Latest from Grand Jury Target - Page 2

By Andrea L. Moseley There are very few sui generis innovators when it comes to alleged criminal schemes. Steve Bannon may be a headliner but he is no pioneer as he becomes the new government flagship for alleged donor fraud. In recent times, Southern District of New York (SDNY) prosecutors have made no secret about the Department of Justice’s intent to intensify its efforts to combat the abuse of vulnerable political donors. This summer I…
By Sara Kropf Many—perhaps most—of my clients who are targets of Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigations think the process is not fair. They are right. In an OIG investigation, the same entity is the investigator, the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury. There’s no separation of power. There’s no right to appeal. Once the findings are made, you are stuck with them forever. Let’s start with the basics: There is nothing illegal about this…
By Andrea L. Moseley Over the last few months, I have provided insight into how individuals and small businesses can mitigate risk related to pandemic fund fraud allegations. In this article, I will include an enhanced reference guide with five simple tips on how to protect your business if you have been the recipient of pandemic relief funds. First, I want you to be aware of some significant recent developments. On July 28, 2020 (cover…
By Sara Kropf Many of the clients we represent in Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigations are facing allegations that they violated federal ethics regulations or internal agency ethics rules. Here’s how it usually plays out. An OIG agent knocks on the employee’s door (yes, literally) and says they have a few questions about a potential conflict of interest. Thinking “oh, it’s just an ethics violation,” the employee agrees to the interview. In her mind,…
By Andrea L. Moseley If you applied for pandemic relief funds and your business is in Virginia, you should be aware that civil and criminal fraud investigations and prosecutions are going to intensify in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA).  Shown above, this geographic region includes the counties to the east of the red line.  Remember back in April, when the government vowed to audit any company that received more than $2 million in stimulus…
By Sara Kropf It’s July 2020. One day we’ll look back at this time with some perspective. We’ll tally with certainty how many people died from a pandemic that could undoubtedly been stopped sooner. We’ll evaluate whether the Black Lives Matters protests led to meaningful police reform. We’ll know if the voters made big changes in the November elections. For now, though, we’re in the thick of it. It’s a stressful time for everyone. I’ve…
By:  Andrea Moseley Your company applied for money under the terms of the CARES Act: Are you at risk of facing scrutiny from DoJ because of your application?  To understand the answer to this question, you must be aware of DoJ’s fleet-footed approach to snuffing out Paycheck Protection Program fraud (PPP).  As I recently noted here, trends have begun to emerge in the investigation and prosecution of PPP fraud.  Staying on top of these…
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…