At ABA Conference, Top FCPA Law Enforcement Officer Talks White Collar Women – Criminal Law


United States: At ABA conference, FCPA’s top enforcement officer talks about white-collar women

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At 36e ABA’s annual conference on white collar crime, this year also marked the 4e Annual White Collar Women Luncheon, which included a question-and-answer session with Lorinda Laryea, Senior Deputy Head of the Corrupt Practices Abroad Act (FCPA) Unit of the Ministry’s Fraud Section of Justice. Laryea discussed the importance of gender and racial diversity in white collar criminal work, as well as international cooperation in overseas corruption cases, the growing use of non-email communications by company employees and the future of government investigations in a post-COVID world.

Laryea began by recognizing the challenges of gender and racial diversity in the white collar application space. Giving advice from her own career experience, she noted that “your mentors don’t have to be like you.” The handful of men at the Women in White Collar luncheon seemed to agree, acknowledging the role men play in advancing gender equality. Laryea emphasized the value of her career as a clerk for federal judges, especially for clerks interested in becoming federal prosecutors. She discussed some challenges unique to women as well as universal challenges for all parents, such as navigating childcare in the face of endless Zoom meetings during the pandemic. Cultivating this diversity of gender and race is paramount, she explained, as companies need to hear a diversity of perspectives and juries also respond better to more diverse testing teams.

Laryea also shared her perspective on her significant experience in prosecuting corruption cases abroad. As FCPA prosecutors relied on the notoriously slow MLAT process, less formal international cooperation is now essential, as authorities around the world recognize the benefits and effectiveness of talking to each other and sharing evidence in an iterative fashion. She also highlighted the government’s use of data analytics to detect, investigate and prosecute white collar crimes. As we have seen before, companies are facing a new challenge of preserving, collecting and sometimes even producing huge volumes of communications other than emails in text messages and on the latest encrypted messaging applications and ephemeral that their employees choose to use. She expressed her hope that as the government gradually returns to face-to-face work, investigators and prosecutors will use a hybrid approach to the in-person issue versus the virtual issue. As she noted, prosecutors learned during the pandemic that they could effectively interview a witness in Europe in the morning and a witness in Brazil in the afternoon.

We look forward to hearing more about Laryea and other prominent government lawyers, including Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, later in the conference. Check back here to find out more!

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