White Collar Law & Investigations

The Foley Hoag White Collar Law & Investigations blog addresses the developing regulatory environment that confronts businesses and individuals in virtually any industry.  Whether federal or state investigations, enforcement actions, changing enforcement priorities, criminal prosecutions or related civil proceedings, the White Collar Law & Investigations blog will provide regular coverage and updates that draw on the deep experience of Foley Hoag’s White Collar Crime & Government Investigations practice.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts is ramping up its effort to combat fraud related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) through an agreement to work with the Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (“SIGPR”), an office established by the CARES Act to audit and investigate loans and investments made under the CARES Act. The two offices entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to cooperate on…
In 2012, New England Compounding Center (“NECC”) shipped contaminated anti-pain medication to hospitals and clinics around the country, with devastating consequences. Patients around the country developed fungal meningitis and spinal and paraspinal infections. At least 63 died, and nearly 700 more suffered debilitating injuries. In opinions issued on July 9, 2020, the First Circuit addressed—and, for the most part, rejected—efforts by NECC’s owner and chief pharmacist to vacate their convictions and set aside the lengthy…
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month in Liu v. SEC raises the question of whether disgorgement payments in SEC enforcement actions should now be deductible for federal income tax purposes.  The Court held that a disgorgement award that does not exceed a wrongdoer’s net profits and is ordered for the benefit of victims is equitable relief, and therefore available to the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act.  Thus, for purposes of the SEC’s remedial…
The Supreme Court in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau held that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) violated the separation of powers, but stopped short of finding the entire agency unconstitutional and instead held the CFPB could live on with a director who was removable at will by the President. The Court reasoned that the CFPB’s “unique structure” was unconstitutional because the agency was “vested with significant executive power”…
Last week, the Supreme Court decided in Liu v. SEC that the SEC may continue to seek disgorgement in judicial proceedings as a form of equitable relief under the Securities Exchange Act.  A ruling to the contrary would have deprived the SEC of its most significant tool, in dollar terms, for obtaining monetary relief.  Although the decision preserves the SEC’s disgorgement power, it restricts how courts may disgorge ill-gotten gains in three ways: in general,…
Earlier this month, the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance.  In considering enforcement actions against companies, prosecutors use the guidance to assist in evaluating (1) the form of any resolution or prosecution, (2) the amount of a monetary penalty, if any, and (3) whether to impose compliance obligations, such as a monitor or reporting requirements.  The guidance thus provides valuable insight into the…
Following up on previous guidance, Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC Division of Enforcement (“Enforcement”), provided updated detail on Enforcement’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a virtual keynote address last month at the Securities Enforcement Forum West 2020.  (We discussed Enforcement’s prior statements here and here.)  In his remarks, Peikin affirmed that Enforcement will continue to prioritize COVID-19-related fraud – in particular, microcap fraud, insider trading and market manipulation, and false or misleading…
In the past two weeks, the federal government has charged several individuals in Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud schemes.  The allegations have ranged from applying for loans for non-operating businesses to using loan funds to buy cars and jewelry.  Charges announced this week showed a whole new level of creativity.  A Texas man, Samuel Yates, allegedly used an online name generator to make up the names of hundreds of employees in an effort to…
In yet another sign that the federal government is following through on its warnings about PPP loan fraud, the Department of Justice, according to reports from Reuters, has issued grand jury subpoenas to several Wall Street banks related to an investigation into PPP loans.  The subpoenas were reportedly issued by the DOJ’s Fraud Section.  The issuance of the subpoenas does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing by the banks.  The government frequently issues subpoenas to both…