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Justice Department releases memo on corporate crime

When a corporation in California is accused of committing white collar crimes, its reputation is at risk. However, company executives can often work with prosecutors to develop nonprosecution agreements that include fines and corporate monitors. By agreeing to the terms of a nonprosecution agreement, the corporate parent company will not be required to plead guilty.

On Sept. 9, the Department of Justice released a memo in which it claimed that it would start ‘cracking down on corporate crime.” However, the memo did not include plans to end the controversial practice of allowing corporations to enter into nonprosecution agreements. Instead, the Department of Justice said that it would now be requiring corporations to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explained that the mission of the Department of Justice is to make those who commit crimes accountable for their actions. After the memo on corporate crime was issued, many critics of nonprosecution agreements said that corporations are not actually made accountable for their criminal actions unless they are forced to plead guilty and face sanctions. Some argue that nonprosecution agreements promote corrupt corporate culture where corporations can buy their way out of corporate criminal liability.

Although corporate entities may not be required to plead guilty to charges, company executives often face criminal charges for their company’s alleged wrongdoing. When an individual is being charged for white collar crimes involving a corporation, an attorney may be able to help build a strong defense. An attorney may be able to help a client in a white collar crime case by arguing that the defendant was following orders from a supervisor and did not understand the implications of the actions.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.