Moving forward, the Justice Department will consider executive liability during every single federal investigation into corporate wrongdoing. This policy change became public during a Maryland conference on bribery and embezzlement. The new policy builds on the Obama administration's initiative to hold more individuals responsible for white-collar crime and insider trading. These announced changes may well affect the fate of criminal defendants in South Carolina.
According to Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein's announcement on Nov. 30, few future settlements will shield suspected executives from enforcement actions related to corporate crime. In recent years, the Justice Department has faced criticism for allegedly showing too much deference to company executives charged with tax fraud and related charges. The issue of white-collar crime charges is politically fraught. Though almost everyone agrees that identity theft and computer fraud are serious problems, opinions vary regarding how to conduct corporate law enforcement.
Critics doubt that fining companies usually provides enough motivation for reform in industries with widespread issues. Though the Justice Department has issued some record fines in the past few years, these fines remain low enough that major companies can pay restitution blithely and write off the expense as a cost of doing business.
At the same time, plenty of critics allege that prosecutors are often too invasive when involved in controversial investigations. Some legal commentators have stated that these changes to penalty guidelines are long on style and short on substance. According to this line of reasoning, whatever one's stance on corporate investigation, Rosenstein's announced changes are cosmetic and incremental.
From Ponzi scheme allegations to more common charges of fraud and copyright infringement, some types of white-collar crime investigations can end careers. When a person is facing alarming allegations of wrongdoing, contacting a qualified lawyer may help the defendant gain many legal insights. An experienced attorney may help reduce a client's uncertainty and inspire confidence.