Companies and individuals facing government investigations or other allegations of misconduct count on us to defend them.
In addition to white collar defense, we conduct internal investigations and help to establish or enhance corporate compliance programs. We also assist clients in complying with certain laws and regulations.
Core Areas of Specialty:
“White Collar Crimes” encompasses a broad range of nonviolent crimes, usually committed in the business or professional setting with the alleged intent of financial gain. Responding appropriately and strategically to allegations of misconduct can help save a company and prevent conviction and other sanctions.
Fraud can take on many forms, but it generally involves intentional deception of some kind, where the actor benefits themselves or another person. There are several prosecutorial theories of fraudulent conduct, including: deceit, concealment, and violations of trust.
In 2020, the DOJ and FBI began investigating fraudulent conduct under PPP loans, established by the CARES Act. We assist companies and individuals who have or may face allegations of illegally obtained moneys through the program. Law enforcement investigations in this area generally stem from accusations that a business may be using PPP loan moneys to fund non-pandemic related matters. The government may also allege false statements on loan applications, falsified payroll and tax documents, falsified ownership of an existing business, or the use of a defunct company to obtain a loan.
Bribery traditionally involves a “quid pro quo” relationship to directly influence the actions of a public official. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is one of the main sources of federal authority for prosecuting foreign bribery. The FCPA imposes substantial penalties, whether violations stem from the anti-bribery or accounting provisions. We assist clients under investigation, as well as to determine their FCPA compliance obligations. We also conduct internal investigations, establish and improve upon FCPA compliance policies, and provide comprehensive FCPA training for our clients.
The DOJ prosecutes per se violations of the antitrust laws (price-fixing, bid-rigging, market allocation, etc.). We assist companies and individuals before the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. We advise clients who have received grand jury subpoenas. The response to an Antitrust grand jury subpoena may impact the result of an investigation, which bears on a client’s criminal or civil liability.
Healthcare Fraud investigations and prosecutions are often focused on whether providers have improperly submitted claims for service. Most Healthcare Fraud cases involve the government alleging that a medical provider or a healthcare business (i.e., lab, pharmacy, hospital) submitted fraudulent billing claims to Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or other commercial insurance companies. Additionally, the DOJ has prosecuted schemes where providers subscribe prescription pills that are unnecessary, modify medical records; intentionally misreport a diagnosis; use unlicensed medical staff; or other similar conduct.
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) prohibits transactions intended to solicit or reward referrals of any item or service for which payment may be made in whole or part under a federal healthcare program. The AKS applies to professional and nonprofessional healthcare providers, ranging from physicians and nurse practitioners to the owner of a healthcare business.
Licensed medical professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and dentists may be accused of unlawful or unethical conduct (i.e., medical malpractice, sexual misconduct, drug and alcohol use) which may result in an investigation and hearing before the professional’s respective medical board. The implications of a medical board hearing may result in the revocation of license, suspension, and fines that may lead to criminal and/or civil litigation.
Medicaid audits includes a thorough federal and/or state investigation typically led by the FBI and DOJ, into the medical services billed for by a healthcare provider. Medicaid audits assist the prosecution in determining whether an individual has engaged in criminal conduct. Reasons for Medicaid audits include billing for services not rendered, billing for more expensive services than necessary (“upcoding”), filing duplicate claims for the same service, and bribing professionals with kickbacks.
Mail, Wire, and Bank Fraud are federal crimes that include the use of mail (including USPS or a private mailing service) or electronic transmitting for the purpose of executing a fraudulent scheme. Mail, Wire, and Bank Fraud encompasses a vast amount of criminal conduct – anything from submitting fraudulent credit card applications, to Ponzi schemes, identity theft, and college entrance exam deception.
Understanding the circumstances of which a healthcare provider may have a financial interest in a business entity may impact whether the healthcare provider may self-refer a patient. Obtaining representation to determine one’s options is crucial. Each state sets forth their own guidelines regarding self-referral laws.
Insider trading matters arise most often for company owners, executives, board members, and advisors, who face criminal prosecution and civil litigation for breaching their fiduciary duties by trading on the basis of material, non-public information.
Professional Misconduct Allegations include the intentional deception, dishonesty, or improper conduct in the suspect’s professional field. Professional Misconduct Allegations can range from a wide array of areas including but not limited to medical malpractice, ineffective assistance of counsel, conflicts of interests, and fiduciary breaches.
Attorneys may face criminal or civil liability for acts committed in the practice of law. Violations of the law or otherwise unethical conduct may severely impact an attorney’s professional standing or lead the attorney to be disbarred within one or more jurisdictions.
Physician misconduct often includes claims of medical malpractice, negligence, extortion, and sexual misconduct, all of which may result in the criminal prosecution and civil liability, as well as the revocation of physician’s medical license by the state medical board.
Transnational Criminal Law involves alleged conduct that crosses national borders and potentially impacts international relations and national security. Given a modern norm—that alleged criminal conduct increasingly extends beyond the geographical reach of a single country—the mechanisms countries employ to provide legal assistance to one another in criminal matters are increasingly utilized.
Formal requests for assistance generally emanate from a country’s Central Authority, which is the competent authority under treaties and executive agreements for mutual assistance in criminal matters. In the United States, the Central Authority is the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA).
International Extradition is the formal process by which an individual in one country is surrendered to another country for trial or punishment. International Extradition is primarily governed by treaty, statutory law, and case law.
Countries generally enter bilateral or multi-lateral treaties with one another called Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs), for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information to enforce criminal laws. Quasi-formal assistance also exists—for example, requests made pursuant to the international law principle of reciprocity or under local law, which may not require a treaty to provide mutual legal assistance.
Whether a client is facing a government investigation or conducting an internal investigation, it is key to conduct thorough and robust investigations. Investigations may prove the lack of misconduct or discover some misconduct.
Ultimately, we assist clients to remedy the situation, and learn lessons for the future. In the context of ongoing government investigations, it is crucial to have a strong understanding of the facts and law in order to proceed strategically.
United States authorities may investigate clients and their officers on a covert basis, or with the client’s knowledge. Clients under government investigations should react intelligently, strategically, and with a full understanding of the possible outcomes.
Under the current enforcement landscape, companies are increasingly conducting internal investigations and developing effective compliance programs that detect whether misconduct has occurred.
Regulatory compliance requires a business to adhere to the laws, regulations, guidelines and policies set forth by the United States or respective State government. Failing to abide by regulations may result in criminal prosecution and jail time or hefty fines.
The United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposes sanctions to alter the behavior of state and nonstate actions that threaten U.S. interests, including economic sanctions, diplomatic sanctions, military sanctions, and environment sanctions.
Sanctions are an evolving area of law that determine whether an individual or foreign entity becomes a real or perceived threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic policy. Remaining informed about U.S. sanctions against foreign nations prevents individuals and companies from facing government investigations and, ultimately, helps mitigate criminal and civil risks.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an interagency committee authorized with investigating foreign investment transactions in the United States and certain real estate transactions by foreign persons, to determine whether the transaction creates a national security risk to the United States. Common sectors impacted by CFIUS compliance are aerospace and defense, autonomous vehicles/robotics, communication technology services (i.e., AI, software), finance, and biotechnology.
Preventing and detecting misconduct is key in today’s enforcement paradigm, which rewards early detection and appropriate remediation. In this regard, we assist clients with:
Corporate Compliance Programs reach across companies of all sizes, sectors, and industries, to mitigate legal risk for criminal or civil liability. The effectiveness of a compliance program can play a critical role in discussions and negotiations with the Department of Justice, which routinely considers the efficacy of a company’s compliance program from the investigation stage to the resolution stage of corporate cases.
Developing an effective Antitrust Compliance Program can help prevent a company from being exposed to criminal prosecution and civil litigation by federal, state, and international governments. Because of the complex nature of Antitrust law, an Antitrust Compliance Program assists companies by educating employees about the conduct that violates Antitrust laws. Early detection of Antitrust violations may limit the liability faced by a company or individuals.
For companies engaging in work abroad, developing an Anti-Corruption Compliance Program is crucial to detect and prevent misconduct.
Developing training programs and best practices enables our clients to comply with important laws and regulations. Waiting until the last moment to develop best practices hinders a company from detecting risks that could have prevented government investigation. Additionally, the government may be more likely to negotiate criminal and civil liability for companies that seek to mitigate risks associated with operating a business.
Samer Korkor, the lead defense attorney in our White Collar, Investigations, and Compliance practice group, has experience on the private and government sides of investigations and prosecutions. In addition to his years of private practice, Samer has served as a federal prosecutor, counsel to high ranking DOJ officials, a law professor, and a federal law clerk.
General Counsel, P.C. has a deep bench of other attorneys and other professionals who regularly add value to clients facing allegations of misconduct. Our teams draw on the experiences and skills they have developed from both in-court and out-of-court experiences.
According to Samer, “When our clients are accused of misconduct, they count on us to defend them at every step of the process.” Samer believes in “listening and learning about our clients and the surrounding circumstances to become familiar with all the nuances of a particular matter — that way, we can zealously represent our clients’ interests.”