White Collar Watch (December 2018 • No. 3)

Download the full December 2018 edition of White Collar Watch.


All of us here at Blank Rome wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season and start to 2019.

We are pleased to present our final 2018 edition of White Collar Watch, which includes timely articles that address key industry issues, such as how to avoid fraud in the areas of merchants’ use of “sales suppression software” as well as in the FinTech space. In addition, Blank Rome’s Insurance Recovery team discusses recent court decisions that could limit a company’s ability to recover for SEC disgorgements. We also are alerting you to a new Department of Justice program—the “China Initiative”—that specifically targets Chinese companies at a level not previously seen. Lastly, this edition includes continued discussions of recent False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act developments.

We hope this edition is of interest to you and your company, and thank you for your readership and friendship this past year. We look forward to being of service to you in 2019.

With warm regards,

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


Don’t Get Zapped: Enforcement against Businesses That Use Sales Suppression Software Is on the Upswing
by Jed M. Silversmith

State and federal authorities are ramping up civil and criminal enforcement efforts against merchants who use electronic sales suppression (“ESS”) software, also known as zappers and phantom-ware (collectively “zappers”). These devices are usually software patches that retailers apply to their Point of Sale (“POS”) software. Read More »

DOJ Declares “Enough Is Enough”—Targets Chinese Companies with “China Initiative”
by Carlos F. Ortiz, Mayling C. Blanco, Russell T. Wong, Matthew J. Thomas, and Alexandra Clark

On November 1, 2018, then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of the China Initiative (the “Initiative”) to support the U.S. Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) “priority of countering Chinese national security threats...” The Initiative consists of a task force aimed at identifying suspected Chinese trade theft cases for investigation and enforcement. Read More »

You Win Some, You Lose Some: Recent FCA Litigation Developments
by Nicholas C. Harbist and Lauren E. O’Donnell

This article explores two recent developments in False Claims Act (“FCA”) litigation—one that should provide reassurance to potential FCA defendants, and one that may trouble them.
Read More »

Insurers Seize on Kokesh Ruling to Disclaim Coverage for SEC Disgorgement
by Justin F. Lavella and Alexander H. Berman

In April 2017, white collar and securities attorneys, as well as potential defendants, cheered the Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion in Kokesh v. SEC, which held that civil disgorgement, when imposed as part of a Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) enforcement proceeding, is a “penalty” and therefore subject to a five-year statute of limitations. Read More »

The Maritime Industry: The DOJ FCPA Unit’s Next Port of Call
by Carlos F. Ortiz, Mayling C. Blanco, and Alexandra Clark

The maritime industry, by its nature, involves the movement of goods and vessels across international borders, and requires routine interaction with government officials. Historically, many in the industry viewed bribery of these officials in many parts of the world as a “cost of doing business.” Read More »

The FinTech Revolution: Fraud Prevention in the FinTech Space
by Ariel S. Glasner and Bridget Mayer Briggs

As the FinTech industry rises in popularity, the number of digital transactions—also known as e-commerce—is sky-rocketing, creating ever-greater opportunities for fraud. These vulnerabilities are compounded by an expansion in the range and assortment of digital transactions. As a result, there is a critical need for companies in the FinTech industry to ensure that they have sound and comprehensive fraud prevention strategies, policies, and programs in place. Read More »


Blank Rome’s white collar defense attorneys are actively engaged in attending and speaking at events that focus on key industry topics, ranging from blockchain and cybercurrency to compliance, criminal tax enforcement, bankruptcy, audit committee investigations, money laundering, and more.
Read More »


Blank Rome Teams Join Forces to Provide Expanded Government Relations & Political Law Services to Clients

Former Federal Election Commission Chair Scott Thomas and team expand capabilities of Blank Rome Government Relations in the areas of campaign finance, election, lobbying, ethics, and tax law. Read More »

Blank Rome Achieves Mansfield Certification for Participation in Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule Program

Blank Rome LLP is proud to announce that the Firm has achieved Mansfield Certification after successfully completing Diversity Lab’s inaugural one-year Mansfield Rule pilot program. The certification recognizes 41 “trailblazing law firms” participating in the Mansfield Rule that have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women and attorneys of color for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and senior lateral positions, to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership. Read More »

© 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.