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Kate Rumsey is special counsel in the Governmental Practice Group in the firm's Dallas office. Kate is a former federal prosecutor and experienced trial lawyer.

While most legal conferences may not be newsworthy, the American Bar Association’s National Institute on White Collar Crime is an exception. Indeed, the federal government’s chief law enforcers seem to treat this particular conference like tech companies treat industry conventions or product launches: a one-stop press tour/coming-out party held to unveil their next big initiative or program in the presence of hundreds of eager and invested onlookers. In this case, though, the onlookers just happen to be members of the national white collar defense bar.Continue Reading DOJ Pilot Program for Whistleblower Rewards: The Latest Unveiling from the ABA’s National Institute on White Collar Crime

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

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

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week the advent of a new safe harbor for companies that discover wrongdoing by the acquired business in the course of an M&A transaction. Buyers hoping to take advantage of this avenue for leniency would be well-advised to conduct thorough diligence and act quickly to report any wrongdoing they uncover, as the potential upsides for those who do so may be considerable in light of the DOJ’s new policy.Continue Reading DOJ Announces Mergers & Acquisitions Safe Harbor Policy

The Department of Justice’s recent criminal self-reporting policy changes are beginning to show results, according to Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. Speaking at the New York City Bar Association’s White Collar Conference on May 24, Polite said that prosecutors are seeing an uptick in corporate self-reporting.Continue Reading DOJ Touts Emerging Results from New Corporate Crime Self-Reporting Initiatives

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 June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that the scienter element of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) is met if a defendant subjectively knew his or her claims were false and submitted them anyway. See United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc. and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway. The Court’s ruling was narrow and avoided the more challenging—and common—issues raised during oral argument (which we blogged about previously).Continue Reading Supreme Court Clarifies that Subjective (Not Objective) Knowledge of Falsity of Claim Dictates False Claims Act Liability

Over the last several years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) have been laser-focused on the use of so called “off-channel communications” in the financial services industry. On the theory that employees’ use of personal devices to communicate about business matters violates the “books and records” rules as these communications are not saved in company systems, regulators have conducted intrusive and extensive investigations requiring employees to turn over their personal devices for review. SEC Chairperson Gary Gensler recently stated that “bookkeeping sweeps are ongoing,” having resulted in well over $1 billion in fines so far. While the first round of investigations focused on the large banks, this “sweep” has since spread to hedge funds, credit rating agencies, online banking platforms, and now, to regional banks.Continue Reading SEC Off-Channel Communications Sweep

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