May 08, 2020

Amid COVID-19, ABA Criminal Justice Section’s White Collar Crime Institute goes virtual

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2020 — The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section will host its annual white collar crime conference as an eight-part, four-day all-digital event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Virtual Institute on White Collar Crime will be spread out over four consecutive Wednesdays — June 3, 10, 17 and 24. The institute was to be held in March in San Diego, but was canceled for the first time in its 34-year history.

The virtual institute will bring together representatives from the corporate sector, Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), prosecutors and the federal judiciary to discuss the latest updates on new developments and strategies in white-collar law.

There will be panels on health care fraud, ethics, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and a panel titled a “Conversation with the Enforcers and Regulators.” That panel on June 17 from 2:10-3:10 p.m. will focus on the government’s enforcement priorities and feature Brian Benczkowski, chief of the DOJ Criminal Division; James M. McDonald, enforcement director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and Steven R. Peikin, SEC co-director of enforcement.  

Other program highlights include:

June 3:

“Ethics: Crisis Management – What’s a Lawyer and a Company to Do?” — Panelists will address the legal and ethical implications of dealing with a crisis from “day one” onward, including the strategic and ethical implications of communications as an increasingly essential tool in mounting a vigorous defense, without breaching ethics rules or upsetting courts or prosecutors. 2:30-3:30 p.m.

“Ethics: Corporate Investigations and the Changing Landscape Created by United States v. Connolly Internal investigations are more complex, particularly following the recent decision in U.S. v. Connolly, in which the Southern District of New York expressed concern with the “outsourcing” of government investigations to corporations. Are the ground rules for internal investigations shifting again? Counsel for the company, individuals and the DOJ must navigate the legal and ethical landscape to protect client interests and to avoid unintended consequences of cooperation. 4:40-5:40 p.m.

June 10:  

“Health Care Fraud Enforcement: From the Travel Act to Telemedicine” — This panel, including speakers Joseph Beemsterboer, senior deputy chief, DOJ Healthcare Fraud Unit, and Andrew Wirmani, assistant U.S. attorney at DOJ, will discuss recent developments in the health care fraud area, including as they relate to COVID-19, the government’s evolving theories of criminal liability such as the Travel Act and enhanced data mining in telehealth investigations. Noon-1 p.m.

“From FIFA to NCAA and Varsity Blues: The Trend of Enhanced Enforcement Efforts in Traditionally Self-Regulated Sectors” — In the past few years, there has been aggressive investigation and prosecution by federal prosecutors in the areas of domestic and international sports corruption and college admission. This panel, including Samuel P. Nitze, assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, will discuss the federal interest underlying these cases, the reason the DOJ invests resources into pursuing them, legal theories used and their jurisdictional bases, as well as the most effective defenses available, case results and whether they resulted in lasting reforms. 2:30-4:30 p.m.

June 17:

“Securities Enforcement in 2020 and Beyond” — Panelists will explore the current major focuses and trends in securities law enforcement, including recent focus on disclosure issues and IPOs in the tech industry, as well as the latest developments in insider trading, accounting fraud, valuation cases and cryptocurrencies. Noon-1 p.m.

“The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Recent Developments and Government Priorities” — Panelists, including SEC attorney Ansu Banerjee, will review bribery enforcement during the past year; DOJ and SEC priorities for 2020; new enforcement actions and policies in other countries; simultaneous negotiation of settlements with the DOJ, SEC and foreign government anti-corruption agencies; and recent FCPA investigations in Asia, Europe and South America. 3:30-4:30 p.m.

“Sentencing and the New First Step Act Risk and Needs Assessment System” — The panel, including William M. McSwain, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and John Wetzel,  secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, will discuss the Risk and Needs Assessment System recently unveiled by the Department of Justice pursuant to the First Step Act. Depending on how defendants score under this new and complex system, they may be eligible for significant reductions in their prison time. The panel will discuss this new system and how it works, as well as other recent developments and provide practical tips for effective sentencing advocacy. 4:35-5:35 p.m.

June 24:

“Ethics at Risk in High Profile White Collar Cases” — The panel, including U.S. Attorneys General Robert Brewer Jr., Southern District of California, and G. Zachary Terwilliger, Eastern District of Virginia, will discuss a series of recent high-profile ethics issues, including the repercussions experienced by Harvard law professor Ronald S. Sullivan as a result of his representation of Harvey Weinstein; several post-Mueller issues such as the dilemma of White House witnesses summoned before congressional committees; and the DOJ outsourcing investigations of companies to the firms representing them, turning private lawyers into prosecutors. Noon-2 p.m.

“Foreign Agents Registration Act & Compliance, Cooperation and Monitorships: An Old Statute Roars Back to Life” — The act, which imposes criminal penalties on agents of foreign principals who fail to register and disclose their lobbying, political and public relations activities in the U.S., had been little used since it was enacted in 1938. But over the last few years, it has been used more aggressively, and the DOJ now has appointed a criminal prosecutor to lead the FARA Unit. This panel will explore the uptick in enforcement, recent cases and key issues in defending clients. 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The complete schedule can be viewed online.

This event is open to members of the press. For media registration, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@americanbar.org.

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