Response to Lawrence A. Cunningham, Deferred Prosecutions and Corporate Governance: An Integrated Approach to Investigation and Reform
The standard method, these days, to resolve a criminal investigation of a corporation, particularly those with publicly traded shares, is a deferred or non-prosecution agreement. Under such agreements, the company generally pays a fine, some of which have been quite hefty, and perhaps submit to outside monitoring. Upon announcement of the resolution of the case, a company can be expected to issue a contrite public statement committing itself to making a greater effort toward future compliance with the law. For particularly severe or high-profile cases, such as when the Department of Justice wants to show how tough it is on crime, a guilty plea by the organization may be required. Finally, prosecutors may require a company to alter its internal governance structure, perhaps by splitting the jobs of chief executive and chair of the board of directors or creating new reporting lines within the organization.