05.28.15 | Blog Posts

Deferred Prosecution Agreements - The Going Gets Tougher

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Deferred Prosecution Agreements with the Department of Justice (DPAs) have been a powerful tool of federal white-collar criminal enforcement for a number of years. At the same time, DPAs have been attacked from many sides – judges, elected officials and commentators – for being too lenient on companies and too frequently used in lieu of prosecutions of individuals, as I have discussed in recent posts.

In a series of recent speeches Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell has given a thoughtful defense of DPAs, explaining the basic merits of DPAs (and Non-Prosecution Agreements, or NPAs), while also responding to critics of such agreements. In speeches at the ACAMS Anti-Money Laundering & Financial Crime Conference in March and at NYU on April 14 and 17, AAG Caldwell described DPAs and NPAs as "useful enforcement tools" that allow the Justice Department to "accomplish as much as, and sometimes even more than, [it] could from a criminal conviction." She explained, "[w]e can require that the banks cooperate with our ongoing investigations, particularly in our investigations of individuals. We can require that such compliance programs and cooperation be implemented worldwide, rather than just in the United States. We can require periodic reporting to a court that oversees the agreements for its terms." [...]

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