What does the flurry of indictments against individuals at Volkswagen and Takata tell us about compliance officer liability after the Yates Memo? Eric revisits the impact of the Yates Memo on compliance officer liability with the news of these prosecutions. The Yates Memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and released on September 9, 2015, addresses individual liability for corporate wrongdoing. In the memo, DAG Yates lays out new guidance to Department of Justice attorneys who are prosecuting individuals involved in corporate wrongdoing. An earlier episode, “Does the Yates Memo increase my liability as a compliance officer?”, examines data collected by the United States Sentencing Commission regrading the rates of criminal prosecutions for individuals involved in corporate wrongdoing.
In this episode, Eric tells you why he holds to his original statement that the most important function of the Yates Memo is to open the door to and encourage important discussions about corporate culture and strong compliance and ethics programs. Volkswagen and Takata can serve as cautionary tales about the impact of a weak culture and compliance and ethics program.
Eric also goes beyond the news stories and examines the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against VW’s compliance officer, Oliver Schmidt. He talks about the conduct that Schmidt allegedly engaged in that led to his arrest. He also discusses what compliance officers can do to avoid individual criminal liability.