Last month, the Department of Justice celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Corporate Fraud Task Force with a press release and a party at which then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in a prepared statement, hailed significant changes in the way white-collar cases have been prosecuted. Gonzales praised the Task Force’s role in breaking “large investigations into smaller, less complex pieces,” and bringing those cases faster.

Gonzales’s remarks echoed prior statements from high-ranking DOJ officials about so-called “real-time” prosecution of corporate wrongdoing. For example, the Task Force’s first report to President Bush insisted that “criminal consequences for individuals and businesses engaged in corporate fraud had to be swift and virtually certain.” Subsequent reports to the President trumpeted the Task Force’s “swift” and “decisive” prosecutions, the goal of which was to “restore investor confidence.”

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