An Increasingly Uncertain Environment for Businesses and Individuals
Government investigations and prosecutions have become increasingly common events for businesses and individuals. Sarbanes-Oxley, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA), and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have substantially increased the risk of civil and criminal government investigations, not only by traditional law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), but by a range of other government regulatory and enforcement agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There is rarely such a thing as a “routine” or “simple” subpoena, Civil Investigative Demand, or request for voluntary production of documents that does not carry substantial risk, no matter its source.
For example, the CFPB is aggressively pursuing investigations into all aspects of the banking and consumer financial services industry, and obtaining millions of dollars in fines, remediation, and disgorgement, and onerous injunctive relief. Many of those investigations are coordinated with the DOJ and the FTC. In addition, FERA amendments to the False Claims Act (FCA) have greatly increased the number of qui tam actions filed by private relators with resulting investigations by the Civil Fraud Section of DOJ’s Civil Division and by U.S. Attorneys’ offices across the country. Moreover, law enforcement authorities continue to scrutinize public expenditures at all levels of government, mindful both of the need to be good stewards of the public fisc and of budget constraints requiring good management of public funds. The result is a rise in administrative and judicial enforcement actions.
The bottom line is that the line between regulatory, civil, and criminal enforcement has blurred. For example, CFPB examinations often lead to the execution of Consent Orders. With respect to Fair Lending examinations, the CFPB’s results are often referred to the DOJ and also result in the execution of a Consent Order. It is more important than ever that corporations and their executives retain experienced counsel who can assess risk, prevent escalation, and face the government head-on when necessary.
Our Responsive, Highly Experienced Team
McGlinchey Stafford is a national leader in responding to these developments. We work with our clients to prepare for the possibility of an investigation or enforcement action and help our clients respond if they become the subject of an investigation, enforcement action, or criminal charge. Many of our clients have retained us to do “CFPB Preparedness Exams” to detect and correct weaknesses in their compliance management systems. In many instances, these exams have saved clients significant amounts of money by correcting potential violations long before the CFPB arrives. With decades of unparalleled experience, our attorneys have a keen understanding of compliance examinations, agency investigations, enforcement proceedings, and white collar crime. Our White Collar/Government Investigations Group’s unique background shapes the way we help clients face these legal challenges in both civil and criminal matters. In addition, our Consumer Financial Services Group provides industry and substantive legal knowledge in support of our Government Investigations Group.
Our White Collar/Government Investigations Group is led by David Dugas and Bob Driscoll. David Dugas, who is based in our Baton Rouge office, served as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana for almost a decade. He headed a national fraud task force for the DOJ, chaired one and co-chaired a second criminal policy committee advising the United States Attorney General, and worked closely with government officials and enforcement agencies on a myriad of white collar cases and other criminal investigations. Bob Driscoll is a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, and leads the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Thanks to his extensive experience, Bob has appeared on CNN, Fox News, PBS, National Public Radio (NPR), and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times.
The White Collar/Government Investigations Group has both breadth and depth, with experienced partners across several offices who have represented clients in the financial services, oil and gas, health care, and entertainment industries with federal and state level grand jury investigations, DOJ Antitrust, Criminal and Civil Fraud, Environmental, Export Control, Civil Rights, and health care fraud investigations, as well as Congressional investigations and hearings.
Recently, the White Collar/Government Investigations Group has expanded to include Brian Fink who served in various roles within the CFPB Office of Supervision Policy prior to joining McGlinchey Stafford. Before the CFPB formed in 2011, Brian was with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors where he advised reserve banks regarding UDAP and other significant examination issues and led formal operations reviews of Federal Reserve Banks' compliance examination programs. Our national team is growing, thanks to the demand for sophisticated representation in government investigations and white collar criminal defense matters for companies and individuals alike.
Our highly adept team assists companies and individuals with the full scope of government investigations, including preventive consulting, internal investigations, investigation management, negotiations with federal agencies, and litigation defense.
To prevent the likelihood of an initial investigation, we counsel clients on practical measures that can help them effectively operate within an increasingly complex regulatory environment. In addition, we have, on behalf of corporations, boards of directors, and audit committees, conducted internal investigations of suspected or reported misconduct and advised our clients on the key questions of whether, when, and how to disclose the findings of such an investigation to government authorities to “head off” or respond to a government investigation. If a government investigation is instigated, we respond swiftly, working directly with prosecutors and government regulators to ensure our clients’ best interests are represented throughout each phase of the investigative process. When needed, we have mobilized a multidisciplinary team on the client’s site within forty-eight hours. In each case, we endeavor to mitigate risk or exposure for our clients. If a criminal charge is brought, we represent our clients in the full range of related criminal or civil proceedings in both federal and state courts. Additionally, our attorneys counsel individuals who have been the subject of high-profile congressional investigations, preparing them for testimony.
We work with clients at all levels in defense of federal and state law enforcement proceedings, including matters launched by the DOJ, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), United States Attorneys’ Offices, the litigating divisions of the DOJ, Inspector General’s Offices, State Police agencies, the IRS’s Criminal Investigative Division, the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigative Division, various state environmental agencies, the United States Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, legislative branch bodies or committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the CFPB, the FTC, and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
We have experience in a full array of investigations and enforcement proceedings that might be brought against individuals and businesses by law enforcement authorities, including:
- Bank fraud
- Civil rights
- Computer fraud
- Data Privacy & Cybersecurity
- Fair Lending & Collection (ECOA, FDCPA, UDAAP)
- False Claims Act (Civil and Criminal)
- FEMA fraud
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Health care fraud
- Identity theft
- International Emergency Economic Powers Act
- Mail fraud
- Money laundering
- Obstruction of justice
- Official misconduct
- Public corruption (bribery)
- Securities fraud
- Tax evasion and tax fraud
- Wire fraud