The head of the United States Department of Justice criminal division held a conference for criminal defense lawyers at which he explained the new tools the federal government was using to fight white-collar crimes such as fraud. Larry Breuer used the example of the recent investigation and prosecution regarding the Galleon hedge fund insider trading case and another case where 22 people were charged under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"). While white collar crimes are usually prosecuted under federal statutes such a racketeering, wire fraud, and mail fraud, the new case being prosecuted under FCPA is uncommon. According to Breuer, Federal investigators made the cases through the use of wire taps and undercover agents.
Breuer told the lawyers at the conference that, "Taken together, these cases reflect a new chapter in white-collar criminal enforcement...out are the days of resting easy in the belief that only self-reporting or tipsters will bring criminality to light." He promised a more innovative and proactive approach to investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes. The recent FCPA case brought by the federal government is the largest case ever prosecuted under that particular statute. The statute criminalizes conduct where individuals pay bribes to solicit business from overseas. Not only did Breuer promise a proactive approach, but also encouraged businesses to police themselves by reporting criminal violations they discover on their own.
Other examples cited at the conference regarding the Justice Department's new policy included the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, as well as, the Mortgage Fraud Task Force. Breuer boasted that since the inception of the healthcare fraud investigative tool, 300 hundred people have been arrested for their involvement in approximately 200 cases. The value of the losses suffered by the federal healthcare system added up to approximately $860 million. The Medicare Strike Force now operates in the following cities; Miami, Tampa, New York, Detroit, Houston and Baton Rouge. The Mortgage Fraud Task Force is also implementing new and innovative techniques to combat real estate/mortgage fraud.
Breuer also told the attorneys in attendance that the Justice Department was reorganizing all of its fraud divisions in an effort to achieve "firm and fair" justice. The department is also lobbying for changes in the sentencing guidelines involving fraud to help eliminate the great sentencing disparities that exist for white-collar crimes. Whether the new pro-active approach taken by the Justice Department leads to more prosecutable fraud cases will be determined over time. If you or a loved on is being investigated by federal investigators or have been charged in federal court regarding a fraud case, seek the services of an experienced criminal law firm to defend and protect your rights. Never speak with anyone regarding a fraud crime unless you are represented by counsel.
U.S. Top Cop Say Justice Department Using New Tools, Reuters, February 26, 2010.