On September 13, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its first ever Statement of Interest in the bankruptcy of an asbestos company, signaling that DOJ intends to prioritize fraud and mismanagement relating to asbestos trusts. The Statement, filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina in the Chapter 11 proceedings for Kaiser Gypsum Company, asserts that the proposed trust plans lack adequate safeguards and indicates that DOJ will object unless the final plan better ensures transparency and prevents fraud. Below are three major takeaways from DOJ’s action:

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Scales of JusticeAll too often, corporations and executives trying to “do the right thing” find little preventative guidance coming from the Department of Justice. Companies seeking to ensure their corporate compliance programs are robust enough to withstand government scrutiny frequently must resort to reviewing the United States Sentencing Guidelines or prior Non-Prosecution Agreements or Deferred Prosecution Agreements for guidance.

Recently, though, the DOJ Fraud Section quietly issued additional information about how DOJ prosecutors evaluate a company’s compliance program in “conducting an investigation of a corporate entity, determining whether to bring charges, and negotiating plea or other agreements.” The guidance was issued on February 8, 2017, and was not accompanied by so much as a press release or other public statement. Titled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” it can be found in full here.


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Emergency Responses to Government Investigations:

“They Say They Have a Search Warrant. What Do We Do?”

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This webinar presentation will address proper response to government investigations, proactive approaches to avoiding common mistakes, and the detection of early warning signs.

Date & Time
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Noon – 1 p.m. (CDT)

Presenter
Jeff Jensen, Partner


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A recent New York Times article contained anecdotes of several taxpayers having their bank accounts seized by the IRS even though they had not been convicted of any crimes. The article leaves the reader with the impression that taxpayers are helpless to defend against such action. While the New York Times article accurately conveys how traumatic such seizures can be for those involved—Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo, who was forced to delay his daughter’s college education for a year; and Carole Hinders, whose 40 year old cash-only Mexican restaurant hangs in the balance—it is important to understand that these citizens have certain rights after a seizure occurs. While the IRS can seize assets without a court of law actually finding a taxpayer guilty of a crime, procedural safeguards exist to ensure that a taxpayer is not subjected to an unjust forfeiture by the federal government.

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Husch Blackwell welcomes former FBI agent Christopher A. Budke to its Kansas City, Mo., office. A former special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for over 30 years, Budke brings a broad range of investigative experience to the firm’s Government Compliance, Investigations & Litigation team. He will serve as a special investigator in criminal and civil matters, and lead internal investigations on behalf of companies and healthcare entities.

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In response to Russia’s continuing actions in Ukraine, the United States and other nations have implemented increased economic sanctions that significantly broaden the scope of the sanctions previously in place. In addition to the U.S. actions, Canada, the European Union and Japan have imposed similar sanctions against Russia, including asset freezes and individual designations.

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