With each new President comes a new Administration. And with that new Administration sometimes comes a different approach to some issues.
President Joe Biden showed early on in his administration that he would be taking a different approach to white-collar crime than his predecessor. In fact, he set a precedent that his administration would approach white-collar crime a lot like former President Barack Obama did. Under Obama in 2010, the U.S. brought a record number of white-collar crime prosecutions.
As attorney Sam Dewey explains, Present Biden’s Department of Justice changed its charging and sentencing policy only days after President Biden entered the White House. The new language in the policy foreshadows even more white-collar criminal cases in the coming years.
Here are three areas where Sam Dewey believes the Biden administration might turn its focus.
Gary Gensler was known to aggressively enforce securities laws when he was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Now, Gensler is expected to bring that same approach to his new position as President Biden’s chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Gensler played a key role in the CFTC following the financial crisis in 2008. He is likely to renew the SEC’s focus on investigating larger Wall Street companies and scrutinizing the disclosures of public companies.
The Biden Administration has reportedly been discussing formalizing a panel, group, or individual who would focus on antitrust policies and competition in the U.S.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was a participant in various antitrust cases while serving on the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court. He also taught antitrust courses while working at Harvard Law School.
The technology industry is a likely target of future antitrust cases. In fact, the DOJ under former President Donald Trump filed a civil antitrust case against Google in October of 2020.
In 2020, the Anti-Money Laundering Act was passed, reforming a dated anti-money laundering regime. It has seven main features, including increasing the Whistleblower Program, expanding the statutory authority of regulators in the U.S. to seek foreign documents from financial institutions, and creating a private registry to track all beneficial owners of companies.
We can expect the Biden Administration to use this new authority to increase oversight or the cryptocurrency sector. A 2020 report by the Attorney General's office laid out issues related to applying current criminal statutes to the sector and we can expect this oversight to continue.
In particular, attorney Samuel Dewey points out that the Biden Administration’s DOJ will pursue charges against promoters and traders who could misrepresent the profits they make from investments in cryptocurrency.
In only his first few months in the White House, the Biden DOJ has filed various charges related to cryptocurrency already. As digital currency is rising in popularity—and becoming more mainstream—it is likely that the Biden Administration will ramp up its efforts to crack down on white-collar crime related to cryptocurrency.