Enforcement actions present serious risks and challenges to businesses and individuals. The threat of an investigation can delay or derail important business goals, tarnish reputation, and reduce consumer confidence. One inquiry may trigger parallel investigations or legal action from other government entities and private litigants. Parallel white collar criminal investigations of individuals can arise in tandem with civil enforcement actions against businesses. Enforcement actions may also influence ongoing supervisory relationships with federal and state regulators, resulting in significant remediation and penalties.
Buckley helps clients manage the complications arising from investigations and enforcement actions by developing and implementing practical strategies informed by our extensive experience with how state and federal agencies operate. We are efficient and forward-thinking problem solvers, and excel in helping clients minimize collateral consequences of investigations and navigate parallel actions by multiple agencies. As an investigation unfolds, we rely on our deep regulatory knowledge of consumer financial services and other areas to help clients understand and mitigate risks and engage in effective advocacy with the government.
Our team has successfully litigated and resolved investigations and enforcement actions conducted by state and federal agencies including the Department of Justice and U.S. attorneys’ offices, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Housing and Urban Development, state attorneys general, and other prudential bank and state regulatory agencies. These matters have included a variety of issues, ranging from alleged violations of consumer financial statutes (e.g., Truth in Lending Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Housing Act) and claims alleging unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, to allegations of fraud under the False Claims Act and Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, and matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, money laundering, and the Bank Secrecy Act. We also represent corporations and their executives in connection with congressional investigations examining industry business practices, as well as with congressional inquiries and hearings.
Our team has successfully represented clients in victories at trial, appeals courts, and at the Supreme Court. Many of our greatest successes, however, are not public because we convinced an enforcement agency not to take action.
Select representations in this area include:
- A large national bank in a CFPB investigation regarding compliance with the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E
- A financial institution in negotiated settlement in Federal Trade Commission v. Avant, LLC, in the Northern District of Illinois
- Multiple top mortgage lenders and servicers in FCA and FIRREA investigations by the DOJ and United States Attorney’s Offices, including the representation of eight mortgage servicers in U.S. ex rel. Grubea v. Rosicki, Rosicki & Assoc., 318 F. Supp. 2d 680 (S.D.N.Y. 2018), an FCA qui tam litigation in the Southern District of New York, which resulted in a dismissal with prejudice that the American Lawyer called “a big win for a veritable army of outside counsel led by Buckley”
- Three major banks — BB&T, Regions Bank, and IberiaBank — in successful resolutions of multiyear FCA investigations concerning Federal Housing Administration lending, reaching agreements with the DOJ and HUD that included no admission of liability, no administrative sanction, and no prospective relief
- Verizon Wireless in a settlement with the CFPB, Federal Communications Commission, and 51 attorneys general alleging that Verizon Wireless permitted third parties to place unauthorized charges on consumers’ wireless phone bills
- A leading homebuilder, mortgage originator, and mortgage servicer in parallel investigations of various subsidiaries by a large multistate attorney general group, the CFPB, the DOJ, and HUD, among others
- Multiple indirect auto finance companies in DOJ and state AG investigations into subprime auto loan origination and securitization practices
- JPMorgan Chase Bank in a joint CFPB and Maryland AG investigation into allegations that loan officers accepted leads and marketing assistance from a now-defunct title company in exchange for referrals, resulting in a settlement of less than $1 million with no admission of liability
- Customers Bank in enforcement action before the Federal Reserve Board concerning UDAP allegations related to financial aid disbursement services for students offered in conjunction with a third party
The federal government’s financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic is measured in trillions of dollars, and the intensity of oversight related to that response reflects this unprecedented commitment. All involved in the government’s response, particularly financial services providers, should expect increased scrutiny of how those dollars have been and will be spent.
Buckley’s white collar, enforcement, congressional investigations, class actions, complex civil litigation, and False Claims Act & FIRREA teams are prepared to assist with government and congressional inquiries, examinations, investigations, and government and private party litigation that arise from the pandemic response. We work closely with our financial services regulatory practices to combine the firm’s core substantive experience with our deep knowledge of government investigations and litigation of all kinds.
More than 70 inspectors general throughout federal agencies and other governmental entities have the power to issue subpoenas, coordinate with civil enforcement agencies, make referrals to and work with criminal prosecutors, issue public reports, and liaise with Congress. These investigations and potential enforcement actions can significantly strain resources, impede normal business activity, and cause reputational damage.
Buckley regularly guides clients through these inquiries and investigations, including those triggered by or involving whistleblowers, as well as handles the civil and criminal enforcement actions and congressional inquiries that arise from IG investigations.
Outstanding enforcement action and litigation team.Chambers USA
"Force majeure in the Covid era – What now?" by Elizabeth E. McGinn, Ryan S. Pollard, and Anthony Carral (Sports Litigation Alert)
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted all aspects of the global economy, and sports is among the many industries that moved quickly to minimize the disruption. Very early on, members of the sports industry scrambled to analyze their force majeure clauses as customers, vendors, and key...Articles
Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia turned political and judicial heads by refusing to immediately rubber stamp the government’s decision to drop the prosecution of Michael Flynn after it had already obtained a guilty plea. However, he is not the first...Buckley Commentary & Analysis
Latin America as a region has long had a problem with public corruption, and the coronavirus pandemic has made things worse. As governments shovel public funds to fight the pandemic and its economic fallout, public officials are swindling millions, including in the graft-prone public health sector...Articles
One of the federal government’s most immediate responses to the coronavirus crisis was a highly visible campaign against profiteering. While the absence of an overarching federal anti-price gouging statute has forced prosecutors to improvise and legislators to contemplate new laws in order to...Buckley Commentary & Analysis
"CARES Act puts inspectors general back in the spotlight" by Daniel R. Alonso, Preston Burton, & Meredith Leeson (New York Law Journal)
Federal Inspectors General—the nation’s watchdogs over government agencies and government programs—are back in the news. First, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act , received close attention not only for its $2 trillion infusion of taxpayer dollars into the U.S. economy, but also...Articles
The growth in cross-border criminal investigations has intensified the risk of overlapping prosecutions by multiple countries, potentially resulting in duplicative prison sentences and/or fines. Some countries recognize that multiple punishments for the same conduct are unjust and have taken...Buckley Commentary & Analysis
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, signed in March 2020, enacted an unprecedented level of emergency government spending to provide public health relief and stabilize an economy damaged by the pandemic, and included oversight provisions to monitor how the $2 trillion is spent...Articles
The CARES Act will infuse more than $2 trillion into the U.S. economy — the largest such action in history. But if history is any guide, wherever there is a big pot of money, some people will look to steal it. Some desperate individuals might misrepresent their eligibility for unemployment benefits...Articles
"Less isn’t always more: 1001(a)(1) Concealment charges in voluntary disclosure submissions" by Paige Ammons and Preston Burton (Business Crimes Bulletin)
In any investigation where a client is deposed or interviewed by a government agent, experienced lawyers should be wary of potential false statement liability under 18 U.S.C. §1001, and likely will have advised their clients of the paramount need to be truthful. Voluntary communications, initiated...Articles
"DOJ corporate enforcement guidelines are placing individual defendants between a rock and a whirlpool" by David S. Krakoff, Nadav Ariel, and Bradley A. Marcus (Business Crimes Bulletin)
For companies suspected of wrongdoing, cooperating with Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations and selfdisclosing their misconduct often appears to be their only option to avoid prosecution and reduce large financial penalties. But, these benefits often come at a price, especially to company...Articles
"Equipment finance: Understanding licensing obligations" by Kathryn L. Ryan and Moorari K. Shah (Equipment Leasing & Finance Magazine)
Licensing Considerations, Generally The applicability of state licensing laws may depend on multiple factors, including transaction structures, business entity types and whether the activities are appropriately classified as “commercial” or another type of non-consumer transaction. Although the...Articles
Federal regulators have historically shied away from pursuing claims against private equity and venture capital firms for the activities of portfolio companies, but enforcement actions brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice within the last year signal a...C-Suite Review
"Intra-franchise no-poach agreements: Recent developments and trends" by Adam Miller and Scott T. Sakiyama (Bloomberg Law)
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has obtained binding settlement agreements from 23 prominent franchisors in the nine months since he announced an initiative to eliminate no-poach clauses nationwide, and he has already expanded beyond the fast-food industry. Scrutiny of the clauses, which...Articles
"The devil is in the details: LabMD imposes limitations on the FTC’s enforcement authority" by Elizabeth E. McGinn and Sasha Leonhardt, (Cybersecurity Law Report)
In the latest data security case with significant implications for all enforcement actions, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit struck down a cease-and-desist order as impermissibly vague. By ruling against the FTC in its long-running and contentious dispute with LabMD, the...Articles
Ticket brokers — many a fan’s go-to for season passes or hard-to-get tickets for playoff games — have for decades played an integral role in the ticket supply chain. In some cases they have even enjoyed close, informal, and long-lasting relationships with teams across the country. But more recently...Articles
Recent news related to the investigation of Russian influence in the U.S. political process has drawn the public’s attention to the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) system and raised questions about its integrity. Financial institutions, among others, are required to file SARs with the Treasury...Articles
“Social media in the current enforcement landscape,” by Elizabeth E. McGinn, John B. Williams, and Timothy Coley (Banking Exchange)
Perhaps no aspect of the internet has grown so broadly in the past decade as social media. From its infancy at sites like MySpace, Friendster, and “TheFacebook” (originally open only to students at select colleges), to the current industry leaders of Facebook (now open to all, and touting more than...Articles
The new leadership at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has explicitly stated that it expects to pursue fewer enforcement actions than it has in the past. While the anticipated reduction in CFPB enforcement activity may cause some companies to feel a sense of relief, there may be less cause...C-Suite Review
The centuries-old, common-law principles by which sovereign entities take unclaimed or abandoned property are coming under renewed scrutiny in the United States, as states pursue different policies that threaten to trigger legal disputes. Companies whose businesses give rise to these types of...Articles
"The role of State AGs in solving student loan crisis" by Sasha Leonhardt and Dana Walsh Kumar (Law360)
State attorneys general are the chief legal officers of their state; state attorneys general are the chief law enforcement officers of their state; and state attorneys general must protect their citizens and vigorously enforce their state’s consumer protection statutes. As broad as these powers and...Articles
On January 19, California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced the issuance of subpoenas to a dozen debt collection companies as part of its investigation into consumer complaints about alleged unlawful, unfair, deceptive, or abusive debt collection practices. This...InfoBytes
On January 15, the OCC announced a $3.5 million penalty against a national bank’s former general counsel for his role in the bank’s incentive compensation sales practices. As previously covered by InfoBytes , in January 2020, the OCC announced charges against the former general counsel and other...InfoBytes
On January 15, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a $390 million civil money penalty against a national bank for allegedly violating the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations. The settlement resolves an investigation into the bank’s alleged failure to maintain...InfoBytes
On January 19, the CFPB issued a final rule codifying the Interagency Statement Clarifying the Role of Supervisory Guidance issued by the CFPB, OCC, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and the NCUA on September 11, 2018 (2018 Statement). As previously covered by InfoBytes , the October 2018 joint proposal...InfoBytes
On January 19, the CFPB announced a settlement with a California-based online lender resolving allegations that the company violated the Military Lending Act (MLA) when making installment loans. This settlement is part of “the Bureau’s broader sweep of investigations of multiple lenders that may be...InfoBytes
On January 14, the SEC announced a whistleblower award of nearly $600,000 in connection with a successful enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower provided new, highly valuable information during the course of the investigation, as well as substantial assistance,...InfoBytes
On January 7, the SEC announced whistleblower awards totaling over $1.1 million in separate enforcement actions. According to the first redacted order , the SEC awarded three whistleblowers nearly $500,000 for providing information in two related enforcement actions. Information voluntarily...InfoBytes
Daniel R. Alonso quoted in Associated Press article, "New law cracks down on shell companies to combat corruption"
In an Associated Press article, Daniel R. Alonso noted that the recently passed Corporate Transparency Act “is a game changer in some serious ways,” after discussing the many difficulties that have traditionally been encountered when trying to locate and expose criminal activity with anonymously...In The News
On December 22, the SEC announced a more than $1.6 million award to a whistleblower whose critical information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower provided ongoing assistance to SEC staff as well as “original information...InfoBytes
On December 30, the CFPB announced a settlement with a Nevada-based consumer lender resolving allegations that the company violated the Military Lending Act (MLA), the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), and the CFPA when making installment loans. The settlement is part of “the Bureau’s sweep of...InfoBytes
Buckley recognized by Chambers USA as a “top-notch” firm in financial services and white collar work
Buckley has once again received top recognition in financial services regulation, white collar crime/government investigations, and fintech from Chambers USA, which ranks the country’s leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas based on research and client interviews....Announcements
Buckley recognized by Chambers USA as a “first-rate firm” in financial services; “crème de la crème” for White Collar practice
Buckley has once again received top recognition in financial services regulation and white collar crime/government investigations from Chambers USA, which ranks the country’s leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas based on research and client interviews.
Buckley Sandler recognized by Chambers USA as “an excellent firm” with “a fine stable of expert attorneys”
Buckley Sandler once again has received top recognition in financial services regulation and white collar crime/government investigations from Chambers USA, which ranks the country’s leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas by researching the firms and interviewing...Announcements
Buckley Sandler Partner Thomas A. Sporkin has been named to Securities Docket’s 2017 “Enforcement 40” list, which recognizes 40 of the “best and brightest” securities and enforcement attorneys in the country.
Securities Docket reviewed...Announcements
Buckley Sandler has again been cited as one of the nation’s top law firms by The Legal 500 in its 2017 rankings, with the recognition of four practice areas:
- Financial Services: Litigation
- Financial Services: Regulatory
- Cyber Law (Data Protection and ...
Daniel P. Stipano Receives Leadership Award From Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists
The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) awarded Buckley Sandler partner Daniel P. Stipano the 2017 AML/CTF Leadership in Government award at the ACAMS MoneyLaundering.com 22nd Annual International AML & Financial Crime Conference on April 4, 2017, in Hollywood...Announcements
WASHINGTON, DC (January 3, 2017) – BuckleySandler LLP, a premier financial services, government enforcement and litigation law firm, announced today that former Deputy Chief Counsel for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Daniel P. Stipano has joined the firm as a Partner in its...Press Releases
WASHINGTON, DC (November 18, 2014) – Buckley Sandler LLP is pleased to announce that Douglas F. Gansler, Attorney General of Maryland, will join the firm as Partner in its Washington, DC office upon completion of his second term as Maryland Attorney General in January 2015. Gansler, the former...Press Releases
WASHINGTON, DC / LONDON, ENGLAND (September 8, 2014) – Buckley Sandler LLP , a leading financial services and criminal & civil enforcement defense law firm, announced today the opening of its first international office, located in London. James T. Parkinson has relocated from the firm’s...Press Releases
Our Enforcement Actions & Investigations Team
"Force majeure in the Covid era – What now?" by Elizabeth E. McGinn, Ryan S. Pollard, and Anthony Carral (Sports Litigation Alert)
"When the government wants to cut and run, but a judge won’t be a rubber stamp" by Nadav Ariel
"How to tackle coronavirus corruption" co-authored by Daniel R. Alonso (Foreign Policy)
Recent Blog Posts
January 22, 2021
DFPI launches debt collection investigation
January 22, 2021
OCC settles with bank’s former GC on account openings
January 22, 2021
FinCEN reaches $390 million settlement with bank for BSA violations
January 22, 2021
CFPB finalizes rule stating supervisory guidance lacks force of law
January 22, 2021
Online lender settles MLA violations for $1.25 million