By: James W. Kraus
Principal Deputy Attorney General Stuart F. Delery, who heads DOJ’s Civil Division, used last Friday’s speech to the Second Annual Consumer Protection Summit at Georgetown University School of Law to review the 2012 accomplishments of the Consumer Protection Working Group. In his remarks, he highlighted the efforts of the Consumer Protection Branch in securing of over $1.95 billion in criminal fines, forfeiture, restitution and civil disgorgement, as well as 23 criminal convictions during 2012. He also indicated that there is more to come.
The Consumer Protection Working Group is part of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, a grouping of federal agencies, working in partnership with state governments, formed in the wake of the financial crisis to pursue those thought to be responsible for numerous abuses in the financial industry. As we reported previously, DOJ plans to make increased cooperation with the states on financial fraud a top priority, seeing opportunity for shared resources to create, as Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West put it, “a formidable force-multiplier when it comes to accountability and deterrence.”
His comments are yet another reminder of DOJ’s dedication to maintaining the trend of increased government enforcement in the name of consumer protection, including criminal prosecutions if necessary, against companies and those who run them.
Delery ticked off a laundry list of priorities for the Civil Division generally and the Consumer Protection Branch specifically, including “dietary supplement safety, debt relief scams, phantom debt scams, payday lending, lottery scams, and even romance scams.” He added, however, that their work is even broader than that diverse grouping.
He went on to indicate that cases brought during 2012 included cases against food manufacturers that produce food under insanitary conditions; drug makers who mislead consumers about the safety and efficacy of the drugs they produce and market; and those who commit fraud in the mortgage industry. We have reported on specific examples of those types of prosecutions recently, including:
While Delery also mentioned the importance of “collaboration, education, and outreach,” his overriding message was that DOJ and its sister agencies will use all tools available in pursuit of their consumer protection mission. His comments are yet another reminder of DOJ’s dedication to maintaining the trend of increased government enforcement in the name of consumer protection, including criminal prosecutions if necessary, against companies and those who run them. The trend is more than perception, as all objective statistical data supports this conclusion. His remarks are also a reminder of the need for increased vigilance in establishing, maintaining and enforcing corporate compliance programs.
James W. Kraus, of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP, has been selected as the recipient of the DRI’s Albert H. Parnell Outstanding Program Chair Award which will be presented during the DRI Annual Meeting on October 17 in Chicago, Illinois. This award honors a program chair who created a dynamic educational program enhancing… Read more »Read More
James W. Kraus has been appointed to serve as the Chair of the Directors and Officers Coverage Subcommittee of the Defense Research Institute’s (DRI) Government Enforcement and Corporate Compliance Committee (GECC). DRI is the largest international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. The GECC provides opportunities for education… Read more »Read More
The Pietragallo Law Firm and S-E-A Limited are co-hosting an event on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 titled, “Defending Trucking and Vehicle Cases in the 21st Century.” During this dynamic event which begins at 11:30am, industry leaders will review a variety of topics unique to the trucking industry including: “Accident Reconstruction through 21st Century Visualization” and… Read more »Read More
On Thursday, February 20, Pietragallo Partner Jim Marrion will sit on a panel about the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. During this three-hour CLE, offered through the Allegheny County Bar Association, panelists will discuss, in-depth, the issues under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law that attorneys need to be aware… Read more »Read More