U.S. Justice Dept. toughens policies toward white collar crime

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FILE PHOTO: Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General of the United States delivers remarks during and announcement of an indictment against nine individuals for various offenses related to firearms trafficking in New York City

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday detailed a series of policy changes aimed at rooting out repeat corporate misconduct and prioritizing individual prosecutions, signaling a shift to a tougher tone toward white collar crime.

Speaking at an industry conference, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the department will restore guidance that companies will need to provide full lists of people involved in any misconduct in order to receive any credit for cooperation from prosecutors.

Justice Department leaders “will urge prosecutors to be bold in holding accountable those who commit criminal conduct,” Monaco said in prepared remarks.

Monaco's remarks indicated a shift in the department's approach toward white collar crime under President Joe Biden. Under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, the government had sought to boost cooperation and was seen to be more lenient toward corporate crime.

The department will also require prosecutors to consider a company's full criminal, civil and regulatory record when considering how to resolve an investigation into wrongdoing, Monaco said. Previously the department focused primarily on similar types of misconduct when weighing a settlement.

Monaco said the department has begun to review data on corporate resolutions in a bid to understand better when not to use certain types of settlements in which it agrees not to prosecute a company in exchange for a fine and promises of better behavior.

The department will back away from a prior shift away from corporate monitors – a costly aspect of many resolutions between prosecutors and companies, Monaco said. It will also look at ways to “surge resources” to corporate misconduct issues, including a new squad of FBI agents who will be embedded within the department's Criminal Fraud section that is tasked with pursuing economic crimes, Monaco added.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Will Dunham)

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