Author: Michael Volkov

The Revolution of Blockchain and Compliance (Part I of II)

I am not one to engage in hyperbole.  But when it comes to blockchain technology and the implications for our economy, this is going to be the real deal.  In the world of ethics and compliance, blockchain has many possible applications that could easily transform compliance capabilities. To show my age, let’s go back into time and remember when we all were buying personal computers...

Episode 50 — Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: Matt Stankiewicz Interview of Jason Davis, CEO of Hoard Invest

  Investing in cryptocurrency is fraught with challenges and inefficiencies. Jason Davis is seeking to solve these problems with Hoard Invest – with a mission to empower anyone, anywhere in the world to hold, track, transfer, and transact with any tokenized asset from their mobile device, privately & instantly. The task in doing so is nothing short of monumental, especially considering the regulatory ambiguity around the industry....

Defining Deterrence in White Collar Crime Cases (Part III of III)

There are two types of deterrence – specific and general.  Specific deterrence focuses on the risk of recidivism by the individual defendant.  General deterrence is focused on preventing others from engaging in similar misconduct. Deterrence depends on three basic factors: certainty; severity and swiftness of punishment.  The certainty of punishment is a significant factor for obvious reasons – if there is a little chance that...

White Collar Criminals and Sending a Message to Deter Misconduct (Part II of III)

When Judge Denny Chin sentenced Bernie Madoff, perhaps the most notorious white-collar criminal, Judge Chin imposed a sentence of 150 years, the maximum possible under the law.  Madoff was 71 years old.  His Ponzi scheme resulted in the loss of $64.8 billion. While Judge Chin may have imposed a lesser sentence without altering the fact that Madoff will die while incarcerated, Judge Chin specifically cited...

Criminal Sentencing and Deterrence: White Collar Crime and Corporate Misconduct (Part I of III)

The sentencing of criminal defendants continues to create controversy.  There are so many categories of crime and ranges of punishment – the issue always calls for difficult judgments and inevitably results in vigorous debate. In this three-part series, I plan to examine some of the issues surrounding sentencing of white-collar defendants and deterrence.  It is often presumed that stiff sentencing of white-collar defendants is an...

Episode 49 — Data Breach Notification in the GDPR Era

Global Companies face a complex set of data breach notification requirements.  In the absence of a uniform federal standard, companies have to tailor their data breach notification procedures to meet the requirements of 50 U.S. states.  With respect to European Union residents, global companies have to meet stringent requirements established by the General Data Protection Regulations. In this episode, Michael Volkov reviews the data breach...

Corporate Doublespeak: A Bribe is a Bribe

Language communicates more than just words – indeed, the use of language reflects much more than simple communication.  Often, a person’s language reveals an attitude, a feeling, a perspective, and much more about a person.  To me, I am often struck how language is used by corporations to mask a clear and distinct idea.  Corporate speak is a language unto itself, and can reflect a...

Artificial Intelligence, Hype and Financial Misconduct

The compliance world, like business in general, is being inundated with “trends” and claims of “new technology” that inevitably (is or) will transform our economy.  There is no question that artificial intelligence holds great promise for compliance and our entire economy. When you boil down artificial intelligence, it is built on two significant developments – the creation and collection of large data sets (sometimes called...

Corporate Character and Lack of Corporate Will

The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. Margaret Chase Smith Corporations experience numerous tests of character.  Perhaps one of the most important is how the company responds when facing potential misconduct.  Too often we read enforcement action factual statements where companies veer off the track and ignore...

Iran Sanctions and Third Party Risk

United States businesses are experiencing a sanctions whipsaw.  Since 1979, the President has issued twenty-six Executive Orders restricting trade and commerce with Iran. The Iran Sanctions Program imposed strict prohibitions in a range of areas.  The Iran Sanctions Program and the Cuba Embargo are the two most restrict sanctions program implemented by the United States. All of this changed in January 2016 when the Joint...