Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Fraud

Bribery is a bad thing. Most people can agree on this simple statement, and yet Congress needed to pass The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) into law in 1977 in order to have the right to police the corrupt practices of multi-national corporations. Corporations were found to be using company assets for bribes to obtain & maintain business, avoid paying taxes or for other anti-competitive purposes. Investigations in the 1970s by Congress and the SEC led to more than 400 companies admitting to varied forms of large, institutionalized corporate bribery schemes.

The FCPA today is dually enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission, which covers both the criminal and civil violations of the Act. The law makes it illegal to bribe or attempt to bribe any foreign government official to obtain to retain business. The books and records provision of the FCPA requires that issuers maintain a system of internal accounting controls to prevent any accounting—missteps?–. The law has impacted every industry imaginable from telecommunications, oil & gas, defense contracting, medical devices and equipment to agriculture, transportation, pharmaceuticals and entertainment.

FCPA Fraud includes:

  • Bribing, attempting to bribe or promising to bribe a foreign government official
  • Corrupt payments through third-party intermediaries.
  • Misrepresenting bribes as expenses such as travel, consulting fees, commissions or education.
  • Off-the-books accounting.
  • Failing to provide an effective internal control system to manage the firms’ assets. 

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