Category: General

The Big “G” in ESG – CCOs Need to Embrace ESG as a Compliance Opportunity

Chief compliance officers can occasionally suffer from a “complex” (akin to the Jungian one).  CCOs and their priorities are often pushed aside in favor of “more important” corporate initiatives.  CCOs are used to fighting for their initiatives and standing firm when challenged by so-called “competing” priorities. ESG is not a threat to compliance; it is an opportunity.  CCOs cannot be shy when it comes to...

NewTek, Inc., a Software Provider, Settles OFAC Violations for $189,483

The Treasury Department’s Offices of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) continues its enforcement run in 2021, and added yet another tech company to its list of targets. NewTek, Inc. (“NewTek”), a software provider that develops and supplies live production and 3D animations hardware and software, agreed to pay $189,483 to settle 52 violations of the Iran Sanctions Program.  NewTek’s violations arose from its sales to foreign...

A Compliance Crisis at NFT Marketplace OpenSea – Transparency on the Blockchain

Matt Stankiewicz, Partner at The Volkov Law Group, joins us for a post on the recent scandal at OpenSea, the cryptocurrency industry’s preeminent NFT marketplace. Matt can be contacted at [email protected] The crypto industry is abuzz with a recent scandal involving OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace in the industry (for those not in the know, NFT stands for non-fungible token, and the most common use...

The Fraud Hammer: DOJ and SEC Prosecute CEO of Silicon Valley Start Up

When prosecutors turn on you, watch out. The economy is full of fraudsters, many of whom escape detection.  Conmen, liars and cheats abound – when they get caught, however, the consequences can be severe. Interestingly, the SEC’s enforcement regime extends beyond the public markets and includes private companies.  In the technology sector, there are numerous technology start-ups, all living for the dream to be acquired...

The Myth of Corporate Resources and Efficiency

When I was a federal prosecutor and investigating corporations for misconduct, I imagined a well-oiled machine with vast resources, capable of overwhelming government prosecutors and law enforcement agents with lawyers, resources and influence. Prosecutors typically view corporations with this inflated perspective. After working with companies and gaining insights into internal corporate functions, I have realized that prosecutors routinely inflate corporate resources, capabilities and influence. Except...

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Cryptocurrency and the Unbanked: How the Blockchain Can Benefit the Impoverished

I recently came across a paper prepared by students from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs that delves into the benefits that cryptocurrency and the blockchain can provide to the world’s unbanked.  Specifically, the paper discusses how cryptocurrencies can help with “reaching and benefitting the unbanked/underbanked people, who do not make use of traditional financial services, including banks.”  Gemini Trust Company, LLC, one of...

Culture and a Company’s Most Valuable Intangible Asset – its Reputation

Corporate leaders and executives like to mouth the words surrounding corporate culture.  It is part of the code they all use with each other.  Few of them, however, really know what the word means or even dare to understand the importance to their business. Let’s face it – corporate leaders and executives like to talk the talk but they rarely if ever understand what they...

The Absent CEO – Who’s Minding the Store?

Corporate families can carry the traits of a smaller family – what do I mean by this quip?  An absent parent inevitably causes harm to a family. Families depend on connection, support and ultimately intimacy.  Corporations, by analogy, are not much different. An absent CEO can have a serious negative impact on company culture and performance. Some leaders do not like to engage. Other leaders...

Kraft Foods Agrees to Pay $62 Million for Misstatements in Financial Report

Recently, the SEC announced a settlement with Kraft Foods for $62 million and with two Kraft executives for financial reporting misstatements.  Along with the corporate settlement with Kraft, the SEC announced proposed settlements with Kraft’s former COO Eduardo Pelleissone and its former Procurement Officer Klaus Hoffman for their roles in the reporting fraud. During the period of 2015 to 2018, Kraft committed various accounting misconduct,...