Deputy Attorney General Yates Elaborates on Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing


Deputy Attorney General Yates Elaborates on Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing


On Monday, November 16, 2015, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sally Quillian Yates addressed the American Bankers Association/American Bar Association Annual Money Laundering Enforcement Conference and discussed the recently issued “Yates Memorandum” relating to individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing.  While DAG Yates was speaking at a money laundering conference, her remarkstoday should also be of interest to companies in the healthcare industry.

DAG Yates noted that the new policy, which has been in effect for two months, is being incorporated into the United States Attorney’s Manual – a set of policies that guide and regulate Justice Department lawyers in civil and criminal enforcement actions.  She noted that the Filip factors, a reference to a prior memorandum issued by then Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip relating to corporate prosecutions, would be changed to incorporate the policies relating to accountability for individual wrongdoing.

Specifically, DAG Yates noted that the revised U.S. Attorney’s Manual:

Notably, the DAG addressed the compliance officers attending the meeting and emphasized the importance of their roles in seeking to prevent corporate misconduct before it occurs, calling them “a crucial partner in the fight against white-collar crime” and stressing the need for “strong compliance programs.”

While many of these pronouncements do not fundamentally change the Justice Department’s focus or approach when bringing criminal and civil actions against corporations, in some areas, the changes are substantial and wide-ranging.  One example of this is the change relating to when a corporation receives cooperation credit.  The new policy codifies a requirement that, in order to earn such credit, the corporation must provide facts relating to individual participation in any misconduct.  Failure to do so will mean that a corporation’s efforts towards cooperating will not be creditable.  Another example is the new requirement that civil enforcement actions include a focus on culpable individuals.  This is likely to mean that in addition to healthcare companies being defendants in False Claims Act cases, it is more likely than ever that individuals, including corporate executives, may be made parties in these cases.  These are only initial observations and we anticipate providing additional analysis of the Yates Memorandum and its impact in upcoming posts.     

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