Charles Duross, former deputy chief of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit for the Department of Justice, will join the litigation department of law firm Morrison & Foerster as a partner. He also will head its global anti-corruption practice, effective Feb. 17.
As the head of the Justice Department's FCPA Unit for almost four years, Duross was in charge of all FCPA investigations, prosecutions and resolutions in the United States from April 2010 through his departure from the Justice Department on Jan. 24, 2014. Under his leadership, the FCPA Unit resolved more than 40 corporate cases, resulting in approximately $1.9 billion in monetary penalties and the conviction of more than two dozen business executives and money launderers.
Working closely with his counterparts at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Duross was a principal author of the Justice Department's SEC's joint publication, “A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act." Prior to being appointed deputy chief, Duross served as assistant chief of the FCPA Unit from October 2008 to April 2010, and as a line prosecutor with the fraud section from December 2006 to October 2008.
After beginning his career as a litigation associate at a national firm in 1996, he joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida in 2001, where he prosecuted a variety of white-collar cases, including bank fraud, embezzlement, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, securities fraud and trademark violations. Duross rose to the position of deputy chief in the major crimes section in Miami before moving to Washington in 2006 to join the fraud section.
Law professor Michael Koehler, known more commonly online as “the FCPA professor” and a vocal critic of current enforcement policy, criticized the move. "I have long suggested a prohibition on DoJ (or SEC) FCPA enforcement attorneys with supervisory and discretionary authority from providing FCPA defense or compliance services for five years upon leaving government service," Koehler wrote. "Indeed, the legitimacy and credibility of the DoJ and SEC's entire FCPA enforcement programs hinge on this policy proposal being adopted."
Duross is not the only Justice Department criminal fraud section lawyer to go to a lucrative paying job in the private sector. Mark Mendelsohn was formerly deputy chief of the fraud section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, where he was responsible for all criminal investigations and prosecutions under the FCPA, prior to joining the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in April 2010. At Paul, Weiss, Mendelsohn chairs the firm's FCPA group and serves as a member of the white collar crime and regulatory defense, internal investigations, and securities litigation practice groups, earning in the range of $2.5 million annually.