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By Sara Kropf In Part 1, we reviewed the various rules in place that require research institutions and individual researchers to disclose financial conflicts of interest (FCOIs)—particularly financial support from foreign sources. The Department of Justice is taking the FCOI rules seriously. Researchers and institutions should recognize that breaking the rules may not mean a slap on the wrist. The two possible outcomes are criminal charges (most likely wire fraud or federal program fraud)…
By Andrea L. Moseley As expected, fraud relating to the present COVID-19 pandemic is being prosecuted for the first time.  These crimes of opportunity were predictable and the Department of Justice has come to the table, loaded for bear.  Now, our white collar defense community must focus on how to provide the highest level of representation for those being investigated and/or prosecuted as a result of this new wave. Over two months ago, I began…
By: Sara Kropf We’ve written before (see here, here and here) about the dangers of committing research misconduct, particularly for research that uses federal funds. Now there’s a new danger. The federal government has recently started cracking down on institutions’ use of foreign funds for scientific research, when those funds are not disclosed to the federal government. The Justice Department’s crackdown creates a significant risk for universities and individual researchers alike. If you…
By Andrea L. Moseley The time to raise our hands and cast a vote in the general election is just a few short months away.  I am watching eagerly to see how DoJ proceeds with campaign election crime investigations and prosecutions arising from this election cycle.  I have been writing a series of blogs devoted to analyzing the defense and prosecution of so-called “Scam” PACs.  I am focused on this topic now because we are…
By: Sara Kropf One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind right now is when a vaccine for COVID-19 will be ready. A related question is whether anyone will develop an effective treatment for it. In the United States, vaccines and new drug treatments are approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Private industry, the government, and research institutions are hard at work on a vaccine. Developing and properly testing a vaccine…
Blog Post by Andrea L. Moseley This week the Grand Jury Target authors want to make sure you read an article about the law of conspiracy that is hot off the press.  You do not want to miss this timely article that lays out valuable defense strategies against the government’s crushing ability to use the flexibility of conspiracy law to prosecute white-collar crime. The authors include  Sarah M. Hall,  an experienced former federal prosecutor and…
By Sara Kropf On May 15, 2020, President Trump fired the State Department Inspector General and replaced him with a new Inspector General who has close ties to Vice President Mike Pence. Steven Linick had been the head of the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) since 2013. Is that legal? Yes. Is it a political move? Yes. Are OIGs political? That’s an open question. We represent targets of OIG investigations all the time;…
By Sara Kropf A few weeks ago, I suggested that there were four options for Judge Emmet Sullivan related to the government’s motion to dismiss the charges against Michael Flynn. At the end of the post, a little tongue in cheek, I noted that “[m]aybe, in his wisdom, he’ll figure out Option #5 to solve all of these problems.” Turns out, that’s what Judge Sullivan did—sort of. On May 13, 2020, Judge Sullivan appointed an…
by Andrea Moseley One of the most difficult things to do as a white-collar criminal defense attorney is defend a client against allegations in an area of the law that is vague. This is especially true when the prosecution of certain types of crime have little history or precedent. Since the federal prosecution of Scam PACs is a relatively new trend, I want to share with you what I have learned defending these cases. The…
By Sara Kropf On May 7, 2020, the Department of Justice moved to dismiss the false statement charge against former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn. This is a remarkable request for a couple of reasons. First, Flynn had already pleaded guilty to the crime. He stood in front of Judge Rudolph Contreras in December 2017 and admitted that he had committed this crime and that he was voluntarily pleading guilty to it. Indeed, he…