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Individual prosecutions as deterrence

Tom Fox | February 13, 2017

Sally Yates, before she became known as the acting attorney general fired by the President for refusing to litigate his Muslim refugee ban, was usually known for signing off on the “Yates Memo,” in which she tried to moniker the individual accountability memo that of course will forever be known under her name. The Yates Memo was hardly a dramatic change, as it recommitted the Justice Department to prosecuting individual lawbreakers who worked in corporations. While the Yates Memo was perceived to be in response to the lack of any Justice Department prosecutions from the 2008 financial crisis, in the world of The Man From FCPA, it was treated as only one more iteration by the Justice Department in a continuum of policy pronouncements.

The indictment of six individuals from the ongoing Volkswagen scandal certainly informs the government’s execution of the precepts of the Yates Memo. Drawing from research into street criminals,...

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