The public at large may view instances of white-collar crimes as less serious or harmful than other types of charges, such as robbery or assault. However, the theft of intellectual property, money laundering and wire fraud can cause a great deal of damage to the victims of these crimes, something that recently prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to seek tougher punishments for those who commit them.
Reuters reports that the department wants to focus especially on repeat offenders and require greater cooperation from those involved, no matter the nature of the white-collar crime, as some individuals connected with the U.S. DOJ believe current views toward these crimes are much too lax and that new procedures may assist with creating stiffer penalties.
New cooperation guidelines
In the past, the DOJ required corporations suspected of white-collar crimes to name those individuals who initiated or became considerably involved in such activity. The department takes any type of cooperation into consideration during the prosecution stage, but this type of procedure allowed some guilty parties to escape punishment. The DOJ hopes to implement new laws that require the naming of all involved individuals, no matter the level of that involvement.
Tapping past activity
Because the department seeks to crack down on repeat offenders of white-collar crimes, it will ask prosecuting attorneys to investigate a company’s record regarding past offenses. Depending on that record, the company in question may have more options for settling a dispute or charge. This may assist the DOJ with focusing on corporations that may require greater monitoring in the future.
It is unclear whether the Department of Justice will continue to offer plea bargains with repeat offenders of white-collar crime, although representatives hint that the department may start to move away from these past practices.