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DOJ Self-Disclosure Program Yielding More Reports of Misconduct

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 22, 2024


A 2023 policy revision by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has resulted in more companies voluntarily disclosing misconduct to prosecutors, The Wall Street Journal reported. The new policy provides that companies that self-report and fully cooperate can avoid prosecution or qualify for lower fines.

The DOJ has started to receive disclosures on a wider range of potential criminal activity than previously reported, including securities and health care fraud, said acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri at a Global Investigations Review conference in Washington, D.C. on March 21. In some cases, companies that voluntarily confess to wrongdoing have not been prosecuted by DOJ. Such an agreement not to prosecute is known as a declination.

“When you see these declinations, … they are just a fraction of the self-reports we are getting,” said Argentieri. “We are seeing a mix, and I think that’s exciting, and it’s showing that our policies are working.”

In 2023, the DOJ received twice as many disclosures as it did in 2021, according to Argentieri, who oversees investigations into a range of corporate crimes as head of the department’s criminal division.

The greatest number of disclosures by companies relate to possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials.

Voluntary disclosure programs have been pivotal in bringing change across industries, Argentieri told the conference attendees. In a case involving reinsurance company Jardine Lloyd Thompson, the company’s disclosure allowed prosecutors to bring cases against four individuals involved in the alleged misconduct.

“These self-disclosures allow us to learn about conduct that maybe we would have never known about,” said Argentieri. “It can really change an industry.”