Most of the high-profile prosecutions that make the news involve an individual committing some kind of heinous criminal act. However, there is little question that businesses and corporations also break the law on a regular basis, even if corporate prosecution doesn’t make the news as often.
Recently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced changes to the way it handles corporate criminal enforcement. Understanding what changes the DOJ announced regarding its investigation into and prosecution of corporate crimes can help you understand what the consequences might be for your business.
There are now increased transparency requirements
For several years, the DOJ standard for business cooperation with an investigation was the provision of non-privileged information about individuals substantially involved in corporate misconduct.
However, the new standard is for businesses to provide all non-privileged information on all employees involved in alleged misconduct. How long they have worked for the company, their position there or their degree of involvement in the misconduct does not influence the release of records regarding that individual.
Previous misconduct can influence the prosecutor
Typically, prosecutors have to only look at related misconduct and criminal offenses when making decisions about how to address alleged criminal behavior. However, the DOJ now mandates that prosecutors consider a company’s history of misconduct as relevant even if it is unrelated.
Previous misconduct involving other states or even other countries could now play a role in the prosecution of a current issue with the business. In some cases, this approach might result in more serious charges or more serious criminal consequences.
Assigning independent corporate monitors is now easier
Historically, the DOJ has limited the ability of prosecutors to require an independent corporate monitor to oversee a business’s activities. Only in situations involving a clear need and an obvious benefit to imposing a corporate monitor was the option even considered.
However, prosecutors can now push for independent corporate monitors in any situation where it is appropriate for them to do so. This will greatly improve the ability of prosecutors to ensure that businesses comply with the law.
These changes combined signify that corporate misconduct will be a major policy priority in upcoming years. Learning more about what happens during a corporate prosecution can help you protect yourself and your company.