Written by Paul Desmond in the key of E-flat minor and performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet using a funky quintuple (5/4) time, “Take Five” is and was the biggest selling jazz single of all time. But it is also slang for exercising one’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Because many civil lawyers ask when and how to invoke the privilege, we thought we would take a stab at answering some of the not-so-obvious questions that often arise.Continue Reading “Take Five” – A Guide to Invoking the Fifth Amendment in Civil Cases
Bill Mateja is a partner in the White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Practice Group in the firm's Dallas office.
An official from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced the DOJ’s plans to “substantially” add to its current roster of 75 prosecutors specializing in healthcare fraud. On November 7, John “Fritz” Scanlon, assistant chief of the DOJ’s criminal division, fraud section, who spoke at a Healthcare Compliance Association conference in Washington, D.C., stated that the 75 prosecutors are distributed among seven strike forces across the U.S. The DOJ uses nine interagency strike force teams to root out alleged fraudulent activities, particularly focusing on Federal healthcare program fraud and abuse. These teams are spread throughout the country, focusing on regions in the U.S. like Florida and Texas, but several strike force teams also specialize in certain subject matters.Continue Reading Increased Enforcement in Healthcare? DOJ to Add More Prosecutors
In a huge victory for white collar defendants and lawyers alike, the US Sentencing Commission (the “Commission”) recently announced several key amendments to existing federal sentencing guidelines will be effective November 1, 2023. Two of the most significant amendments relate to (1) zero-point offenders and (2) withholding points for acceptance of responsibility.Continue Reading Good News for White Collar Defendants and Their Lawyers – Recent Changes to the Sentencing Guidelines
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that the aggravated identity theft statute –and its mandatory minimum of two years – is not triggered merely because someone else’s identification facilitates or furthers the offense in some way. See Dubin v. United States. We have seen a growing trend of the government adding aggravated identity theft in healthcare fraud cases. As a result of this decision, we may see that statute far less.Continue Reading Is this “Good-Bye” to the Two Year Mandatory Minimum in Healthcare Fraud Cases?
On February 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new nation-wide policy to incentivize companies to self-report criminal activity. Among the cited benefits of self-reporting are discounts on fines and non-prosecution agreements. This new policy arrives on the heels of the “Monaco Memo,” issued in September 2022 by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, which directed each prosecutorial DOJ component to review its policies on corporate voluntary self-disclosures and update to reflect the guidance’s core principles. The policy also is in addition to guidance from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who in December 2022 emphasized prosecutorial leniency in criminal cases. Together, these memos show a shift from prior administrations, which emphasized prosecuting the “most serious, readily provable offense,” not leniency for self-disclosures. Notably, the new policy does not impact individual actors, who, since the 2015 Yates Memo, still are a DOJ priority. Indeed, the new policy emphasizes that crediting voluntary self-disclosure by companies will help DOJ “ensure individual accountability” for individual criminal conduct. We break down key elements of the DOJ’s policy below, including our quick thoughts on how this policy may impact corporate decisions going forward.Continue Reading Corporate Voluntary Self-Disclosure (VSD) of Criminal Activity: More of the Same or a Real Sea Change?
Over the last year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has been laser-focused on the use of personal devices by employees of the large Wall Street banks to conduct company business. The SEC’s investigations have focused on whether the banks complied with the “books and records” requirement that they preserve all communications that relate to Company business. The SEC has asserted that certain “off-channel” business communications not captured in company systems run afoul of this basic record keeping requirement. Not surprisingly, during the pandemic and with the increase in remote work, the SEC has determined that violations have been widespread. Continue Reading SEC Shifts Focus on Employees’ Off-Channel Business Communications to Investment Advisers