Due to government shutdowns, office closures and different policy priorities there was a lull in white collar crime enforcement in recent years. However, as more and more offices and cities return to normal, and with a change in administrations, many agencies are ramping up enforcement activities. Indeed, as of just March 2021, the Department of Justice announced charges for nearly 500 individual defendants for various fraud schemes. Many, if not most of these revolve around these new funding and loan initiatives. The Small Business Administration has received over 150,000 complaints on their complaint line related to possible fraud in their disaster relief programs. This is from March 2020 to April 2021, which is a stark difference from the 1,000 complaints received in the entirety of 2019.
New administration and new enforcement efforts
These are also new enforcement initiatives with the new administration. Specifically, there is a new push to prosecute corporate white-collar crimes, which was announced in October of last in in the DOJ’s Corporate Crime Advisory Group and Initial Revisions to Corporate Criminal Enforcement Policies. The DOJ even created a Corporate Crime Advisory Group.
Getting caught in the dragnet
The last two years have seen a swath of new government programs that offer funding for various purposes. These new funding schemes often have complicated and untested rules that complicate compliance. As a result, it may be easier for New Yorkers to run into trouble.
With all of these new initiatives, a key takeaway for our five borough readers is that as enforcement increases, anyone can be caught in the dragnet. We can be our own boss. We can be an employee. It does not matter. If one is in a position of trust, they can find themselves with a white-collar crime charge.