Bribery, Gratuities, and Kickbacks

COVID-19 took the world by surprise and continues to spread across the globe in more than 210 countries and counting.  The outbreak in the United States escalated rapidly, with over 585,000 confirmed cases as of April 14, 2020.  The federal government and a number of hard-hit states were caught off guard, and soon learned that their inventories of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and other life-saving equipment such as test kits and ventilators were insufficient to keep pace with the pandemic.  The demand for equipment to fight COVID-19 skyrocketed and government and commercial entities have shifted into high gear to respond.  Whether motivated by humanitarian concern or commercial enterprise, many state and local governments, companies and individuals are now looking abroad to procure critical supplies on an expedited basis.  At the same time, many foreign industrial manufacturers are positioning themselves for the high demand of exports by adapting their facilities to produce PPE.  For example, Chinese electric car maker BYD announced on March 13, 2020 it is now the largest face mask factory in the world—less than one month after converting its facilities in response to the pandemic.  In the midst of these exigent circumstances, the global supply chain landscape is replete with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act landmines—and well-intentioned companies hoping to partner with foreign PPE manufacturers could become a casualty if they don’t watch their step.
Continue Reading FCPA Landmines Beneath the Surface of the COVID-19 Crisis

The C-Suite rarely wants to consider, much less worry about, the impacts of criminal conduct on their business. The reality is, however, companies can and do get pulled into criminal and quasi-criminal enforcement actions as both victims and (albeit unintentional) perpetrators. Two areas of criminal conduct that perhaps do not receive the amount of C-Suite attention they deserve are internal trade secret theft and human trafficking.
Continue Reading How to Prevent or Defend Against Business Crimes, including Trade Secrets and Human Trafficking

On October 24, 2018, President Trump signed the “Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act” or the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act” (the “SUPPORT Act”) into law (See, “Congress Passes ‘SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act’ – A Rare Example of Bi-Partisanship” Sheppard Mullin Healthcare Law Blog, October 12, 2018). The SUPPORT Act is wide-ranging legislation comprised of over 120 separate bills aimed at combatting the opioid crisis and impacting every corner of the healthcare continuum.
Continue Reading Kickbacks Aren’t Illegal Just for Federal Health Care Programs in Recently Enacted SUPPORT Act: New Compliance Concerns for Physician-Owned Laboratories

On June 16, 2015, IAP Worldwide Services Inc., a private defense and government contracting company, agreed to pay $7.1 million to settle criminal charges under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) related to bribing Kuwaiti government officials to secure a Kuwaiti government contract. On the same day, James Michael Rama, IAP’s former Vice President of Special Projects and Programs, also pleaded guilty to FCPA charges. For U.S. Government contractors, the opportunities to provide services and expertise to foreign governments are lucrative, but this enforcement action also highlights the risks associated with obtaining such contracts.
Continue Reading Government Contracting Abroad: Beware Compliance Risks

By John Hynes

We regularly report on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") developments and have furnished subscribers with a primer on the FCPA. As expected, 2012 has proven to be yet another busy year for the government in enforcing the FCPA. This article highlights some of the most important recent developments in the anti-corruption and FCPA enforcement world, while a more comprehensive update can be found here.


Continue Reading FCPA and Anti-Corruption Enforcement Update: April – September 2012

By Alison Kleaver and Joseph Barton

One of the goals of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) is to prevent U.S. companies and individuals from paying bribes to foreign officials in exchange for business. To this end, the FCPA prohibits any domestic individual or business entity from making payments to a “foreign official” for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-2(a)(1). However, who, precisely, qualifies as a “foreign official” is the subject of much uncertainty. In particular, whether employees of a state-owned company qualify as foreign officials for purposes of FCPA is an area of great concern—and potential liability—particularly for U.S. companies doing business in Latin America where governments often have at least some level of involvement in various business sectors from education to utilities to health care.


Continue Reading Meaning Of FCPA’s “Foreign Official” Causes Uncertainty For Companies Doing Business Abroad

By John M. Hynes

In the past, we have reported on a number of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") developments and have furnished subscribers with a primer on the FCPA. The latest developments in this area relate to an investigation of the motion picture industry and its activities in China.

On April 26, 2012, Reuters reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") recently sent letters of inquiry to several prominent movie studios seeking information about their dealings in China that may constitute violations of the FCPA. Later reports indicate that the letters were sent to Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., and Dreamworks Animation.


Continue Reading FCPA Industry Sweep Strikes Hollywood

By Joseph Barton

On May 2, 2012, Federal agents with the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) special task force made the biggest Medicare bust in U.S. history, and a splash in the media, when it cracked down on a number of unrelated Medicare fraud schemes across the country that resulted in an alleged $450 million in false claims being submitted to Medicare over the past six years. A total of 107 people were arrested, including doctors, nurses, social workers, office managers, and patient recruiters. Charges ranged from submitting false billing for home healthcare, mental health services, HIV infusions, and physical therapy, to money laundering and receiving kickbacks.


Continue Reading The Federal Government Takes Aim at Medicare Fraud

By John M. Hynes

On November 1, 2011, Transparency International (“TI”) released its 2011 Bribe Payers Index (“BPI”), which ranks the countries whose companies are most likely to engage in bribery when doing business abroad. The BPI can serve as an important tool for companies in their efforts to avoid violations of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).


Continue Reading The 2011 Bribe Payers Index: Another Important FCPA Compliance Tool

By Thaddeus McBride & Cheryl Palmeri

On October 26, 2011, Joel Esquenazi was sentenced to 15 years in prison for committing and conspiring to commit both money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Esquenazi is the former president of Terra Telecommunications Corporation (“Terra”), an international telecommunications company. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), this is the longest prison sentence yet imposed in a case involving the FCPA.


Continue Reading Longest Prison Sentence Yet in FCPA Case

By Neil Ray

The U.K. Bribery Act 2010 (the “Act”) represents a fundamental reform of the U.K. anti-bribery regime and greatly expands the potential legal exposure of companies and individuals that do business, including practice of a trade or profession, in the U.K. For example, it criminalizes purely private bribery with no involvement of a government official and creates a new corporate offence of “failing to prevent” bribery. These offences are subject to unlimited fines and a 10-year maximum prison sentence for individuals. The Act bears some similarity to its U.S. counter-part, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), but is in general stricter and broader. Accordingly, companies with business operations in the U.K. must not assume that even robust FCPA compliance programs will assure compliance with the requirements of the Act.
 


Continue Reading The Long Arm Of The Crown: New U.K. Anti-Bribery Law Reaches Private Sector Bribery And Creates Offence Of “Failing To Prevent” Bribery