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White Collar Posts

Almost Anyone Can Be a Felon: the Troubling Scope of Tax Obstruction, Part II >
August 16, 2017
By: James R. Malone, Jr.
Part I of this Post discussed the background and holdings of United States v. Marinello. This post focuses on the implications of the Second Circuit's construction of the omnibus clause of section 7212(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and on the potential ways in which the Supreme Court might narrow that construction.
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Navigating DOJ's New Compliance Program Parameters >
July 11, 2017
By: Ronald H. Levine
The DOJ Criminal Fraud Section's much heralded in-house compliance expert, Hui Chen, quit last month due, she said, to "cognitive dissonance" brought on by the present Administration's conduct at the top. But Ms. Chen leaves in her wake a very significant, detailed memorandum discussing the factors which the government intends to apply going forward in evaluating corporate compliance programs. 
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Navigating the Cloud's Data Security and Legal Hazards >
June 7, 2017
By: Abraham J. Rein
The Legal Intelligencer recently published my article, “Cloud Control: Data Security Hazards and How to Avoid Them,” in their 2017 Cybersecurity Supplement. The article looks at what businesses need to be thinking about in terms of cybersecurity and compliance issues associated with cloud computing - a model that has largely been embraced by the business world as the rule rather than the exception.
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New York Proposed Cybersecurity Regulations: A Predictor of Things to Come for the Finance and Insurance Industries >
January 27, 2017
By: Steven J. Fox, Cynthia A. Haines, and Abraham J. Rein
The proposed regulations would be the most prescriptive data security requirements yet to be imposed. They would require all covered financial institutions and insurers to establish and maintain cybersecurity programs and policies addressing a list of minimum requirements, "to the extent applicable to the Covered Entity's operations."
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Pete Vaira's "2017 Wish List for Lawyers and Judges" >
January 23, 2017
By: Ronald H. Levine
Hopefully, the suggestions in my recent Business Crimes Bulletin article on the DOJ's misuse of “speaking indictments" gather some momentum, as former E.D. Pa. U.S. Attorney Pete Vaira cited it in his January 17, 2017 article in Philadelphia's The Legal Intelligencer.
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Government Contests Assertion of Attorney-Client Privilege in Assessing Cooperation >
January 5, 2017
By: Ronald H. Levine
However else one characterizes 2016, it was a very good year for the government's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) profit center. Twenty-seven companies paid about $2.48 billion to resolve FCPA cases, a record. Although the incoming Administration may shift priorities, there exists considerable institutional momentum behind continued FCPA enforcement. In that light, it's worth taking a look back at one of the last FCPA cases of 2016.
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Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Law, Health Care Providers, and Enforcement >
October 13, 2016
By: Barbara Rowland
With other members of our Firm's Regulated Cannabis Group, I recently co-authored an article for the Life Sciences, Pharmaceuticals, and Health Care Supplement of The Legal Intelligencer. We examined Pennsylvania's April 2016 medical marijuana law from four essential legal standpoints - professional liability, health care law, employment law, and enforcement - and the related implications for health care providers in the state.
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FCC Commissioner Seeks Investigation of Wi-Fi Hotspot Limitations at Presidential Debate >
September 28, 2016
By: Abraham J. Rein
At Monday's presidential debate, host Hofstra University ruffled feathers by reportedly moving to prevent journalists, attempting to file stories from the scene, from relying on their own wireless hotspots to get online. The move was seen by some as an effort to force reporters to use the venue's wireless service, said to cost $200, and caught the attention of the FCC. If correct, these factors may distinguish the Hofstra scenario from prior FCC enforcement actions, sufficiently to avoid an enforcement proceeding.
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The Lambis Case and the Future of 'Stingray' Evidence >
August 22, 2016
By: Abraham J. Rein
I recently examined for Law360 a federal court decision in U.S. v. Lambis that marked the first time a federal judge has suppressed evidence secured from a cell-site simulator, or "Stingray" device. These devices mimic cell towers for surveillance purposes and can locate a cell phone. The case and decision are part of the larger story of mounting attempts to constrain law enforcement's use of Stingrays and similar devices, the use of which remained largely unknown by the public as recently as 2011.
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Record $5.5 Million HIPAA Data Security Settlement: Lessons Learned >
August 8, 2016
By: Carolyn H. Kendall and Abraham J. Rein
On August 4, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that Advocate Health Care Network, Illinois' largest hospital chain, agreed to pay $5.5 million to resolve multiple alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This settlement is the largest HIPAA-related settlement in OCR history, and comprises more than a quarter of the nearly $20 million that the government has collected in HIPAA-related enforcement actions in 2016 alone.
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DOJ's New FCPA Enforcement Plan and Crafting Due Diligence Programs >
July 8, 2016
By: Matthew T. Newcomer
The June 2016 issue of Business Crimes Bulletin includes Part II of our examination of recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement efforts related to the use of third-party intermediaries. Part II takes a detailed look at DOJ's April 2016 FCPA enforcement plan, which added ten prosecutors to DOJ's FCPA unit and initiated a pilot program through which companies may be able to avoid prosecution or achieve lower fines via voluntary disclosure to and cooperation with DOJ. The article also suggests seven keys to an effective FCPA due diligence system.
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Third-Party Intermediaries Present Increased FCPA Exposure for Companies Doing Business Abroad >
May 9, 2016
By: Ronald H. Levine
Mehreen Zaman of our Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Group recently had published in the Business Crimes Bulletin the first of two articles examining recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement efforts as related to third-party intermediaries.
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Intent as an Essential Element When Prosecuting Environmental Crimes >
April 13, 2016
By: Ronald H. Levine
My partner Michael C. Gross from our Environmental Group recently authored a short response piece to accompany the article, "Time for Environmental Crimes,” by Rena Steinzor in the March/April issue of The Environmental Forum, the magazine of the nonpartisan Environmental Law Institute.
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Plan Ahead, Stay On Top of Government and Tech Changes, and Be Ready to Call the FBI: Key Lessons from the PHI Protection Network Conference >
March 22, 2016
By: Abraham J. Rein
Late last week, the health care data security community gathered in Philadelphia for the PHI Protection Network Conference. The diverse group of speakers included in-house data security officers, technology consultants, academics, attorneys, and a variety of influential federal government representatives. I was in the audience. A handful of key themes were reiterated in various ways throughout the two-day gathering.
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The Government Pushes The False Claims Act Envelope; Government Contractors Push Back >
March 2, 2016
By: Barbara Rowland and Yune D. Emeritz
In recent weeks, corporations have pushed back against Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Service (HHS) efforts to expand False Claims Act (FCA) remedies to conduct beyond the FCA's explicit reach. Yet a huge incentive exists for DOJ to push the FCA envelope: DOJ's recently released 2015 Civil Division fraud recoveries - totaling over $3.5 billion - establish a six-year trend of recoveries in excess of $3 billion annually.
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Two Points and a Lesson from PrivacyCon, FTC's Digital-Privacy Conference >
January 19, 2016
By: Abraham J. Rein
Last week, on January 14, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) convened PrivacyCon, a first-of-its kind conference bringing together policymakers, academics, and technology researchers to discuss the challenges surrounding online privacy as we navigate between a fixed-internet world, a mobile one, and the growing “internet of things.” I was in the audience, and I came away with two major points and a lesson for white collar defense lawyers and their clients.
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Interview with Victor Song, Former Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) >
January 15, 2016
Peter Hardy interviews former Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), Victor Song, about the future of international tax enforcement. International enforcement has been a top priority for the IRS for many years, and Mr. Song, who now leads his own consulting firm, has had a critical role in that effort.
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DOJ's New Appetite for Prosecuting Food Companies and Their Executives >
January 13, 2016
By: Barbara Rowland and Yune D. Emeritz
The DOJ, together with the FDA, is increasingly investigating and prosecuting food companies for the sale of adulterated food products. Coupled with the Yates Memo, the September 2015 memorandum by DOJ Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announcing DOJ's emphasis on holding individual employees accountable for corporate misconduct, this puts food company executives, as well as food companies, at increased risk of being charged criminally for adulterated products.
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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Provides First Test of DOJ's Yates Memo Policy >
January 6, 2016
By: Aaron S. Mapes and Carolyn H. Kendall
Post & Schell's Environmental and White Collar Groups examine how the recent VW emissions scandal comes at a time when the DOJ's intention to prosecute high-level executives for corporate wrongdoing, as outlined in the Yates Memo, may face its first true test.
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U.S. Supreme Court to Decide the Viability of the Implied Certification Theory of False Claims Act Liability >
December 8, 2015
By: Matthew T. Newcomer
On December 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a challenge to the federal government's hotly-contested and Circuit-splitting “implied certification” theory of False Claims Act (FCA) liability. The implied certification theory has been a versatile and lucrative tool for whistleblowers and for the government, and a Supreme Court ruling on the viability of this prosecution theory may provide clearer boundaries and more certainty for those who do business with the government.
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A Conversation with Darpana Sheth of the Institute for Justice About Legal Challenges to Civil-Forfeiture Laws >
November 30, 2015
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office recently settled, in part, a federal civil-rights class-action lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief in regard to its civil-forfeiture policies. I had the opportunity to speak with Darpana Sheth, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice and the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, about this development.
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FCC Takes on Hospitality Wi-Fi Management Again: More Sanctions, Unresolved Concerns >
November 4, 2015
By: Abraham J. Rein and Charles W. Spitz
On Monday, November 2nd, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took more enforcement steps in its campaign against Wi-Fi blocking, "the practice of blocking unauthorized Wi-Fi hotspots that let consumers share mobile data access with other devices, like laptops and tablets" in hotels and convention spaces. This comes on the heels of a $750,000 settlement with Smart City Holdings over its Wi-Fi blocking at multiple convention centers, and a late-2014 settlement of $600,000 with Marriott over similar conduct.
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HHS-OIG Senior Counsel Riordan Focuses on Kickbacks, Accountability, and the Role of Compliance in Pharma Compliance Congress Keynote >
October 27, 2015
By: Barbara Rowland
On Wednesday, October 22, 2015, the 16th Annual Pharma Compliance Congress in Washington, D.C., was kicked off by keynote speaker Mary Riordan, HHS-OIG Senior Counsel and perhaps OIG's most well-known face to the pharmaceutical industry. In her talk, Ms. Riordan laid out three hot button areas for company compliance professionals: kickbacks, individual accountability, and the role of compliance in business operations. We thought these were worth sharing, particularly because two of the areas -- a jump in kickback cases and individual accountability in the investigation and resolution of corporate investigations -- were themes also emphasized by the government speakers at the AUSA Roundtable panel.
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A Conversation with UVA Law's Brandon Garrett About the DOJ's Swiss Bank Program >
October 22, 2015
By: Carolyn H. Kendall
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with my former law professor, Brandon Garrett, about the DOJ's Swiss bank program. Professor Garrett is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, and author of the recent book Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations. Professor Garrett has written and spoken extensively about white collar corporate prosecutions and the use of non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements in the corporate prosecution context.
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Further Thoughts About The “Yates Memo” >
October 19, 2015
By: Ronald H. Levine
Now and then, we enshrine Deputy Attorney Generals for DOJ policy memoranda issued in their name (e.g., the “Ogden Memo” on discovery). The white collar bar then dissects DOJ's policy rationale and any operational impact for the defense. Last month's “Yates Memorandum” regarding “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing” is no exception.
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PharMerica Settlements Highlight Potential for Dual False Claims Act and Controlled Substances Act Liability for Invalid Prescriptions >
August 29, 2015
The American Society for Pharmacy Law's (ASPL) Rx Ipsa Loquitur
By: Barbara Rowland and Matthew T. Newcomer
In the July/August 2015 issue of Rx Ipsa Loquitur, the newsletter publication of the American Society for Pharmacy Law (ASPL), Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Principal Barbara Rowland, and Principal Matthew T. Newcomer, examine potential dual False Claims Act and Controlled Substances Act liability for Medicare Part D and Medicaid providers.
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HHS's Data Security Problem: Lessons for the Private Sector >
August 11, 2015
By: Steven J. Fox and Abraham J. Rein
Recently, the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce cataloged a series of potentially-serious data security failures at the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). The Committee's report reveals, among other things, that HHS division systems have been hacked five times in the past three years, and traces the root of the problem to HHS's treatment of data security as subordinate to operational priorities.
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Heightened False Claims Exposure: 60-Day Period to Repay Begins When Overpayment is Suspected Rather Than Confirmed >
August 6, 2015
By: Barbara Rowland and Matthew T. Newcomer
In a significant decision this week affecting Medicaid and potentially Medicare healthcare providers, a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held that federal False Claims Act (FCA) liability applies to providers that do not repay “identified overpayments” within 60 days of “when a provider is put on notice of a potential overpayment, rather than the moment when an overpayment is conclusively ascertained.”
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Why a Recent Decision on Medicare and Medicaid Overpayments Has Providers on High Alert >
August 5, 2015
By: John N. Joseph
John Joseph talks with Modern Healthcare about a District Judge's decision in Kane v. Healthfirst Inc. et al. and U.S. v. Continuum Health Partners Inc. et al., and its impact on providers
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Keeping Government Environmental Investigations Civil >
July 2, 2015
Business Crimes Bulletin
By: Ronald H. Levine
In the lead article for the July 2015 issue of Business Crimes Bulletin, Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Chair Ronald H. Levine, and Environmental Principal Michael C. Gross, review recent environmental prosecutions and offer best practice tips for responding to civil investigations and avoiding criminal prosecution.
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Potential Class Action Highlights Cyber-Identity Theft Issues in the Tax Industry >
April 30, 2015
By: Abraham J. Rein and Carolyn H. Kendall
The tax industry has an identity theft problem. According to the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), the IRS estimates that in 2013 it paid out approximately $5.8 billion in tax refunds to filers later determined to be identity thieves.
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Market Manipulation: Staying a Step Ahead >
April 8, 2015
By: Ronald H. Levine and Abraham J. Rein
The article, in the April 2015 issue of Public Utilities Fortnightly, examines U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) policing of fraud and market manipulation in energy markets, and notes that, "between 2007 and the end of 2014...FERC assessed civil penalties of $602 million and ordered disgorgement totaling almost $300 million."
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Recent Developments in FTC vs. Wyndham Underscore Importance of Cybersecurity Vigilance in the Hospitality Industry >
March 30, 2015
By: Abraham J. Rein and Marc H. Perry
On Friday, March 27, the parties in FTC vs. Wyndham, a key data security case with the potential to deeply impact the hospitality industry's cybersecurity practices" filed special supplemental briefs that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals requested during oral arguments earlier in the month.
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Pennsylvania Bank Consents to $1.5 Million Assessment for Failing to File Required Suspicious Activity Reports Regarding Transactions by Bank Insider >
March 3, 2015
By: Carolyn H. Kendall
On February 27, 2015, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty against the First National Community Bank of Dunmore, Pennsylvania for willful violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
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Managing Wi-Fi Networks on Business Premises: Aggressive Enforcement and Unanswered Questions >
February 2, 2015
By: Abraham J. Rein
On Friday, January 30, 2015, Marriott International, Inc. (Marriott) the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and Ryman Hospitality Properties (Ryman) announced the withdrawal of their petition seeking clarity from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding businesses' ability to control Wi-Fi connectivity on their premises. It was probably the right decision strategically. However, certain key regulatory questions are unresolved, with no promise of a ready resolution forthcoming.
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Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Pursues New Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Banks' Anti-Money Laundering Programs >
January 8, 2015
PABanker Magazine
In the December 2014 issue of PABanker, the magazine of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Principal Peter D. Hardy and Associate Carolyn H. Kendall explore the obligation being added to the already significant requirements of banks' Anti-Money Laundering (AML) programs.
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D.C. Circuit Reaffirms Application of Attorney-Client Privilege to Internal Investigations >
July 2, 2014
By: Barbara Rowland
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal's recent opinion in In Re Kellogg Brown & Root is a victory for corporations and their lawyers across the nation, reaffirming the application of the attorney-client privilege to documents prepared during an internal investigation conducted pursuant to a corporate compliance program.
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Article: "The Federal Prosecutor As Regulator: Good Manufacturing Practices and The False Claims Act" >
May 29, 2013
By: Ronald H. Levine
In the May 2013 issue of the Law Journal Newsletter's Business Crimes Bulletin, Post & Schell Principal Ron H. Levine explores the potential expansion of False Claims Act actions against medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers for alleged violations of the FDA's current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) regulations.
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Sleepless Nights: Compliance Challenges Facing Today's Medical Device Executives >
May 3, 2013
By: Ronald H. Levine
In an article in the May 3, 2013 issue of Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor, Ron Levine examines the list of compliance challenges that medical device executives need to consider as they risk analyze to allocate compliance resources.
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The Fifth Amendment Meets Password Protection >
July 6, 2012
By: Abraham J. Rein
Earlier this year, two federal courts weighed in on what surely is an important legal question affecting criminal investigations in the twenty-first century, and one that is significant for potential white collar targets or defendants.
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New Civil E-Discovery Rules for Pennsylvania Courts >
June 11, 2012
By: Ronald H. Levine and Abraham J. Rein
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted an amendment to the Rules of Civil Procedure, as the Commonwealth joins a growing number of states with rules specifically addressing the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) in civil litigation. The amendment makes it more important than ever that potential litigants be prepared for e-discovery disputes, armed with technical knowledge and legal know-how.
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