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The United States is witnessing a dramatic increase in the investigation and prosecution of business institutions and their executives and employees. Federal and state prosecutors and regulators, armed with new statutes and increased penalties, have placed institutions and individuals under great scrutiny in virtually every industry.

The lawyers in Bracewell's White Collar Defense, Internal Investigations and Regulatory Enforcement Practice possess the skill and experience critical to conduct internal investigations for companies and their audit or special board committees, to defend clients in the face of a criminal, civil or regulatory investigation or prosecution and to develop, review and audit corporate compliance programs to minimize the risk of violations of laws or regulations and, if subject to a government investigation, to reduce the likelihood of prosecution. 

The substantive matters we handle are broad and include the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; environmental crimes; broker-dealer violations, accounting and financial fraud; government contracts and false claims act/Qui Tam matters; healthcare fraud; tax issues; and antitrust issues.

White Collar Defense and Regulatory Enforcement

On the federal level, we represent companies and individuals under investigation by Congress, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We also defend registered entities and individuals in proceedings before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). On the state level, we frequently represent companies and individuals under investigation by state prosecutors as well as state Attorneys General and other state banking, insurance and consumer protection agencies.

Internal Investigations

Due to the increased vigilance of regulators in enforcing statutes, and enhanced financial incentives to whistleblowers, corporations must be proactive in ensuring compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. Accordingly, we regularly conduct internal investigations worldwide for companies in the financial, technology, energy, insurance, and retail industries before and after regulatory inquiries. 

Corporate Compliance

A thorough internal investigation often involves a review and audit of corporate compliance relating to a wide range of statutes and regulations. While the content of a compliance review depends on a corporation's organizational and management structure and geographic footprint, we examine, revise and develop corporate compliance programs, including reporting systems, financial and accounting controls and employee training programs. Such programs can minimize the penalties associated with any violations that may occur despite the presence of an effective compliance program.

Our White Collar Team

Prior to making their mark in the defense bar, many of our lawyers served in leadership positions at the Department of Justice, including Chief of the Criminal Fraud Section; the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Southern District of New York, and the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas; the SEC; the New York (Manhattan) and Dallas County District Attorneys' Offices; and FERC. Our roster includes former United States Attorneys and several lawyers who have the invaluable experience of having served as both DOJ prosecutors and SEC enforcement attorneys. These lawyers offer an insider's view of how corporations and individuals should respond to a government investigation.