BoardAndFraud

Root Cause Analysis: A Critical Ethics and Compliance Practice

Recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has generated renewed attention to the importance of root cause analysis in the realm of fraud deterrence and ethics. In June 2020, the DOJ’s Criminal Division issued an updated version of its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance.

An essential highlight of the 2020 guidance was the recommendation that investigators look for evidence that an organization is performing a root cause analysis for any compliance violation that could lead to a self-disclosure or enforcement action. It declares, categorically, that “a hallmark of a compliance program that is working effectively in practice is the extent to which a company can conduct a thoughtful root cause analysis of misconduct and timely and appropriately remediate to address the root causes.”

» Read More

FCPA Themes from 2020 with Compliance Commentary

One of the FCPA themes for 2020 has been hiding in plain sight all along. The FCPA requirement that “reporting companies to devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that, among other things, transactions are executed following management’s general or specific authorizations, and access to assets is permitted only in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization.” But what if the violation of this requirement occurs in a non-foreign (IE., the U.S.) and in a non-bribery situation.

» Read More
1

Common Pitfalls – Fraud Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are part of the discipline of risk management, where enhanced frameworks and techniques have emerged. Risk management comprises the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by the coordinated and efficient use of resources to monitor, minimize, and otherwise control the organization’s risks.

Risks arise in many forms and range from uncertainty in financial markets, operational failures, natural disasters, and pandemics to legal liabilities and reputational harms.

» Read More

First Civil Settlement for Fraud on Cares Act Paycheck Protection Program

On January 12, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California announced the first civil settlement with a borrower for allegedly committing fraud in obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan, in violation of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (“FIRREA”).

The FCA allows the government to recover damages and penalties for presenting false claims for payment to the United States. FIRREA allows the government to impose civil penalties for violations of enumerated federal criminal statutes, including those that affect federally-insured financial

» Read More

SEC’s Enforcement Powers Increase!

In summary, The Amendments double the SEC’s statute of limitations for disgorgement to 10 years in intentional fraud cases, grant the SEC 10 years to seek equitable relief in all cases, codify the SEC’s ability to obtain disgorgement in federal court proceedings, and make other changes that expand the SEC’s enforcement authority.

» Read More

Transparency! The New Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA)

On December 11, 2020, the Senate passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA” or the “Act”) – DIVISION F of the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2021 (the “NDAA”). The House of Representatives had previously passed the measure on December 8, 2020.

» Read More

Congress Approves Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) Measure

Money laundering issues have haunted many over the years.  To promote greater transparency, the U.S. Sen­ate has ap­proved leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing com­pa­nies in the U.S. to reg­is­ter their true owners. This change would help com­bat money laun­der­ing and the fi­nanc­ing of ter­ror­ism.

» Read More

Board and Fraud: SEC and Goodwill Impairment

Background

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) today charged New York-based brand-management company Sequential Brands Group, Inc. (“Sequential or “SQBG”) with failing to impair its goodwill as required by accounting

Board of Directors Oversight

Under the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines, in order to receive credit for having an effective compliance program, and thereby reduce the fines imposed on the organization, a Board of Directors must be “knowledgeable about the content and operation of the compliance and ethics program,” and must “exercise reasonable oversight with respect to the implementation and effectiveness of the compliance and ethics program.”

» Read More

Herbalife – “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes” – Translated: Who Will Guard the Guards Themselves, or Who will Watch the Watchmen?

Herbalife’s business relationship in China was committed to illegal activity, which it knew or should have known violated the FCPA. Specifically,  beginning in late 2006, Herbalife China provided improper benefits and payments to government officials to obtain direct selling licenses for two cities.
Herbalife paid out millions of dollars in bribes. Fraudulent expense reimbursements were used to fund the bribes, which is is a common tactic for these types of bribes.

Specifically, the SEC found that Herbalife China paid bribes through extravagant meals, gifts, and other benefits given to Chinese officials to obtain sales licenses and remove negative media coverage in China. Managers at the subsidiary asked employees to falsify expense report documents, for example, adding names to meal receipts to get below the company’s per head spending limit. It also found that the payments and benefits were inaccurately recorded and that Herbalife failed to maintain a sound system of internal controls.

» Read More

SEC and its New Silent Whistleblower: Risk Based Data Analytics

The SEC just announced its first actions arising from investigations generated by the Enforcement Division’s EPS (Earnings Per Share) Initiative, which utilizes risk-based data analytics to uncover potential accounting and disclosure violations caused by, among other things, earnings management practices.

» Read More

Donut Holes! Dunkin’ Data Breach Settlement

Dunkin’ was repeatedly alerted to attackers’ ongoing attempts to log in to customer accounts by a third-party app developer. The app developer even provided Dunkin’ with a list of nearly 20,000 accounts that had been compromised by attackers over just a sample five-day period. “Yet, Dunkin’ failed to investigate the attacks to identify other customer accounts that had been compromised, determine what customer information had been acquired, or whether customer funds had been stolen.

Dunkin agreed to pay $650,000 as penalty settlement costs for the lawsuit over its failure to respond to credential stuffing attacks.

» Read More

Tipsters – SEC Adds Clarity, Efficiency and Transparency to Its Whistleblower Award Program

On Wednesday, September 23. 2020, the SEC voted to adopt amendments to the rules governing its whistleblower program.
According to the SEC, the amendments are meant to “provide greater transparency, efficiency and clarity, and to strengthen and bolster the program.”

The amendments were proposed for public comment in June 2018 and have been adopted with some changes.

» Read More
Skip to toolbar