DOJ Compliance Programs & Counsel
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is heavily involved in many areas of compliance enforcement. If your company or practice is subject to federal oversight, you need to prioritize compliance, and you need to be prepared for the possibility of a DOJ investigation.
As the nation’s top law enforcement agency, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is heavily involved in the enforcement of company’s federal compliance obligations. The DOJ conducts, oversees, and participates in investigations targeting an extraordinarily broad range of statutory and regulatory offenses, and these investigations can present substantial risks for companies, their directors, and their executives.
At Oberheiden P.C., we represent companies, practices, and individuals nationwide with respect to DOJ compliance, investigations, and defense. Several of our lawyers previously served as white-collar prosecutors with the DOJ and various U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country. We also utilize the services of consultants who previously served as senior agents with the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and other federal law enforcement offices and agencies. We help our clients implement comprehensive and effective DOJ compliance programs, and we provide effective defense representation for DOJ investigations and prosecutions.
7 Key Areas of Concern for DOJ Compliance
Due to the breadth of the DOJ’s federal enforcement jurisdiction, DOJ compliance requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on each individual company’s or practice’s specific compliance obligations. While the DOJ investigates and prosecutes all types of federal statutory and regulatory offenses, in recent years it has focused its efforts in several key areas. These key areas include:
- Antitrust and Securities Law Compliance – The federal antitrust and securities laws establish compliance obligations for public and private companies of all sizes. When engaging in commercial activities, pursuing mergers and acquisitions, and seeking outside investment, companies must be extremely careful to ensure compliance with all pertinent federal laws.
- Data Security and Consumer Fraud Compliance – Data security, particularly with regard to individuals’ personally identifying information (PII), and consumer fraud compliance are long-standing enforcement priorities for the DOJ as well. Companies must ensure not only that they have adequate protections in place to prevent security breaches and avoid unlawful practices, but they must be prepared to respond promptly when issues arise as well.
- Federal Contract and Program Compliance – Federal contract fraud and federal program fraud are serious offenses that can lead to civil or criminal prosecution by the DOJ. The DOJ enforces companies obligations under all types of federal contracts and programs, including both foundational programs such as Medicare and special-purpose programs such as the recent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Compliance – FCPA compliance is an area that has taken on heightened importance in recent years. With the growth of the global economy, more companies are finding themselves subject to the FCPA, and those that fail to timely adopt FCPA compliance programs are increasingly finding themselves under DOJ scrutiny.
- Financial Transactions, Tax, and Cryptocurrency Compliance – Financial transactions (particularly those involving foreign entities), federal tax violations, and cryptocurrency transactions are also high on the DOJ’s list of enforcement priorities. Not only are these areas that are subject to extensive compliance obligations, but they can have potential national security implications as well.
- National Security Compliance – Importing, exporting, foreign government contracting, and various other business activities can also have national security implications; and, any time national security is at issue, the DOJ is going to take notice. For companies and institutions that engage in business activities with national security implications, national security compliance needs to be a priority.
- Political Law and Campaign Finance Compliance – The events surrounding the 2020 Presidential election have brought political law and campaign finance compliance to the forefront. The DOJ is heavily involved in the oversight of our election system and the enforcement of our nation’s political laws, and compliance violations can have significant consequences.
- Industry–Specific Compliance – In addition to the areas listed above (among others), the DOJ also enforces various types of industry-specific compliance obligations. Health care compliance has been a particular focus in recent years, although companies in other industries can face heavy DOJ oversight as well.
Compliance with DOJ Target Letters, Search Warrants, and Subpoenas
In addition to statutory and regulatory compliance, another key aspect of DOJ compliance involves how companies, practices, and individuals respond to DOJ inquiries. If you receive a DOJ target letter, search warrant, or subpoena (either in your individual capacity or on behalf of your company), responding appropriately will be critical to mitigating any potential exposure to civil liability or criminal prosecution.
Have you been contacted by the DOJ? If so, learn what you need to know about submitting a compliant response:
Corporate Defense for DOJ Investigations
While DOJ compliance is a major part of our practice, it is far from all we do. Our lawyers also routinely represent companies, practices, and individuals in DOJ investigations targeting all types of alleged compliance failures.
Once we are engaged, we immediately make contact with the DOJ agents and prosecutors handling the investigation, and we work quickly to gather the information we need in order to develop and execute a targeted defense strategy. When handling DOJ investigations, our primary focus is on resolving the investigation as efficiently and favorably as possible without formal charges being filed.
Corporate Defense for DOJ Charges
Our lawyers also have extensive experience on both sides of federal cases involving civil and criminal charges filed by the DOJ. If you are facing a federal grand jury indictment, or if you have already been charged with a civil or criminal offense, we will begin working immediately to build a defense strategy that protects you and your company by all means available.
In many cases, once charges have been filed, it will make sense to negotiate a plea deal with the DOJ. However, this is not necessarily the best option, and you should not assume that a plea deal is your only option for avoiding the risk of a guilty verdict at trial. Our lawyers have dismissed grand jury indictments, and we have secured “not guilty” verdicts in cases involving extremely high stakes—and we rely on this experience to provide effective DOJ defense.
FAQs: What Do Companies, Practices, and Individuals Need to Know about DOJ Compliance, Investigations, and Defense?
Q: What are the steps involved in establishing DOJ compliance?
The first step toward establishing DOJ compliance is to gain a clear understanding of the full scope of your company’s or practice’s compliance obligations. Once you know where your company’s or practice’s risks lie, you can then shift your focus toward mitigating these risks through the implementation of policies and procedures, employee training, and other custom-tailored compliance measures.
Q: How does the DOJ decide when to launch a targeted investigation?
There are several different factors that can trigger a DOJ compliance obligation. In many cases, companies and practices are targeted as the result of whistleblower complaints filed by current and former employees, customers, and patients. Establishing documented compliance protocols is among the most-effective ways to avoid the risk of facing a DOJ investigation, whether as the result of a whistleblower complaint or any other trigger.
Q: What are the possible outcomes of a DOJ investigation?
The possible outcomes of a DOJ investigation range from termination of the investigation without charges or liability to criminal prosecution and sentencing in federal district court. Civil enforcement action is a possibility in many cases as well, with unintentional compliance violations being among the most-common triggers for civil charges. If you are facing a DOJ investigation, engaging federal defense counsel promptly is essential for ensuring that you have every possible opportunity to resolve your investigation without charges being filed.
Q: If my company or practice is compliant, should we provide our compliance documentation to the DOJ?
Maybe. In many cases, affirmatively demonstrating compliance can be an advisable and highly-effective way to favorably resolve a DOJ investigation. However, it can also be risky—particularly if there are any “grey areas” with regard to the sufficiency of your company’s or practice’s compliance efforts. Before voluntarily providing any documentation to the DOJ, it is imperative to consult with experienced federal defense counsel regarding the potential risks involved.
Q: What should I do if my company is facing a DOJ investigation and it is not fully compliant?
If your company is under investigation and you are aware of past or current compliance deficiencies, this too is a matter that you will need to discuss with defense counsel sooner rather than later. Ignoring compliance failures can be costly, but there are also defense strategies that can be deployed in order to mitigate (or possibly even avoid) any potential liability.
Speak with a Senior DOJ Compliance Counsel and Defense Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.
Do you have questions about DOJ compliance? Or, do you need experienced defense counsel for a DOJ investigation, grand jury proceeding, or civil or criminal trial? To speak with one of our senior attorneys in confidence, call 888-680-1745 or request a complimentary consultation online now.