Category: General

DOJ Announces Voluntary Disclosure Program for Criminal Export and Sanctions Violations

The Justice Department is often criticized for its lack of transparency.  But when it comes to policy changes or initiatives, DOJ is more than transparent – DOJ always tells the public what it plans to do and then does it.  When people act surprised about a policy initiative or a DOJ announcement or speech on a subject, they simply failed to read DOJ’s statements or...

OCC Settles Penalty Action with Former Wells Fargo CEO for $17.5 Million and Issues Penalty Notices Against Five Former Wells Fargo Officials

The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) announced a $17.5 million settlement with former Wells Fargo Bank CEO John Stumpf’s role in the sales practices misconduct scandal.  In addition, the OCC announced settlements with two other Wells Fargo officials: (1) Hope Hardison, former Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Human Resources, Cease and Desist Order and $2.25 million civil money penalty; and (2) Michael...

False Claims Act 2019 Year in Review

Jessica Sanderson, Of Counsel at The Volkov Law Group rejoins us for her annual review of False Claims Act enforcement. Jessica can be reached at jsanderson@volkovlaw.com. 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and it unwrapped a nice gift: On January 9, 2020, DOJ released its Fraud Statistics showing that it obtained more than $3 billion under the False Claims Act...

Get Compliance Straight – The Need to Automate

I am reluctant to start off the New Year with a negative comment or posting.  But I have a significant concern about the path and current state of ethics and compliance.  From my vantage point, I have always been inspired by the forward momentum of the compliance profession.  We have witnessed the unprecedented growth of the compliance profession – over the last twenty years, the...

OFAC Loses Exxon Sanctions Enforcement Case

In an interesting end of year decision, issued on December 31, 2019, a District Court in Dallas issued a rejected OFAC’s enforcement action against Exxon Corporation imposing a $2 million penalty for violation of the Russia Sanctions Program.  (Copy of decision is here).  OFAC suffered a rare rebuke after extensive litigation and it will be interesting to see if OFAC appeals the District Court’s decision....

OFAC Sanctions Compliance: 2019 a Game-Changing Year (Part II of II)

I usually ignore hyperbole.  I cringe when I hear, “[Title] was the greatest movie of all time,” or “[Title] was the greatest book of all time” (true confession — except if someone fills in the blank with The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky). Moving on, 2019 was a big year in OFAC compliance.  The Sanctions Compliance Guidance (here) was a major change in sanctions compliance. ...

2019 OFAC Sanctions Enforcement Review (Part I of II)

While DOJ had its biggest year in FCPA enforcement, OFAC quietly had a record year in enforcement.  OFAC collected approximately $1.28 billion (yes, with a B) in 26 separate enforcement actions.  That is quite an increase over 2018 when OFAC collected $71 million in 7 separate enforcement actions.  OFAC enforcement is maturing, and its relationship with DOJ is coordinated in much the same way that...

The Future of Compliance – The New Proactive CCO (Part III of III)

The path of the compliance profession has been remarkable.  Recently, I have seen a number of tweets and postings from compliance thought leaders touting the accomplishments of compliance and the transformation of the profession (e.g. Donna Boehme and Roy Snell).  In particular, compliance thought leaders cite the increase of CCOs who report directly to the CEO and no longer report to the chief legal officer. ...

The Future of Compliance: Building Bridges (Part II of III)

As a passionate supporter of the compliance function, I continue to advocate for compliance officers and the importance of compliance to overall governance.  Good compliance means good business – we all know that. Compliance always depends on interpersonal skills.  A CCO is only as good as his/her ability to persuade and enlist commitments from senior management and related functions.  Often I hear about problems CCOs...