DOJ Consumer Protection Branch Defense
Our Former DOJ Prosecutors Represent Clients in Civil and Criminal Cases Involving the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch
Why have thousands of clients chosen Oberheiden P.C.?
- Only Sr. Attorneys– We don’t employ paralegals, Jr. Attorneys, or Secretaries. You will work directly with a Sr. Attorney who will keep you apprised on a regular basis regarding the details of your case.
- We Know The Government’s Playbook– Many of our attorneys previously worked for the government as federal prosecutors. Understanding the tricks, goals, and strategies of the opposing side gives us an advantage as we prepare our defense.
- We Have Secret Weapons– Our team of Former FBI, IRS, DEA, OIG, and Secret Service agents will use their notable experience in espionage, business investigations, and cyber forensics to find the nuanced details that can sometimes be the difference between a win or jail time.
- Unrivaled Results– While we have many tools at our disposal, our greatest asset is our high level of experience fighting the government. This experience has given us the privilege of winning over 2,000 cases on behalf of our clients.
I encourage you to compare our experience, results, and team with any local or national firm.
When you’ve been defending clients for as long as we have, there’s no trick we haven’t seen, likely no tactics we haven’t countered and no strategy we haven’t circumvented many times before.
If your reputation, livelihood, freedom, or career is at stake, call us today for a free consultation.
We will help you clearly understand what your options are and the best path forward.
Call now to confidentially discuss the details of your case: 888-680-1745
Dr. Nick Oberheiden
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is comprised of several branches focused on different areas of law enforcement. One of these branches is the Consumer Protection Branch. While the Consumer Protection Branch is not as well known as some of the DOJ’s more high-profile enforcement teams, its role has become elevated in recent years, and it has the full weight of the DOJ’s resources at its disposal.
A key trait of the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch is that it has both civil and criminal enforcement authority. As the DOJ explains, to achieve the Consumer Branch’s mission of “protect[ing] Americans’ health, safety, economic security, and identity integrity,” it “brings both criminal and affirmative civil enforcement cases throughout the country.” These cases target a broad range of companies and individuals—from health care systems and physicians to technology startups and identity thieves.
Former DOJ Prosecutors and Experienced Federal Defense Lawyers for DOJ Consumer Protection Branch Cases
At Oberheiden P.C., we defend companies and individuals in DOJ Consumer Protection Branch cases nationwide. This includes both civil and criminal cases at all stages—from investigation through trial. With their law enforcement experience, our former DOJ prosecutors are well-versed in the Department’s investigation and litigation tactics, and our experienced federal defense lawyers have successfully represented clients in civil and criminal enforcement cases across the country. Meet our team.
The DOJ Consumer Protection Branch’s “Areas of Enforcement Focus”
The DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch focuses its efforts in eight key areas of law enforcement. We defend companies and individuals in all industries facing investigations, civil allegations, and grand jury indictments in each of these “areas of enforcement focus.”
Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices
The Consumer Protection Branch investigates and prosecutes pharmaceutical companies, durable medical equipment (DME) companies, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other health care entities for violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Controlled Substances Act, and other pertinent laws and regulations. It is currently placing particular emphasis on civil and criminal enforcement in the areas of opioid prescriptions and diversion, adulterated and misbranded drugs and medical devices, and the sale of fraudulent cures and counterfeit drugs.
Complex Consumer Fraud
In the area of complex consumer fraud, the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch targets all types of fraud schemes, with particular emphasis on those that seek to take advantage of the elderly and other vulnerable populations. Working alongside other consumer protection agencies, the Consumer Protection Branch fights consumer fraud “utilizing state-of-the-art analytics and investigative approaches . . . and . . . all available tools to do justice for victims and prevent other consumers from becoming victims.”
Food and Dietary Supplements
The Consumer Protection Branch conducts civil and criminal investigations under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other federal laws governing the manufacture and distribution of food products and dietary supplements in the United States. These laws include 21 U.S.C. Section 331 (which prohibits adulteration, misbranding, and distribution of adulterated and misbranded products) and 21 U.S.C. Section 342(a) (which defines an “adulterated” food or dietary supplement for federal law enforcement purposes).
In addition to conducting civil and criminal enforcement with regard to food and dietary supplements, the Consumer Protection Branch also remains actively involved in tobacco enforcement—and it has recently expanded its focus to include e-cigarettes. This includes enforcing the ban on advertising cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products on television and radio as well as targeting companies suspected of making false claims and omitting information about the health risks associated with their products.
Deceptive Practices, Telemarketing, and Data Privacy
Working in close coordination with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch continues to prioritize enforcement of the nation’s telemarketing and spam laws. Deceptive trade practices on social media and other online platforms has become a key focus area as well, and the Branch is one of the primary federal authorities responsible for protecting consumers’ data privacy. This includes protecting consumers’ data privacy rights through enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and other laws.
Consumer Product Safety and Tampering
The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) prohibits various commercial practices that are intended, directly or indirectly, to defraud consumers through the sale of dangerous products. Even if a manufacturer is not aware of the dangers its products present, it can still face civil enforcement action under the CPSA. The Consumer Protection Brand also “specifically brings criminal prosecutions and civil-penalty actions for failures to report defective or otherwise unreasonably hazardous products.”
U.S. Servicemembers and Veterans Fraud
As the “primary criminal enforcement component” of the DOJ’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, the Consumer Protection Branch devotes substantial resources to uncovering fraudulent schemes targeting current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces. This includes health care and insurance fraud as well as fraudulent marketing schemes and other efforts to target servicemembers, veterans, or programs that serve these individuals.
Class Action Fairness Act
While class action litigation is intended to provide consumers with a means of restitution when pursuing litigation as an individual would be prohibitively expensive, this isn’t always how it works. As a result, the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch, “takes action to discourage settlements that reward attorneys while offering allegedly harmed consumers little or nothing of value.”
DOJ Consumer Protection Branch Collaboration with the DEA, FDA, FTC, and Other Agencies
When conducting its enforcement efforts in these areas, the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch works closely with several other federal law enforcement agencies. Depending on the nature of a particular civil or criminal enforcement effort, a Consumer Protection Branch investigation may also involve agents from:
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
FAQs: DOJ Consumer Protection Branch Defense
What are Some Examples of Recent DOJ Consumer Protection Branch Enforcement Cases?
The DOJ maintains a list of recent Consumer Protection Branch civil enforcement cases on its website, and it regularly issues press releases in connection with the Branch’s criminal enforcement efforts. Here are some examples of recently-publicized cases:
- Prosecution of a home security company under the FTC Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for failing to establish an identity theft prevention program, obtaining consumer credit reports for an impermissible purpose, and unfairly selling false debts to debt collectors.
- Prosecution of a major foods manufacturer for selling a popular food product that resulted in a multistate salmonella outbreak.
- Prosecution of a doctor, clinic owner, and clinic staff members for falsifying clinical trial data for profit.
- Prosecution of a funeral home operator for making deceptive statements to consumers about the pricing of funeral and cremation services, misrepresenting the location where these services were to be provided, and wrongfully withholding decedents’ remains.
- Prosecution of a marketing company for facilitating an elder fraud scheme that involved selling consumer data to clients that were known to have been arrested, charged, or convicted of crimes involving false or misleading practices.
Why Am I (or Why Is My Company) Under Investigation by the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch?
The DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch investigates companies and individuals for several reasons. Oftentimes, investigations flow from tips the Branch receives from whistleblowers or members of the public. In other cases, the Branch may join an investigation that is currently underway at the FDA, FTC, or another federal law enforcement agency. News reports can trigger civil and criminal law enforcement investigations as well. Understanding why you (or your company) is facing scrutiny can be critical for building a sound defense strategy, and this will be one of our first priorities when you engage our firm.
What are the Risks of Facing a DOJ Consumer Protection Branch Investigation?
The risks of facing a DOJ Consumer Protection Branch investigation vary depending on whether the investigation is civil or criminal in nature. Broadly speaking, civil investigations can lead to fines, cease-and-desist orders, and other forms of injunctive relief, while criminal investigations can lead to monetary penalties and federal imprisonment.
What Types of Criminal Charges Can the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch Pursue?
The DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch can pursue charges for all civil and criminal offenses established under the statutes it enforces. In criminal cases, these charges can range from mail fraud and wire fraud to highly-specific offenses such as selling adulterated products, engaging in prohibited marketing practices, or failing to take adequate steps to protect consumers’ data privacy.
Do I Need to Engage Defense Counsel for a Civil DOJ Consumer Protection Branch Case?
Yes, whether you are facing a civil or criminal investigation involving the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch, it is strongly in your best interests to engage defense counsel immediately. To discuss your case (or your company’s) case with a senior federal defense lawyer at Oberheiden P.C. in confidence, contact us today.
Speak with a Senior Federal Defense Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C. in Confidence
Our firm represents individuals and companies in DOJ Consumer Protection Branch cases nationwide. To arrange a confidential initial consultation as soon as possible, call 888-680-1745 or get in touch online now.