DOJ Unveils Enhanced White Collar Prosecution Focus at ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime

Recently, from March 2-4, almost 1,000 judges, federal prosecutors, federal public defenders, regulators, private practitioners, general counsel, and academics gathered in San Francisco for the 37th Annual American Bar Association National Institute on White Collar Crime. As the premier conference in the white collar legal space, assembling key stakeholders, it is unsurprising that both Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division Kenneth A. Polite Jr., chose the National Institute to unveil the Department of Justice’s prosecution initiatives for the Biden Administration. In keynote addresses, both AG Garland and Criminal Chief Polite made clear in their remarks that white collar prosecutions are their top priority. While the DOJ’s focus on such prosecutions waxes and wanes, AG Garland declared that it is indeed “waxing again,” with a Congressional budgetary request of $36.5 million to hire an additional 120 prosecutors and $325 million to fund more than 900 agents to combat pandemic-related fraud and to redouble efforts to prosecute white collar crime of all varieties.

These remarks came on the heels of Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco’s announcement at the National Institute in Miami in October (a rescheduling of the March 2021 Institute) of enhanced corporate enforcement policies. Both AG Garland and Criminal Chief Polite emphasized that prosecuting individuals remains DOJ’s top corporate enforcement priority and that going forward corporations involved in misconduct will not get credit for cooperation unless they report all individuals at every level in the company who are involved in the wrongdoing. 

There is little doubt that the Biden DOJ will aggressively investigate corporate fraud and prosecute corporate executives and employees involved in that fraud. Besides pandemic fraud, the AG and the Criminal Chief mentioned renewed efforts in Antitrust, Environmental, FCPA, program fraud, and cryptocurrency. When the Institute gathers again in March 2023, there will undoubtedly be an assessment as to whether white collar prosecutions have indeed increased.

Zuckerman Spaeder has been involved in the Institute since its first gathering in Miami in 1987. Four Zuckerman partners—Morris “Sandy” Weinberg, Aitan Goelman, Margarita O’Donnell, and Daniel Braun—participated as moderators or panelists. 

Information provided on InsightZS should not be considered legal advice and expressed views are those of the authors alone. Readers should seek specific legal guidance before acting in any particular circumstance.

Author(s)
Sandy Weinberg

Morris "Sandy" Weinberg Jr.
Partner
Email | +1 813.321.8200

Thumbnail

Sara Alpert Lawson
Partner
Email | +1 813.321.8204

As the regulatory and business environments in which our clients operate grow increasingly complex, we identify and offer perspectives on significant legal developments affecting businesses, organizations, and individuals. Each post aims to address timely issues and trends by evaluating impactful decisions, sharing observations of key enforcement changes, or distilling best practices drawn from experience. InsightZS also features personal interest pieces about the impact of our legal work in our communities and about associate life at Zuckerman Spaeder.

Information provided on InsightZS should not be considered legal advice and expressed views are those of the authors alone. Readers should seek specific legal guidance before acting in any particular circumstance.

Subscribe
Subscribe to receive blog updates via email