September 30, 2015
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued a memorandum (“The Yates memo”) on September 9, 2015 by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, reaffirming the Government’s commitment to prosecuting individuals. Say good-bye to the days of resolving an investigation with only a corporate monetary penalty: the DOJ wants some hands to slap and is going after individuals.

As part of its narrowing focus on individual accountability, DOJ has outlined six separate steps it will take to corral corporate internal investigations, increase communication between criminal and civil arms of the same investigation, and bring suit against all relevant parties at the outset of charges. While the substance of the Yates memo is far from groundbreaking, DAG Yates indicated that DOJ’s approach under the new policy will be “all or nothing,” suggesting that the policy could result in fewer settlements and more jury trials for those companies that do not meet DOJ’s stringent cooperation standards. Indeed, the Yates memo expressly acknowledges that this new policy presents challenges for both the Government and corporations.

Regardless of how the policy announced in the Yates memo is applied, corporations are now formally on notice of what will be expected of them if they wish to receive credit for their cooperation in DOJ’s prosecution of corporation officers. If nothing else, the Yates memo will likely serve as a new deterrent to combat fraud.

For additional detail and analysis on the Yates memo and its implications for corporations, please click here.