Oct 28, 2021 - Economy

Justice Department promises tougher stance on corporate crime

Lisa Monaco, deputy U.S. attorney general

Deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department announced a series of new measures Thursday aimed at combatting corporate crime.

Why it matters: In remarks delivered Thursday, deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco noted that corporate crime has an "increasing national security dimension," due to the proliferation of cyber vulnerabilities and cases involving sanctions or export controls.

  • Corporate crime has also gained new attention recently as the Theranos trial continues.

The big picture: The Justice Department is changing a practice that gave companies "cooperation credit" for identifying individuals they deem "substantially involved" with misconduct. Now corporations will be required to identify all individuals involved, regardless of their status or seniority.

  • The department will also seek to look at companies' full range of prior misconduct when making enforcement decisions in cases, shifting away from a prior policy that examined only actions of similar misconduct.
  • "That record of misconduct speaks directly to a company’s overall commitment to compliance programs and the appropriate culture to disincentivize criminal activity," Monaco noted.
  • The department will also increase its use of independent monitors to ensure that companies that have been involved in misconduct cases are making the necessary changes to meet compliance obligations.

What they're saying: "[C]orporate culture matters. A corporate culture that fails to hold individuals accountable, or fails to invest in compliance — or worse, that thumbs its nose at compliance — leads to bad results," Monaco said.

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