Category: General

Five Steps to Improve Corporate Governance

It has been ten years since Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted.  No one can argue that Sarbanes-Oxley eliminated the problem of corporate malfeasance. Maybe Sarbanes-Oxley did not address the real problem.  Corporate scandals occur when corporate governance fails to properly supervise corporate operations.  Senior management may try to keep corporate boards in the dark but that can only occur when a corporate board is not following basic governance principles. For...

Reality Check on Compliance

No one will ever call the last twenty years of television the “golden age of television.”  I have always turned off “reality” television for one reason – it is boring.  For some reason, American television viewers have become less interested in entertainment and more interested in watching so-called “reality” shows which are far from realistic and have no lasting artistic value. While “reality” does not...

The Danger of a “Paper” Compliance Program

The FCPA Guidance contains many important compliance reminders which should be incorporated into every anti-corruption compliance program.  Perhaps the most important observation included in the FCPA Guidance was the statement that: DOJ and SEC have often encountered companies with compliance programs that are strong on paper but that nevertheless have significant FCPA violations because management has failed to effectively implement the program even in the...

Compliance and the Criminal Mind

We can all agree on one thing – Lance Armstrong is a disgrace.  I have never seen a more pathetic performance of contrition, riddled with lies, and confirmation of a true sociopath. His public relations strategy was a disaster.  It is hard to know who to blame but perhaps it was an impossible assignment.  There was no way to take a sociopath and make him...

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Hospitals Need to Focus on Data Privacy and Security

To restate the obvious, hospitals operate in a risky environment.  They face a variety of risks and a blanket of government regulations.  You have to admire the Chief Compliance Officer at a hospital.  They learn to live with these risks. In response to our new Internet age, the government has prioritized protection of privacy and consumer data. In the healthcare industry, this is not a...

The Cutting Edge of Anti-Corruption Compliance: Proactive Audits

The FCPA world is fast-becoming the leader in new compliance strategies.  The Justice Department and the SEC have embraced the requirement for conducting “proactive audits.” Recent settlements have included new compliance program requirements for a company to conduct proactive audits of high-risk areas.  It is a new and growing area for anti-corruption compliance. The concept of a “proactive” audit, however, is nothing new.  The strategy...

Insider Trading Enforcement and Deterrence

It is hard to know whether the government’s aggressive enforcement of insider trading laws deters criminals from violating securities laws. One key factor in this equation is the risk of getting caught. The Obama Administration can certainly point to an increase in enforcement – civil and criminal.  Judges have been handing out stiff sentences for insider trading. The 1980s were the so-called glory years of...

The Attorney-Client Privilege and Compliance

Many people ask “Why do I need a lawyer?”  Candidly, sometimes it is hard to answer that question.  (I often ask myself the same question). On a more “sophomoric” note, I often think of the attorney-client privilege as the “cone of silence” often used by Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, when talking to the Chief.  Hopefully, the attorney-client privilege works a little better than the old...

2013 Enforcement Predictions

I always like to make predictions at the beginning of each year. My track record is plus and minus – sometimes on target, sometimes off-target. The biggest story in the last five years has been the rise of FCPA enforcement.  That story was eclipsed last year by the LIBOR scandal, AML/Sanctions enforcement, off-label marketing and criminal antitrust enforcement. Looking ahead, I do not expect much...