DOJ “Yates Memo” and release of 20-year study of white collar prosecutions suggest major changes in the way white collar crime is prosecuted and defended.
Two separate news items, each released on Sept. 10, 2015, are well worth noting by all practitioners of white collar criminal defense, general counsel for corporations, business executives and employees and, indeed, the general public.
The first news item, which has received the most media attention, is the new Department of Justice memo titled, “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing.” The memo, authored by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates and addressed to all of the divisions of the U.S. Department of Justice as well as every U.S. Attorney in the nation, has received a great deal of media coverage (e.g., a front page article in the New York Times). The Yates Memo, as it will no doubt be known, seeks to do nothing less than redirect all federal prosecutors, civil and criminal, to focus their efforts to an unprecedented degree on individual corporate executives and employees.
Otherwise, a ruling on the field may be overturned
The “play” has become as familiar as a forward pass. If not careful, however, your play may draw a flag and penalty.
When faced with a scandal, public companies, colleges or universities, and even the NFL, all seem to execute the same play: They rush to solemnly assure the public of their determination to get to the bottom of the issue and uncover any and all wrongdoing. In the same vein, the entity usually further proclaims that it has retained outside counsel to promptly, thoroughly and independently investigate the matter.