The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that the Obama administration has requested $29.2 billion for the Justice Department's national security and traditional law enforcement missions and it has stated a renewed focus on economic crime and financial fraud. The fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget request represents a 5.4 percent increase from the FY 2010 budget and an increase of 2,880 positions over the prior year. The roughly $2 billion increase from year to year will enhance many of DOJ's existing programs including the Department's "vigorous efforts to prevent, investigate and prosecute financial, mortgage and health care fraud."
In seeking to restore confidence in the financial markets and protect the overall stability of the federal relief programs, the FY 2011 budget requests a $234.6 million increase to create over 700 new positions to defend the interests of the United States government. Roughly half of this budget increase will bolster economic crime prosecution in order to continue DOJ's efforts to aggressively pursue mortgage fraud, corporate fraud and other economic crimes. DOJ aims to increase its white collar caseload by five percent and add 109 white collar positions to U.S. Attorney's Offices, five fraud positions to the Criminal Division and 143 FBI agents devoted to white collar crime. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services budget requests a $60.2 million increase specifically for DOJ components involved in the investigation and litigation of healthcare fraud cases.
DOJ asserts that the economic fraud budget increase will support its role in the federal financial recovery effort through criminal and civil litigation and that the recent expenditures of federal funds through the various federal relief programs "create an unprecedented target for fraud on the government." To combat these potential frauds, DOJ has focused its efforts to investigate and prosecute such crimes. DOJ observes that "improved ability to collect debts, enforce tax laws and prosecute fraud will likely have high rates of return on the federal government's investment of resources through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF)."
All companies subject to federal jurisdiction -- not only those in traditionally high-risk industries such as finance, but also any company that may in any way receive federal bailout monies, and any company doing business in countries perceived as corruption risks -- can anticipate that DOJ will continue to pursue a wide range of economic crimes cases. Within the past week, British defense contractor BAE Systems announced that it reached a $400 million settlement with DOJ on charges of conspiring to make false statements to the U.S. government in connection with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Gary G. Grindler, acting deputy attorney general, reportedly warned, "Any company conducting business with the United States that profits through false statements will be held accountable."