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Do Top-Level Execs Get A Pass From DOJ?

In today’s White Collar Crime Prof Blog, former federal prosecutor Solomon Wisenberg has a post called DOJ’s Fraud Protection Racket.

Wisenberg — writing about a New York Times article that discusses what he calls the ‘DOJ’s pathetic track record in prosecuting and convicting individual high profile fraudsters in connection with the financial crisis’ — said the DOJ’s failure to prosecute individuals for criminal fraud reflects the Administration’s policy.

Corporations will pay around $8 billion this year to settle charges of defrauding the government, the Times story said. That’s more than twice the amount paid last year, and an all-time record. The huge settlements  by pharmas, military contractors, and others are raising questions about why senior executives aren’t being prosecuted.

The article doesn’t mention the FCPA. But in a post two years ago, we asked if DOJ enforcement policy leans toward corporate mega settlements and away from trickier individual prosecutions. That’s what the numbers suggest. A post this year said that in 58 of the 85 corporate enforcement actions from 2005 to 2011, no employees or agents had faced any charges. And after Tyson Foods settled last year with the DOJ for bribes in Mexico, James B. Stewart asked in his New York Times column why individuals weren’t held accountable.

Back in the White Collar Crime Prof Blog, Wisenberg said Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West’s statement to the Times that ‘If the evidence is there, we won’t hesitate to bring those cases,” is hooey.

Wisenberg’s post is here.

The New York Times story is here.

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