White Collar Watch (December 2017 • Vol. 1, Issue 3)

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Welcome to the December 2017 edition of White Collar Watch, Blank Rome’s White Collar Defense & Investigations group quarterly newsletter.


Welcome to the holiday edition of our White Collar Watch. This edition includes an article discussing IRS audit priorities, the third installment in our series on FCPA investigations, an article on new compliance requirements for UK businesses, and a new FinTech series article that discusses blockchain’s impact on federal regulatory enforcement.

It has been a year of change in many ways, as we adjust to the new administration and new technologies that impact many of our clients’ industries. 2018 likely promises yet more dramatic developments, and we will be ready to assist you in responding.

As we head into the final days of 2017, we want to wish all of you, and your families, the happiest and healthiest of holiday seasons.

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


The FinTech Revolution: The Impact of Blockchain Technology on Regulatory Enforcement
by Michelle Ann Gitlitz, Ariel S. Glasner, and Bridget Mayer Briggs

A bedrock of the FinTech revolution is blockchain technology—a digital, decentralized ledger of all transactions that take place across a peer-to-peer network of computers. The ledger is visible to anyone within the network, and permanently and securely records, in “blocks,” the history of exchanges that takes place between the peers in the network. All the completed and authenticated transaction blocks are connected and “chained” from the beginning of the chain to the most current block hence the name “blockchain.”

IRS Focuses Its Audit Priorities on Captive Insurance 
by Jed M. Silversmith

The terms “captive insurance” and “federal income tax code” are anything but captivating. Yet, captive insurance has captivated the attention of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), which has placed captive insurance on its list of the “Dirty Dozen Tax Scams”—an annual list of the most abusive positions taken by taxpayers. The IRS’s aggressive stance on captive insurance has become more focused after the IRS’s victory in Avrahami v. Commissioner, 149 T.C. No. 7 (Aug. 21, 2017).

The Criminal Finances Act of 2017: New Compliance Requirements for UK Businesses
by Mark M. Lee and Naomi Zwillenberg

On April 27, 2017, the United Kingdom enacted the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (the “Act”), which provides that companies and partnerships (“relevant bodies”) are criminally liable if they fail to implement adequate procedures to prevent economic crime and fraud (e.g., tax evasion) by employees or agents, even when the company was not aware of the crime.

The Benefits of Corporate Anti-Corruption Programs: No Charges
by Carlos F. Ortiz, Shawn M. Wright, Mayling C. Blanco, and Ariel S. Glasner

The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued 15 declination letters in 2017 notifying companies of their decision not to pursue charges in connection with alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). These declinations are a strong signal to companies that they should have strong anti-corruption systems in place, and that when they find themselves facing a potential violation, how they choose to respond can have a far-reaching impact on the outcome of any government investigation.


Blank Rome Named “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by Human Rights Campaign in 2018 Corporate Equality Index

Blank Rome LLP received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (“CEI”), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (“HRC”).

Blank Rome Honored for Advancing Women in the Legal Industry in 2017

2017 has been a banner year for Blank Rome’s Women’s Forum and diversity initiatives, with the Firm receiving significant recognition from Bloomberg, Working Mother, and the Philadelphia Business Journal for its efforts in advancing women in the legal industry and beyond.

Blank Rome Joins the 2017 Global 100

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that the Firm has been ranked in the 2017 Global 100, joining as one of five new entrants to The American Lawyer report.

© 2017 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.