Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, companies may be held criminally responsible for employee offenses committed in the course of their jobs, even if the misconduct violates explicit company policies. This may occur in countless ways, ranging from bribes or gratuities to foreign government officials (violating the FCPA), to transactions with prohibited parties or nations (violating trade sanctions regimes) and false financial reports to shore up share prices (violating securities laws).
When allegations of such misconduct arise, corporate boards and/or audit committees often engage independent counsel to investigate. The results may be used to discipline guilty employees, tighten controls, and sometimes to make voluntary disclosures to the government. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, companies that respond in this way may be treated more leniently than those that do not.
We conduct such investigations in a manner that inspires confidence in prosecutors and regulatory agencies, and present our findings in ways that maximize the potential for obtaining deferred or non-prosecution agreements. We negotiate favorable outcomes, keeping in mind all of the company’s interests, including collateral issues such as government contracting, licenses and reputational harm.
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