Since Merrick Garland took over the role of attorney general earlier this year, various officials at the Department of Justice have said they plan to step up enforcement against white-collar crimes. Recently, the agency provided some details.
At a recent symposium, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the Justice Department will pick up its efforts against both individuals and corporations suspected of various financial crimes. The number of federal prosecutions in white-collar crime cases have declined in recent years, but Monaco said there are good reasons for this to change. For one, she said, the global economy means that many financial crimes have international reach, and this means they can have a direct effect on national security.
Corporate and individual defendants
Among other moves, Monaco said the Justice Department will change the way it will hold corporations accountable for wrongdoing by their officers and employees. The DOJ will require much more extensive corporate disclosures regarding individual wrongdoing. Further, in considering corporate liability for white-collar crimes, it will look at not only the corporation’s past conduct in similar cases, but at the corporation’s past conduct as a whole. It will also move to appoint independent monitors to oversee corporations suspected of wrongdoing. In the past, such monitors had been rare.
According to some sources, the DOJ has already greatly increased its prosecution of money laundering charges. Observers expect a marked increase in other charges from the federal agency in the months and years ahead.
The new policies from the DOJ could mean big changes for corporations, their officers and their employees. Even those who have not been directly accused of wrongdoing will likely have to step up their own compliance and disclosure practices. Attracting attention from federal prosecutors tends to scare off business partners, investors and potential employees. And of course, for individuals who are accused of financial crimes, the consequences can be devastating.
State and federal prosecutors have enormous resources at their disposal when they charge a white-collar crime. Defendants need to be smart and strategic when defending their rights. That starts with seeking out help from a skilled attorney with experience in white-collar crime defense.