New York – The US Justice Department has issued new guidance to intensify prosecutions of corporate executives, after persistent criticism to the department’s settlements, which are considered to not be aggressive enough, especially after the 2008-2009 financial meltdown and housing crisis that devastated the US economy.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates was scheduled to deliver a speech on the policy changes on Thursday at 12:45 p.m. at the New York University School of Law.
These changes include new measures regarded as best practices already used by some federal prosecutors. For instance, Yates has announced, in a memo sent to federal prosecutors in the US, that in future investigations, there will not be any credit given to a company that has cooperated with the prosecutions unless it has disclosed all relevant facts about the suspected people involved in crimes. This measure will avoid corporations getting benefited with less serious charges.
In other words, if corporations want credit for cooperating with the government, they are asked to turn over all the evidence of wrongdoing against individuals before the case goes to a closure.
“Regardless of how challenging it may be to make a case against individuals in a corporate fraud case, it’s our responsibility at the Department of Justice to overcome these challenges and do everything we can to develop the evidence and bring these cases,” Yates will say in her speech, according to experts of the speech released by the Justice Department.“The public expects and demands this accountability. Americans should never believe, even incorrectly, that one’s criminal activity will go unpunished simply because it was committed on behalf of a corporation.”
— Kate Bischoff (@k8bischHRLaw) September 10, 2015
On the other hand, the department demands that its civil and criminal lawyers work together on corporate investigations, but this time, they are asked to focus, not only on wrongdoing by the corporation, but mainly on individuals, which will not be protected, from either criminal or civil liability, by the Justice Department.
“Our mission here is not to recover the largest amount of money from the greatest number of corporations; our job is to seek accountability from those who break our laws and victimize our citizens. It’s the only way to truly deter corporate wrongdoing,” Yates would say in the speech.
The Deputy Attorney General also said that individual accountability can prevent future crimes, make sure that the right person is punished and promote “the public’s confidence in our justice system.”