Spotts Fain’s Compliance and Government Investigations Team assists companies of any size--from start-up to Fortune 500--by developing compliance programs, conducting compliance audits and internal investigations and defending them from government investigations and enforcement actions. Today's regulatory and compliance environment involves ever increasing scrutiny from federal, state and local agencies. Good business practice dictates that companies of all sizes assess their individual risks and take steps to ensure their employees are acting with integrity and in a lawful manner. The prosecution of a company, or any of its employees, includes risks that are not limited to fines and prison sentences, but can also involve debarment, administrative investigation, congressional inquiries, civil enforcement proceedings, whistleblower allegations, and third-party litigation, creating significant financial and reputational exposure. Early intervention by our Compliance and Government Investigations Team can help preclude or minimize the potential liability your company may face.
Compliance, Audits and Internal Investigations
Our enforcement defense experience gives us the ability to provide valuable risk assessment of a company's compliance, assist the company in reducing risk exposure, and strengthen corporate integrity. Our team regularly assists business entities--from large corporations and partnerships to sole-proprietorships--in all aspects of local, state, and federal compliance, including:
- assessing individual areas of risk;
- developing compliance policies and procedures;
- conducting compliance training and auditing;
- preparing training materials for managers and staff;
- responding to internal complaints;
- advising with respect to changes to internal compliance policies and procedures where necessary; and
- counseling regarding appropriate disciplinary measures to assure compliance.
Our team efficiently and discreetly conducts compliance audits and internal investigations to detect improper behavior that may undermine a company’s bottom line or its public reputation. We have successfully resolved numerous matters without any public knowledge or adverse publicity.
Whether in response to an external inquiry (such as a Grand Jury subpoena) or an internal complaint, conducting an internal investigation can be a necessary tool for companies. A compliance audit or internal investigation can alert the company to problems before they become costly mistakes, assess a company’s potential exposure, resolve issues internally without damage to reputation, deter third-party litigation, and may preclude or minimize the risk of a government investigation or enforcement action.
Government Investigation and Enforcement
Even the best compliance programs inevitably are tested by external government investigation and/or enforcement actions. Our team has successfully represented companies facing state and federal investigation in matters including, but not limited to, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, immigration and worksite enforcement, environmental enforcement, discrimination, false claims, consumer fraud, and banking and financial regulatory compliance.
Electronic Discovery and Information Management
Investigations often involve enormous amounts of electronic data and pressure to identify the critical facts and documents with great speed. To meet these demands and to provide increased speed and efficiency to the investigation process, our Compliance and Government Investigations Team capitalizes on Spotts Fain’s investment in the latest technologies and expertise provided by our Electronic Discovery Group. Being able to quickly analyze the critical facts of an investigation is a significant advantage to our team and to our clients.
- Compliance Policy and Procedure Development - Every good compliance program begins with effective policies and procedures. We work with companies to tailor a comprehensive compliance policy best suited for the particular business environment. This policy serves as a guide for the team and can serve as a mitigating factor if the business is faced with government enforcement.
- Compliance Training - We provide training on a variety of topics through on-site training, web-based training, handbooks and comprehensive, but simple best practice guides.
- Audits - We customize our compliance audits to fit the company’s risk for enforcement, areas of concern and resources available.
- Internal Investigations - As issues arise, our team assists by conducting internal investigations so that companies can resolve alleged violations of company policy and/or law and remediate as appropriate.
- Witness Representation - We advise companies and individuals through the investigation process and advocate the witness’ position with the government in an effort to reduce the time and expense associated with serving as a witness. For example, we regularly advise companies responding to Grand Jury Witness or Document subpoenas.
- External Enforcement Defense - We understand the enforcement process, the key players and the law and use that knowledge to navigate the often murky waters of enforcement to the best resolution. If resolution without prosecution is not possible, we aggressively defend companies and their managers facing criminal prosecution.
- Defended multiple Fortune 500 companies facing criminal investigation regarding employee identity and work authorization verification practices and allegations regarding the hiring or continuing employment of unauthorized workers.
- Represented a major financial institution in a grand jury investigation regarding activities related to the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
- Defended a Fortune 500 company in the food industry on multiple occasions from alleged violations of environmental law regarding air and water releases of ammonia from their refrigeration systems.
- Defended a Fortune 500 company in the food industry from alleged violations of environmental law regarding their disposal methods regarding a by-product of their manufacturing process.
- Represented a Fortune 500 manufacturer regarding a joint federal, state and local investigation regarding whistleblower allegations related to the company’s wastewater treatment plant operations.
- Conducted an internal investigation for a Fortune 100 chemical company regarding the theft of trade secrets.
- Conducted internal investigation for major financial institution regarding allegations related to their employer-sponsored visa program.
- Defended numerous employers from ICE Notices of Inspection of Form I-9s.
- Defended multiple employers from DOJ investigations regarding allegations of discrimination related to their employment eligibility verification policies and procedures.
- Advised numerous employers regarding immigration-related compliance matters, including the implementation of compliance programs, developing immigration compliance policies and procedures, auditing internal procedures, reviewing contract provisions, auditing Form I-9s and conducting Form I-9 and other immigration-related training.
- Represented a Fortune 500 industrial manufacturer in a joint investigation by two U.S. Attorney’s Offices regarding alleged false statements related to a defense-related government contract.
- Member of the defense team in the prosecution of ITT by the DOJ for violations of export control laws.
- Represented multiple companies responding to grand jury witness and/or document subpoenas.
- Represented numerous companies and individuals serving as witnesses in a criminal investigation and/or trial.
As needed, our Compliance and Government Investigations Team works closely with our other practice areas with substantive experience in areas such as Banks and Financial Institutions, Business Immigration and Compliance, Energy and Environmental, Health Care Law, Intellectual Property, and Labor and Employment Law. Additionally, our Compliance and Government Investigations Team proactively works with our Corporate and Business Transactions Teams to identify compliance issues before they become enforcement nightmares and to keep our business clients ahead of the curve.
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