Last week, FRA Directors Doel Kar and Jenna Voss attended the 8th Annual White Collar Crime Institute on 15 May at the NYC Bar in New York. Below are their comments on the three keynote speakers at this year’s Institute.
Karen Seymour, General Counsel of Goldman Sachs was the keynote speaker at the Kick Off Reception. Ms. Seymour was previously Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP and also held several roles at the US Attorney’s office. She commented on the differences between being in-house and outside counsel. One of her observations was the extent to which corporates practice innovation in their businesses. Ms. Seymour also spoke of her experience as a prosecutor on the Martha Stewart insider trading case. The uniqueness of that insider trading case was the (successful) strategy of pursuing charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy (as opposed to insider trading and securities fraud alone).
Eugene Soltes, Associate Professor at Harvard Law School and author of the book “Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of The White-Collar Criminal” delivered the key note speech during the morning of the Institute. Professor Soltes shared the example of Scott London, former partner at KPMG, who was guilty of misappropriating client information. Mr. London was caught red-handed accepting cash in exchange for non-public information about his clients. Mr. London is reported to have said he had deemed it a very small thing— as they were dealing with very small dollars. In addition to commenting on the thought process of a white-collar criminal, Professor Soltes highlighted the importance of processes in an organization and how organizational design can indeed save someone from going to jail.
The final keynote speaker, Hon’ble Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, spoke of two types of newer investigations, criminal sanctions enforcement and cybercrime. Some of the key takeaways from his address follow:
- The Congress has ratcheted up the pressure in the last 10 years and along with the Treasury Department to impose secondary sanctions
- Clients should update and maintain sanctions systems. Transparent and complete information should be provided to US operations/ Compliance
- Today sanctions work amounts to white collar crime work. Clients should therefore have US white collar counsel present
- Laws relating to data transfers may limit data that can be provided- however it is best to be transparent regarding such limitations– upfront –during an investigation
- Cybercrime includes both cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime
- The Dark Web and the use of cryptocurrency allow avenues for laundering of money. The Dark Web makes it easier for criminals to be become cyber-criminals
Finally the Hon’ble US Attorney, sought to dispel three myths:
- Private sector victims of cyber-attacks believe that law enforcement officers will take over their systems. However, the data required often does not include sensitive, confidential information- they often collect logs and forensic data.
- Private sector companies believe law enforcement will turn over information gathered to other regulators. However, federal law enforcement view companies recovering from intrusion as victims— and do not turn over information to the regulators.
- There is a belief that law enforcement views information as a one way street. However, where allowed, they do share information with private sector victims, so as to help remediate and protect against future attacks.
He concluded by stating his office would continue to pursue white collar investigations aggressively.