Not long after Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates announced the U.S. Department of Justice’s renewed focus on individual accountability for corporate crimes (the so-called Yates Memo), the DOJ also signaled that it would look more closely at the quality of compliance programs as a critical factor in resolving corporate wrongdoing. While the efficacy of such compliance programs have long been one of many factors considered, it has only grown in importance over time. The Fraud Section even took the step in November 2015 of hiring a new, full-time compliance expert, to provide “expert guidance” to prosecutors on the “existence and effectiveness” of corporate compliance programs and remedial measures.

Now, almost a year later, recent corporate cases resolved in the Southern District of New York illustrate the increased level of detail to which prosecutors are examining compliance programs and make clear that the robustness of a company’s compliance, training and auditing programs will be a key focus of the DOJ when making charging decisions, and could result in substantially greater or lesser punishments. These recent examples underscore that compliance officers would be well advised to:

Make Incentives Match Compliance Goals

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