The U.S. Department of Justice touted its enforcement record earlier this month, announcing that it collected a whopping $8 billion in civil and criminal settlements in fiscal year 2013. But is the DOJ telling the the whole story about whether these settlements are wins or losses for the agency?

One former DOJ lawyer we spoke with, Michael Loucks of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, doesn’t think so. He argues that the agency portrays pretty much every deal it makes with a defendant as a triumph over corporate wrongdoing, regardless of whether it resolves a civil or criminal case (here and here, for example), and regardless of whether there was an admission of liability.

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