Corruption, Bribery, and Other Corporate Crimes
Possible instances of corruption, bribery, and other corporate crimes require an immediate and thorough investigation. All allegations must be conclusively confirmed or disproven, and appropriate remedial action must be taken promptly in order to protect the company against liability and other forms of harm.
Allegations of corruption, bribery, and other corporate crimes can wreak havoc on a business organization. From internal distrust and discord to public reputational damage which may be irreparable, the consequences of these kinds of allegations can be both swift and severe.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our corporate investigations services team represents companies in corruption, bribery and other corporate crime investigations nationwide. We represent companies and boards of directors in investigations targeting all types of federal criminal allegations, from insider trading to bribing public officials. We represent government contractors, healthcare providers, and other public and private companies in all industries, and we offer strategic and efficient representation focused on uncovering the truth so that our clients can move forward with practical solutions.
Federal Counsel for Companies Facing Corruption, Bribery, and Other Statutory Charges or Offenses
Our practice encompasses all matters pertaining to corrupt practices, bribery, and other federal statutory offenses. This includes investigations involving potential and alleged violations of laws such as, but not limited to:
- 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(1)(A) (the federal anti-bribery statutes)
- 18 U.S.C. § 1956 (the federal money laundering statute)
- Anti-Kickback Statute
- False Claims Act
- Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA)
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
- Internal Revenue Code (IRC)
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
- Securities Exchange Act of 1934
- Sherman Act
- Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA)
- Laws enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
We handle investigations into companies under these and other statutes targeting a broad range of potential offenses, including offenses committed against our clients as well as those committed by executives, employees, and other individuals purporting to act on behalf of our clients. We work with our clients’ in-house counsel and other appropriate stakeholders as necessary in order to uncover the evidence needed to confirm or disprove allegations of corporate crimes including:
- Accounting fraud
- Antitrust violations
- Campaign finance violations
- Corporate espionage and self-dealing
- Federal tax evasion and tax fraud
- Government procurement and contract fraud
- Government program fraud (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare fraud)
- Import-export violations
- Insider trading, tipping, and other securities-related crimes
- Misuse and misappropriation of corporate property
- Payment and receipt of illegal kickbacks
- Public corruption and bribery (including domestic and cross-border offenses)
In many cases, instances of corporate fraud and other corporate crimes will implicate multiple offenses under multiple federal statutes. With our attorneys’ vast experience in federal criminal matters – including prior experience working for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office – we are thoroughly knowledgeable about all of the potential implications of corporate criminal activity at the federal level. We can use this knowledge to ensure that all pertinent issues are uncovered during the investigative process and to help you carefully weigh your options moving forward.
Experienced Legal Representation Before, During, and After Corporate Criminal Investigations
While some company executives and board members will not learn of allegations of corporate fraud until they hear the allegations on the news, in many cases there will be warning signs that can be addressed prior to the commencement of a full-blown (and publicly-scrutinized) corporate investigation. At Oberheiden, P.C., we represent clients before, during, and after corporate criminal investigations, and we offer strategic and forward-thinking advice that is custom-tailored to each stage of the process.
1. Pre-Investigation Strategic Planning and Due Diligence
Prior to launching a corporate criminal investigation, strategic planning and due diligence will often be necessary in order to ensure that the scope of the investigation is appropriate and that the investigation can be conducted as efficiently and discretely as possible. Our lawyers work with in-house attorneys, executives, boards of directors, and other stakeholders as appropriate to plan ahead whenever possible. If you can have a strategic plan so that you are not reacting every step of the way, you can gain more control over the process and minimize the risk of unnecessary miscues and avoidable harm.
2. Corporate Criminal Investigations
When it is time to conduct a corporate investigation, we work diligently and with a laser focus on achieving our client’s desired result of a clear answer to whether or not a corporate crime has been committed. As independent counsel, we offer an unbiased perspective on all issues and evidence, and our only goal is to find the truth. Once we know what happened (or what hasn’t happened), then we turn our focus to helping our clients deal with any potential ramifications of their executives’ or other employees’ corporate misdeeds.
3. Post-Investigation Remedial Measures, Reporting, Compliance, and Enforcement
Unless the investigation conclusively establishes that no criminal acts have been committed, once the investigation is complete there is still work to do. In fact, in many respects, companies’ post-investigation efforts can be significantly more important than the investigation itself (although the importance of the investigation cannot be overstated). The responsive measures that are necessary following an investigation will be determined by the outcome of the investigation itself, and may include:
- Taking internal remedial and punitive measures
- Reporting or voluntarily self-disclosing the violation to appropriate federal authorities
- Updating the company’s compliance policies, procedures, and protocols
- Defending against a federal criminal investigation
Best Practices for Corporate Criminal Investigations: Seven Tips for Achieving a Positive Result
Regardless of the specific allegations (or potential allegations) involved, regardless of which federal agency (or agencies) might be teeing up their own investigation, and regardless of the amount of exposure your company is facing, there are a number of best practices that should be followed during corporate criminal investigations. Some of these best practices include:
- Protecting the Attorney-Client Privilege – Protecting the attorney-client privilege is critical in all matters that have potential implications for a company’s civil or criminal liability. The privilege must be preserved throughout the investigative process, and this requires a specific focus on avoiding inadvertent disclosures that could result in the privilege being deemed waived in its entirety.
- Conducting Witness Interviews – Conducting witness interviews during investigations is both an art and a science. During interviews, witnesses must not be provided any more information than is absolutely necessary. Interviews of witnesses who may also be implicated in the alleged criminal activity require additional precautions and considerations, and all witness interviews must be planned, structured, and executed with the specific goals of the investigation in mind.
- Uncovering and Preserving Documentary Evidence – Searches of employees’ computers, tablets, and phones require significant advance planning and preparation as well. Additionally, during a corporate investigation, automatic electronic records purges may need to be suspended, and personnel may need to be instructed not to delete or destroy potentially-relevant documentation. Here, too, extreme care must be taken to avoid unnecessarily disclosing information and raising questions internally.
- Entering into Joint Defense Agreements – A joint defense agreement allows two unrelated parties to communicate regarding a federal criminal matter without jeopardizing the attorney-client privilege or creating records that are subject to federal disclosure. While joint defense agreements can be effective – and necessary – tools in many cases, entering into a joint defense agreement is a matter that requires significant forethought and advance preparation.
- Documenting the Investigation Itself – In addition to collecting documentation for investigative purposes, during a corporate criminal investigation it is also necessary to document the investigation itself. In the event of civil litigation or federal enforcement action, being able to utilize this documentation to overcome questions regarding bias, conflicts of interest, and the sufficiency of the investigation can be vital.
- Looking Ahead at All Times – When conducting a corporate investigation, it is imperative never to operate in a vacuum. Those involved in the investigation should be looking forward at all times, contemplating next steps and evaluating the potential legal, financial, and practical ramifications of decisions made during the investigative process. If civil or criminal litigation appears likely, it may be necessary to take anticipatory defensive action in parallel with the investigation.
- Avoiding Miscues that Could Be Viewed as Complicity – Finally, when conducting a corporate criminal investigation, those involved must be careful to avoid miscues that could be viewed as complicity. The documentation prepared during the investigation should provide complete transparency, as inadequate documentation may be interpreted as an indication that certain steps were missed or certain information was overlooked. Ultimately, the goal of a corporate criminal investigation is to protect the company to the fullest extent possible, and this goal will not be achieved if oversights or mistakes create unnecessary exposure.
Speak with a Federal Attorney on Our Investigations Team at Oberheiden, P.C.
If you would like more information about our firm’s handling of targeting corruption, bribery, and other corporate crimes, we encourage you to get in touch. A senior attorney on our corporate investigations team will be happy to speak with you in confidence. For a free initial consultation, call 888-680-1745 or inquire online now.