Corporate Crime Deferred Prosecution Agreements: What They Are and How They Work
Corporate crime is a serious issue that affects not only the businesses involved but also their clients, employees, and the society as a whole. In response to the growing concern over corporate criminal activities, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has implemented a strategy to deter such actions and hold businesses accountable. One of the key tools used by DOJ to achieve this is the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).
A DPA is a legal agreement between a corporation and a prosecutor, in which the corporation agrees to certain conditions in exchange for the prosecutor deferring prosecution of criminal charges. Typically, a DPA arises when the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to charge a corporation with criminal activity, but does not wish to do so immediately. Instead, the prosecutor may offer a DPA to the corporation, requiring them to take certain actions in exchange for not being prosecuted.
The terms of a DPA depend on the specific case, but can include a range of requirements such as:
– The corporation admitting to wrongdoing
– Implementing new compliance policies and procedures to prevent future criminal activity
– Paying fines or restitution to victims
– Cooperating fully with any ongoing or future investigations
– Appointing an independent monitor to oversee compliance with the DPA terms
If a corporation successfully complies with all the terms of the DPA, the prosecutor will dismiss the charges against them. However, if the corporation fails to comply, the prosecution can resume the case and pursue criminal charges.
DPAs are becoming increasingly common in cases involving corporate criminal activity. In recent years, DPAs have been used in cases involving bribery, fraud, money laundering, and environmental violations, among others. One example is the 2017 case in which Rolls-Royce agreed to a DPA and paid $170 million in penalties to settle allegations of bribery and corruption.
The use of DPAs has been criticized by some who argue that they allow corporations to avoid criminal charges and continue with business as usual. However, proponents of DPAs argue that they provide a way to hold corporations accountable while also avoiding potential negative consequences such as loss of jobs or harm to innocent parties.
For businesses, the use of DPAs highlights the importance of implementing strong compliance policies and procedures to prevent criminal activity. Having effective measures in place can not only prevent wrongdoing but also demonstrate to prosecutors and the public that the company is committed to ethical and legal behavior.
In conclusion, Deferred Prosecution Agreements are a tool used by the DOJ to hold corporations accountable for criminal activity. While some may argue that DPAs allow businesses to avoid criminal charges, they do provide an opportunity for corporations to make amends and take steps to prevent future wrongdoing. As the use of DPAs continues to grow, it is essential for businesses to prioritize compliance and ethical behavior to avoid facing potential legal repercussions.