White Collar Watch (April 2018 • No. 1)

Download the full April 2018 edition of White Collar Watch

Welcome to the spring edition of our White Collar Watch. Hopefully by the time you are reading this, winter’s storms (finally?) are behind us.

2018 has gotten off to a busy start for our practice and attorneys. We look forward to continuing to work with our clients on understanding new regulations and assessing trends that may affect their companies and industries, and stand ready to assist when and as needed.

In this edition, we serve up a white collar alphabet soup, with pieces on AML, e-ORBs, FCA, FCPA, and MVRA: how FinTech companies can mitigate their risk of exposure to regulatory enforcement actions by ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering laws; the maritime industry’s increasing use of electronic oil-record books to improve the monitoring of shipboard environmental compliance; the likelihood that False Claim Act qui tam cases may increase following a new Department of Justice memorandum issued this past January; the ­increasing scrutiny of hiring practices of financial institutions with respect to Asian markets; and a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving a circuit court split over whether the mandatory restitution statute requires restitution for the costs of client’s internal investigations. 

We hope you enjoy this edition, and welcome any feedback.

Joseph G. PolukaInbal P. Garrity, and William B. Shields
Editors, White Collar Watch


Client Investigative Expenses: Reimbursable as Restitution, or Not? 
by Joseph G. Poluka, Mark M. Lee, and Huaou Yan    
On January 12, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Lagos v. United States, 864 F.3d 320 (5th Cir. 2017), cert. granted, 138 S. Ct. 734 (U.S. Jan. 12, 2018), to resolve a persisting circuit split over whether the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (“MVRA”) requires restitution for the costs of internal investigations and attorneys’ fees incurred separately and independently from the government’s official investigation.
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The FinTech Revolution: Complying with Anti-Money Laundering Laws to Avoid Regulatory Enforcement Actions
by Bridget Mayer Briggs and Ariel S. Glasner

As we recently highlighted, financial technology (“FinTech”) companies are attracting increasing attention from ­financial services regulators, owing in part to the proliferation of criminal actors who utilize FinTech companies to perpetrate frauds. In this article, we examine how companies can best minimize the risk of exposure to a regulatory enforcement action by ensuring their compliance with applicable Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) laws.
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Financial Institutions’ Hiring Practices under the Microscope: The Importance of Anti-Corruption Programs
by Shawn M. Wright, Mayling C. Blanco, and Richard Wolf

On February 14, 2018, another major financial institution disclosed that it is under investigation for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). This disclosure comes at a time when the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) continue to scrutinize the hiring practices of financial institutions in and with respect to their Asian markets.
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False Hope for False Claims Act Defendants? Government Dismissals of Qui Tam Cases May Increase
by Nicholas C. Harbist and Lauren E. O’Donnell

On January 10, 2018, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Civil Fraud Section Director, Michael Granston, sent an internal memorandum (the “Memorandum”) to attorneys responsible for civil False Claims Act (“FCA”) enforcement. The Memorandum provides guidance to DOJ attorneys considering whether to dismiss FCA qui tam cases. 
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Environmental Compliance Aboard Commercial Ships: Electronic Recordkeeping Is Overdue
by Gregory F. Linsin and Kierstan L. Carlson  

U.S. environmental laws impose substantial recordkeeping and reporting obligations on regulated industries. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and state agencies use these records to monitor compliance and evaluate the need for enforcement actions. Historically, the EPA resisted transitioning to electronic recordkeeping for environmental compliance data due to concerns about the reliability and security of electronic reporting.
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Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Litigation Concerns: Class Actions, Criminal Exposure, and Criminal Tax Implications

Wednesday, April 11 • 1:00–2:00 p.m. (EDT) • Online via WebEx 
Click here to register

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are not only dominating the headlines, they’re changing the way companies do business. As the regulatory, transactional, and litigation landscapes continue to evolve at a rapid pace, Blank Rome’s attorneys have maintained cutting-edge knowledge of the issues facing a broad range of businesses in a wide range of areas.

This seminar will cover some of the most important issues facing companies today, including:

  • Blockchain basics—what you need to know
  • White collar issues surrounding the adoption of blockchain applications or the use of digital currencies, including SEC, CFTC, state enforcement efforts, and criminal tax implications 
  • Class action vulnerabilities and implications

Please contact Marianne Talbot for more information about this event.


Ariel S. Glasner presented a CLE on Understanding and Analyzing the SEC Investigative Report on Initial Coin Offerings for Lorman Education Services (March 29, 2018).

Mayling C. Blanco served as a panel member for BITCOINS & BLOCKCHAINS & CRYPTOTECHS, OH MY! Demystifying the World of Virtual Currency and Distributed Ledger Technology, and Understanding How They Are Changing the World as We Know It at the 2018 Hispanic National Bar Association Corporate Counsel Conference & Moot Court Competition (March 16, 2018).

Gregory F. Linsin presented on MARPOL Security Agreements: Past Time for the U.S. Coast Guard to Remedy Abuse at the Connecticut Maritime Association’s 2018 Shipping Conference (March 14, 2018).

Joseph G. Poluka presented on the topic of Enforcement at the American Conference Institute’s 31st FDA Boot Camp (March 9, 2018).

© 2018 Blank Rome LLP. All rights reserved. Please contact Blank Rome for permission to reprint. Notice: The purpose of this update is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, the accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. This update should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.