| NEW YORK, July 30
NEW YORK, July 30 The U.S. Department of Justice
is in the process of hiring a compliance expert to help evaluate
whether to charge corporations that fail to detect and prevent
wrongdoing by employees, a top department official said on
A former prosecutor has been offered the job and is
undergoing background checks, Andrew Weissman, who heads the
fraud section of the agency's Criminal Division, said in an
The new counsel, whom he declined to name, will ferret out
whether a corporate compliance program is "robust ... or mere
window dressing," Weissman said. The candidate works in the
private sector, has experience in building compliance programs,
and has worked in the financial, health care and technology
industries, he added.
The Justice Department recently negotiated plea agreements
with major banks, including UBS AG and Barclays Plc
, after they failed to stop traders from manipulating
benchmark interest and foreign exchange rates. The agreements,
which include fines, require improved compliance programs.
Weissman said the fraud section will increasingly focus on
compliance in health care, noting that companies need the tools
to spot illegal transactions such as Medicaid referral payments
disguised to get around anti-kickback statutes.
The fraud section also oversees securities and Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations.
Weissman said the department will rigorously evaluate
compliance programs, and consider whether to prosecute or seek a
lesser penalty against a company for wrongdoing by executives.
"We'd like to make sure we hold companies to a tough but
realistic standard," he said.
New York attorney Aaron Wolfson, a former prosecutor who has
worked in compliance at JPMorgan Chase & Co, said the new
counsel job shows the government is recognizing how critical
compliance is in preventing fraud and corruption in financial
"This person should recognize when you have rogue employees
versus a systemic issue," he said.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Richard Chang)