US DOJ announces discounts on fines for corporate misconduct self-disclosure News
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US DOJ announces discounts on fines for corporate misconduct self-disclosure

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Tuesday unveiled changes to its Criminal Division Corporate Enforcement and Voluntary Self-Disclosure Policy, which includes discounts on fines. Under the policy, if a company voluntarily discloses misconduct to the criminal division in accordance with the prescribed standards, it will receive discounts on criminal fines. Self-disclosure following the standards can lead to a 50-70 percent reduction in the fines proscribed by the US Sentencing Guidelines. The discount does not apply in cases of recidivism.

Aggravating circumstances can disqualify a company from the fine reduction even if it voluntarily self-discloses misconduct. However, federal prosecutors may determine that a discount is still appropriate if the disclosure was immediate upon discovery, the company had a compliance program in place and there is “extraordinary cooperation with the investigation.”

In response to the policy, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. stated:

Through our enforcement efforts and our policies, we are committed to incentivizing companies to detect and prevent crime in their own operations, and to come forward and cooperate with us when they identify criminal wrongdoing. We need corporations to be our allies in the fight against crime. And we believe that our revised policies will, at the end of the day, further our ability to bring individual wrongdoers—the corporate executives, employees, and agents who engage in misconduct—to justice.

Last Thursday, the DOJ reached a $31 million settlement with City National Bank over allegations that the bank engaged in “redlining,” a form of racial discrimination where banks routinely deny loans to communities of color.