Co-Directors Issue Statement on Insider Trading

Under the leadership of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement has made the protection of Main Street investors its overarching priority.  On March 23, 2020, Division of Enforcement Co-Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin issued a statement to financial market participants re-emphasizing the SEC’s commitment to safeguard the… Continue Reading
Energy Enforcement, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

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

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
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

SEC Continues Compensation Disclosure Focus With FAQs and Enforcement

On Oct. 18, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Investment Management staff published Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Disclosure of Certain Financial Conflicts Related to Investment Adviser Compensation (FAQs). Many in the industry view the FAQs as overdue SEC guidance in an area that has been a focus of the SEC Division of… Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Suspicious Activity Monitoring and Reporting – FINRA Issues Notice Consolidating Governmental and Regulatory “Red Flag” Guidance

Enforcement actions sanctioning firms and, in a few cases, individuals for failing to investigate and report suspicious activity have been significantly on the rise. SEC, FinCEN, FINRA, and others have been active in this area, particularly with regard to trading at, by, or through the financial institution.  One critical component of a financial institution’s ability… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Key Lessons for Colleges and Universities from Operation Varsity Blues

On March 12, 2019, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced federal criminal charges in “Operation Varsity Blues,” the largest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Fifty people have been charged for their involvement in what prosecutors describe as a nationwide conspiracy to get the children of… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

SEC Charges Its First Robo Actions – Increasing Scrutiny of the Investment Platform

It was never a question of if, but rather, when the Securities and Exchange Commission would launch its first charges against robo-advisors and what those charges would be. Following then-SEC Chairperson, Mary Jo White’s keynote address at the SEC-Rock Center on Corporate Governance in 2016, regulators have been carefully monitoring robo-advisors’ compliance with the Investment… Continue Reading
Election and Political Law, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

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

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
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

DOJ Loosens Yates Memo Requirements For Corporate Cooperation Credit

Yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced a series of changes to Department of Justice (DOJ) policy that clarified DOJ’s expectations for cooperation in investigations of corporate wrongdoing. The changes are sensible and should be welcomed by the business community as an improvement over the prior policy, commonly known as the Yates Memo. As Rosenstein… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Mulvaney’s First New Enforcement Action Continues Focus on Asset-Advance Firms

In the latest sign of regulatory scrutiny of asset-advance companies offering consumers what regulators believe are in fact regulated “credit” under federal law and “loans” under state law, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) filed its first new lawsuit under Acting Director Mulvaney last Thursday. The complaint, filed in the Central District of California,… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Supreme Court Narrows Ability to Recover Internal Investigation Costs

In January, this blog previewed the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in Lagos v. United States to resolve a circuit split regarding whether companies could recover costs of internal investigations under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA). At the end of May, the Court issued a unanimous opinion sharply curtailing the ability to recover such… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

State Regulators Announce Cryptocurrency Crackdown

On May 21, the North American Securities Administrators Association (“NASAA”) announced a massive and coordinated series of enforcement actions by U.S. state and Canadian provincial regulators to combat fraudulent practices involving cryptocurrency-related investment products. As cryptocurrencies have gained in popularity, companies have increasingly turned to a method known as an initial coin offering (“ICO”) to… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Series of DOJ Enforcement Policy Announcements Provides Promising Guidance

In a series of key policy announcements between November 2017 and May 2018, the Department of Justice has demonstrated an increasingly coherent perspective on how it will handle key aspects of white collar criminal enforcement. The policies largely reiterate a message federal prosecutors have delivered for years regarding what they want to see from companies… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Senate Votes to Strike Down Key CFPB Bulletin on Lending Discrimination in the Indirect Auto Market

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted almost entirely along party lines to invalidate, under the Congressional Review Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) (in)famous 2013 Bulletin on lending discrimination in the indirect auto market via discretionary mark-ups and dealer compensation policies.  The 2013 Bulletin, construing the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and its implementing rule,… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

Does United States v. Ying Expand the Knowledge Requirement for “Classical” Insider Trading?

On March 14, 2018, the SEC and DOJ sued Jun Ying, a former Chief Information Officer within an Equifax Inc. business unit, for insider trading. Specifically, they accused him of knowing about a significant Equifax data breach prior to its public disclosure and, while in possession of that material nonpublic information, exercising his Equifax options… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Supreme Court Holds DOJ’s Feet to the Fire in Tax Crime Case

In Marinello v. United States, an opinion released yesterday, the Supreme Court adopted a narrowing interpretation of the tax code’s broadest criminal provision, the “tax obstruction” statute 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a).  The Court’s opinion is good news for taxpayers, their advisors, and the sound administration of the law. Marinello concerned whether the crime of “corruptly… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

SEC Launches Self-Reporting Initiative for Investment Advisers

In line with Chairman Jay Clayton’s oft-stated priority of protecting the long-term interests of Main Street investors, on Feb. 12, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement announced the launch of a new self-reporting initiative for investment advisers. This new initiative — the Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative — aims to address undisclosed… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

DOJ Memorandum Sets Out FCA Dismissal Factors

A January 10 internal memorandum from the director of the fraud section of the DOJ’s civil division commercial litigation branch, which has recently become public, sets out the factors the government should consider in dismissing False Claims Act (FCA) cases in which it has declined to intervene, and may suggest a greater possibility that the… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

Supreme Court to Review Reimbursements for Internal Investigation Costs

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court agreed to resolve a circuit split over when the costs of an internal investigation can be recovered under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA). The MVRA, which requires convicted criminals to reimburse their victims, can play a meaningful role in helping corporations defray some of the costs incurred to… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Beware What You Share: Privilege Waiver Risks in Investigations

In responding to regulatory and government investigations, firms are often faced with the question of how to balance the desire to cooperate with the need to preserve privilege over an internal investigation.  Financial institutions face this question additionally in their reporting requirements to regulators, including Form U-5 filings and Suspicious Activity Reports.  Two recent decisions… Continue Reading

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