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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Discusses a Reexamination of DOJ Corporate Compliance and Enforcement Policies

On Oct. 6, 2017, during a speech at New York University School of Law, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explained the Department of Justice (DOJ) is reexamining current DOJ policy as part of an effort to streamline and centralize internal guidance. As of now, DOJ policies span multiple sources, including internal manuals, memoranda, speeches and articles interpreting policies. DOJ is in the process of collecting outstanding policy from these disparate sources to incorporate them, where appropriate, into the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual, the primary reference document for all DOJ prosecutors and agents. As part of this process, old policies will be reviewed and recommendations will be made on how policy may be improved.

Rosenstein did not directly announce any policy changes in his speech. However, Rosenstein stated any changes to corporate compliance and enforcement policy will reflect input from stakeholders inside and outside the DOJ and be guided by the following principles:

First, any changes will reflect [a] resolve to hold individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing.

Second, [policy changes] will affirm that the government should not use criminal authority unfairly to extract civil payments.

Third, any changes will make the policy more clear and more concise.

In addition to refining policies and making them easier for DOJ personnel to find, Rosenstein revealed several efforts being undertaken to enhance DOJ’s training and culture. First, DOJ will improve its training for prosecutors and agents on corporate fraud and the prosecution of culpable individuals. Next, DOJ is establishing a “working group” to “evaluate and monitor” DOJ’s “long-term effectiveness in promoting individual accountability and deterring fraud.” Finally, DOJ will review current practices regarding “corporate monitors, the [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] Pilot Program, corporate investigation training programs, and the mandate of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.” Rosenstein invited comment from the public on these topics and on how to encourage public-private cooperation in fighting crime, particularly cybercrime.

Rosenstein made repeated reference to the belief deterrence requires enforcement through penalties decision-makers are unwilling to pay. Should this perspective shape any substantive changes to corporate policy, corporate observers should likely expect an emphasis on individual deterrence and incentives to companies to develop and enforce internal compliance programs.

© 2020 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 296


About this Author

D Michael Crites, white collar criminal defense lawyer, Dinsmore Shohl, law firm

D. Michael Crites’ practice focuses exclusively on white collar criminal defense and complex business litigation. As the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, he has years of grand jury and litigation experience in federal court and regularly litigates and negotiates global settlements of criminal, civil and regulatory matters on behalf of corporations and businesses throughout the United States. He also serves as Special Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General.

MIchael Ferrara, Dinsmore, trial and appellate lawyer, litigation, white collar crime, false crimes act, Columbus, Ohio, Government investigations,

Michael is a former federal prosecutor and experienced trial and appellate lawyer who focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations and False Claims Act litigation as a member of Dinsmore’s Litigation practice group. Prior to joining Dinsmore, he spent a decade as an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, where he served as the deputy chief of the narcotics section and lead attorney of a strike force which targeted organized crime for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. In these roles, Michael handled and oversaw complex fraud matters and managed the office’s international money laundering and cartel prosecutions, leading teams of lawyers and investigators in years-long investigations of multi-billion dollar criminal enterprises.

In his time as a federal prosecutor, Michael gained substantial experience in litigation, trials and appellate work throughout the country, including the investigation and prosecution of a cyber-fraud organization which defrauded more than one million victims of over $100 million, criminal fraud matters related to parallel False Claims Act proceedings, and the prosecution of the leadership structure of the Sinaloa Cartel. He built his reputation as a respected, hands-on investigator by working with a wide variety of federal, state and foreign investigative and regulatory authorities. He successfully briefed and argued cases to the Seventh and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeals, including matters of the First Amendment and complex evidentiary and federal sentencing guidelines issues.

He knows what clients facing investigations, subpoenas, trials and appeals should expect. He guides them through each process step by step, ensuring they know what to expect and counseling them on the best way to proceed along the way.

He is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, where he also served as an adjunct professor for more than a decade. Earlier in his career, Michael was local prosecutor in Chicago, where he specialized in forensic sciences while assigned as an assistant state’s attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office’s cold case homicide unit.

Mathew G Drocton, litigation, commercial litigation, Dinsmore, Columbus, Ohio, Honorable John J McConnell

Mathew is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department, where he focuses his practice on commercial litigation.

Prior to joining Dinsmore, he began his career working in complex commercial litigation for an Am Law 200 firm in Columbus. He also clerked for the Honorable John J. McConnell on the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.