The U.S. Justice Department will target corporate leaders involved in white collar corruption rather than just fine companies, says Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
The announcement signals a shift to a tougher stance by the government toward white collar crime, reports Reuters.
“Accountability starts with the individuals responsible for criminal conduct,” Monaco, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, told an industry conference.
Monaco said the department’s top priority regarding corporate crime is to prosecute the people who commit and benefit from misconduct. When assessing penalties and resolutions, the department will take a broader view of a company’s misconduct, be ready to install third-party monitors and have new demands for cooperation.
DOJ will require companies to name all people involved in misconduct in order to receive credit for cooperation, as opposed to the previous policy under which companies provided names of people deemed to have been “substantially involved.”
The department also will require prosecutors to consider a company’s full criminal, civil and regulatory record when considering how to resolve an investigation into wrongdoing. Previously the department focused primarily on similar types of misconduct when weighing a settlement.
The department is reviewing whether it is appropriate to enter into agreements with companies that defer or waive criminal prosecutions in exchange for fines and promises of better behavior when the business is a repeat offender. Between 10 percent and 20 percent of all significant corporate criminal resolutions involve repeat offenders.
Additional reading: Why Top Execs Escape Prosecution