White-collar crimes and corporate offenses are some of the least-prosecuted crimes in the country. Although these crimes can affect workers, consumers or entire communities, they often go unaddressed. Police departments and federal agencies tend to focus more on high-profile cases that are lucrative.
Violent crimes tend to make the news, and the successful prosecution of these cases can be good for local police departments and prosecutors alike. Drug law enforcement can lead to revenue for agencies and departments through civil asset forfeiture. On the other hand, investigating money laundering and fraud charges involving businesses requires a massive investment of manpower with minimal payout for the law enforcement agencies involved.
It can take months to gather evidence of financial misconduct or corporate crimes and even longer to prosecute these offenses. However, the relatively permissive federal attitude about corporate crimes has changed.
Federal policy on corporate crime just became tougher
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced an intended crackdown on corporate crimes across the country. What has changed? One of the most important things that have changed is the federal direction provided to prosecutors.
The DOJ announced that it wants all prosecutors to be more aggressive in what charges they are willing to bring regarding corporate crimes and white-collar criminal offenses. The result could be a massive wave of prosecution in the upcoming years.
Another important change is what a business must do to cooperate with an investigation. Previously, the federal government has permitted businesses to largely control what information they provide to the government. A lot more personal and business record information will be necessary for a business to secure cooperative status during an investigation going forward.
What will this mean for businesses?
Increased focus on corporate fraud might mean that business practices long employed by a company might now suddenly result in criminal prosecution. People with no real understanding of the dangers of their actions could face charges. Even those who don’t personally profit from business misconduct could wind up implicated through their actions or inaction if they have failed to report issues at the business.
Following changing rules about white collar crimes can help you avoid or appropriately respond to criminal charges.