Reed Smith News Flashes

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars to fund more than 900 FBI agents and 120 additional attorneys to combat white collar crime.

Garland and other top DOJ and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials spoke at the American Bar Association’s annual White Collar Crime Conference in San Francisco about their respective enforcement priorities for the coming year. “The essence of the rule of law is that like cases are treated alike; that there is not one rule for the powerful and another for the powerless; one rule for the rich and another for the poor. To fail to aggressively prosecute corporate crime leads citizens to doubt that their government adheres to this principle,” said Garland. “The Justice Department does not intend to fail.” In October 2021, the DOJ’s Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco announced aggressive corporate enforcement policies. Garland’s comments, expanding on Monaco’s 2021 announcement, gave shape to how the DOJ plans to deliver on those policies.

First, because, as Garland noted, corporations act through individuals, the DOJ will prioritize prosecuting individuals – not merely corporate entities. Garland promised to step up enforcement, noting that criminal prosecution has an “uncanny ability” to focus the minds of individuals on the fact that corporate misdeeds have significant consequences.

Second, the DOJ is seeking a huge infusion of personnel to fight corporate crime. Garland announced Thursday that the DOJ is seeking $325 million to fund more than 900 FBI agents devoted to white collar crime, and $36.5 million to hire an additional 120 attorneys nationwide to prosecute pandemic-relief fraud.

Third, the DOJ is devoting significant resources to immediately enforcing the United States’ sweeping sanctions against Russia. A task force called Task Force KleptoCapture, composed of more than a dozen attorneys, will hunt for sanctions violators and seek to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs.

Newsflash 2022-069