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DON’T: Try to minimize the seriousness of what happened. Candor will earn you points with prosecutors, while extreme posturing will lose them. DON’T: Assume that prosecutors are ignorant of past problems. Covering up hurts your credibility with prosecutors, says Fisher. Once that’s lost, it’s hard to get back. DON’T: Try to slip damaging information past prosecutors by burying it in other disclosures. Get too cute and you may wind up before the grand jury. DON’T: Say that your program speaks for itself. Fisher says prosecutors are looking for compliance programs with real teeth, not simply a document that states, Don’t commit fraud. DON’T: Make merely cosmetic changes. If you pretend to clean house but just shuffle executives to subsidiaries, you’re asking for trouble. We see this all the time, says Fisher. DON’T: Make this argument if you can’t back it up. Be prepared to offer specific proof (for instance, that your company depends on state government contracts which you’ll lose if indicted). DON’T: Act like a civil remedy is a foregone conclusion. Again, assemble ample precedents of other cases with similar facts where prosecutors have agreed to accept civil settlements. DON’T: Complain that the U.S. attorney investigating you is “out of control,” or has a personal vendetta against your company. It’s an argument that almost never works. DON’T: Try to minimize the seriousness of what happened. Candor will earn you points with prosecutors, while extreme posturing will lose them. DON’T: Assume that prosecutors are ignorant of past problems. “Covering up hurts your credibility with prosecutors,” says Fisher. “Once that’s lost, it’s hard to get back.” DON’T: Try to slip damaging information past prosecutors by burying it in other disclosures. Get too cute and you may wind up before the grand jury. DON’T: Say that your program “speaks for itself.” Fisher says prosecutors are looking for compliance programs with real teeth, not simply a document that states, “Don’t commit fraud.” DON’T: Make merely cosmetic changes. If you pretend to “clean house” but just shuffle executives to subsidiaries, you’re asking for trouble. “We see this all the time,” says Fisher. DON’T: Make this argument if you can’t back it up. Be prepared to offer specific proof (for instance, that your company depends on state government contracts which you’ll lose if indicted). DON’T: Act like a civil remedy is a foregone conclusion. Again, assemble ample precedents of other cases with similar facts where prosecutors have agreed to accept civil settlements.

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