Last fall Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the Department of Justice’s more aggressive approach to corporate compliance. In her policy speech this week, she highlighted a series of new policies and warned cooperating companies not to slow walk their disclosures, told prosecutors to speed up their investigations and expanded self-reporting programs throughout the Department.

Of note, Monaco acknowledged the past year’s decline in corporate prosecutions. In an effort to assist prosecutors’ timely investigations of individuals, Monaco said that any company that delays in turning over key documents and information to the government will risk losing some or all credit for cooperating. While companies are already required to turn over non-privileged information about employee wrongdoing in order to receive cooperation credit, Monaco said that the DOJ would view companies more favorably that claw back compensation from those employees. In her view, such a policy could deter wrongdoing — “compensation systems that clearly and effectively impose financial penalties for misconduct can deter risky behavior and foster a culture of compliance.”

Recidivist corporate offenders, even for unrelated prior misconduct, were warned that any prior violations would factor into DOJ’s treatment of new offenses. But, in an attempt to assuage corporate anxiety about prior misdeeds that resulted in either civil fines or criminal pleas, Monaco said that criminal resolutions more than 10 years old, and civil or regulatory settlements more than 5 years old, would be given less weight.

Lastly, Monaco said that every section of DOJ that prosecutes corporate crime will develop an individualized program to incentivize corporate self-disclosure. The common principles for these programs will include foregoing guilty pleas when the company self-reports, cooperates and remediates the misconduct. Further, monitorships, while back in favor and to be freely implemented when appropriate, will be circumscribed when the above requirements have been met. Prosecutors will be tasked, however, with making sure that the monitors are performing properly and stay on budget.

Federal investigations and prosecutions of corporations and individual employees and officers are complex and time consuming. There are a variety of factors that must be considered to properly defend the company and its employees while conducting an independent investigation of the alleged wrongdoing. Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers have extensive experience representing individuals and corporations accused of fraud. To contact the firm’s NJ office, call 908.301.9001 and to contact the firm’s NYC office, call 212.755.3300, or email Mr. Stahl at rstahl@stahlesq.com.