Originally passed in 1977, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has become the most widely enforced anti-corruption law in the U.S. In fact, currently it is a leading enforcement priority for both the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Both the DOJ and the SEC are committed to robust investigations, aggressive enforcement, and timely prosecution of offending entities and individuals. With the help of a specialized FCPA Unit of attorneys and forensic accountants within the SEC’s Enforcement Division, increased resources dedicated to enforcement, and coordination with other countries’ anti-corruption enforcement programs, the government has been able to substantially increase prosecutions and both civil and criminal penalties for FCPA violations.
If your company is being investigated for FCPA violations or is conducting its own internal investigation, you may need the help of a federal defense attorney experienced in defending against federal financial crimes. FCPA cases often involve voluminous records and interviews, so it’s important to get an attorney involved as soon as possible. Attorney David Haas has extensive experience as a state and federal prosecutor and defense attorney handling complex financial, white-collar crimes and will put his expertise to work protecting your rights.
What Is an FCPA Offense?
The FCPA is a very broad law with two distinct elements: a bribery prohibition and a books and records requirement. The bribery prohibition prohibits paying any form of bribe to any foreign official to help in obtaining or retaining business. Under the FCPA, a bribery offense is committed when a business entity or individual intentionally makes or authorizes a payment, offer, or promise of anything of value, either directly or indirectly, to a foreign official, political party or party official, candidate for office, or middleman, with the intent of influencing an official act or decision to help in obtaining or retaining business.
The books and records requirement of the FCPA requires companies to maintain accurate books and records and have a system of internal controls that can reasonably ensure that transactions and assets are accounted for in alignment with management’s authorization. In other words, it is an FCPA offense to intentionally make materially incorrect entries in the company’s books and records to hide foreign payoffs.
Defending Against Allegations of FCPA Violations
If your company conducts any business outside the U.S., the possibility of an FCPA violation being discovered during a government investigation is not unlikely. In recent years, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have intensified their FCPA enforcement efforts, and many corporations and individuals have been found guilty of violations and fined or prosecuted.
When companies suspect that the government might investigate them for FCPA violations, they usually initiate their own internal investigations in an effort to avoid being fined or prosecuted. They might voluntary disclose the findings of their audit to the DOJ or SEC, including possible FCPA violations, and then explain how they have corrected the problem. The correction could very well involve turning in the alleged offenders at the company.
If you’ve been interviewed as part of an internal or government investigation without first consulting with an experienced federal white collar crimes attorney, you could be accused of being one of these offenders. An experienced federal defense attorney can help you assess the situation and develop a strategy for best protecting your rights and your freedom, should an interview be requested. Your attorney can also develop a robust defense should you face FCPA criminal prosecution.
Fight FCPA Charges with Help from an Experienced Federal Defense Attorney
As FCPA enforcement intensifies and penalties for violations increase, the need for legal help from an attorney who is well-versed in federal white-collar criminal law becomes apparent. If you or your company is entangled in an FCPA investigation, you don’t want to take any chances with prosecution.
An FCPA investigation can be very complex, and the stakes are very high. Therefore, it is essential to have an experienced, skilled federal defense attorney preparing a strategic defense, negotiating with federal prosecutors on your behalf, and advocating for your rights.
At Haas Law, we are experienced in helping clients who are being investigated or have been indicted for federal financial crimes. Attorney Haas has extensive jury trial experience; several years’ experience as chief of the Florida crimes division responsible for the investigation, intake, and prosecution of complex financial crimes; 10 years’ experience as a federal prosecutor, a position in which he handled complex white-collar investigations and prosecutions and was recognized for his litigation and investigative skills; and years of experience successfully defending clients in federal court.
You can depend on Haas Law to put our extensive experience, knowledge, and skills to work protecting your rights and your future.