Category: General

Lawyers Can Be A Positive Force for Compliance

Lawyers get a bad rap, and I am not just referring to all the lawyer jokes we have heard numerous times. Lawyers get a bad rap when it comes to compliance. Much of it is not deserved – but candidly, some of it is deserved. For some reason, Chief Legal Officers have difficult accepting the empowered role of a Chief Compliance Officer. This is not...

In Defense of Compliance Checklists

Compliance officers have to avoid complicating a compliance program. As in many areas in life, there is a value in simplicity. Take for example a compliance training presentation. If a compliance officer overwhelms his/her audience with legal mumbo jumbo, you can rest assured that no one will retain anything and the training program will not be very successful. On the other hand, if a compliance...

The Importance of A Robust Conflicts of Interest Program

It is always interesting to learn how companies handle specific compliance issues. Years ago, I could always tell when a compliance department was lacking in stature and independence in a company. Typically, I observed three important indicators – a compliance department that was stuck in the legal department reporting to the general counsel; mired in detailed gifts, meals and entertainment reviews and approvals; and devoted...

ArthroCare CEO Reconvicted for Fraud

The healthcare industry continues to be a frequent target for criminal prosecutions. More importantly, federal prosecutors are ready, willing and able to bring criminal cases against C-Suite actors involved in healthcare fraud cases. Sometimes prosecutors win their cases, and sometimes they lose. That is just the nature of the beast. ArthroCare stands as yet another example of the destruction of a company resulting from C-Suite...

The Delusion of a Barebones Compliance Program

Instead of wrestling over the definition of an “effective” ethics and compliance program, let’s take a step back and define what we all agree on is an “ineffective” compliance program. Unfortunately, when you work in the real world, some Chief Compliance Officers, along with senior management and the members of the board of directors are supervising and administering compliance programs that fall far short of...

The FCPA Compliance Defense — Don’t Wish for It, You Just Might Get It

Sometimes a bad idea just will not die. Sometime commentators like to return to simplistic solutions that sound good on paper. These same commentators have failed to address the practical concerns that outweigh any possible rational for enacting the so-called FCPA compliance defense. This debate has been going on for a while and I expected the idea to die out. Recently, I saw renewed discussion...

Where O’ Where Did Our Monitors Go? — The Telia Bribery Case

Just when everyone was anticipating the beginning of an uptick in FCPA enforcement in 2017, the Justice Department and the SEC delivered a resounding message to remind everyone that FCPA enforcement is here to stay. However, the Telia decision may be the first indication of some changes in DOJ’s FCPA enforcement policies. It is hard to say from just one major DOJ enforcement action but...

Podcast Episode 4 — Too Big To Fail, Too Big To Jail, DOJ’s Outsourcing of Criminal Investigations

The Department of Justice’s approach to criminal prosecution of corporations and individuals has evolved over the last 20 years. Beginning with the traditional model of building criminal cases, brick-by-brick, by investigating and prosecuting individuals, traditionally used to dismantle organized crime and drug trafficking/gang organizations, the Justice Department has now embraced a new model of enlisting corporations to conduct internal investigations, usually with the assistance of...

The Compliance Conundrum — Spending Money to Save Money

Chief compliance officers have to be honest with themselves. While I am optimistic about the growing importance of the compliance function, I remain concerned that CEOs and senior management are slowly strangling ethics and compliance programs through delays and denials of needed human and support resources to implement an effective ethics and compliance program. So, my question to CCOs is an important one – are...

The Five Most Important Issues for a CCO to Report to the Board

Chief compliance officers have to throw out their template for charts, diagrams and data that they use to report to the Audit/Compliance Committee and start over. Slick and colorful charts and diagrams are great but CCOs are ignoring the importance of an opportunity to educate and train the board on how to monitor and oversee a compliance program. So, let’s start over – what should...