In July of 2019, Jim was one of 50 compliance officers chosen from over 500 applicants from around the nation to be selected to participated in a two day Compliance Symposium sponsored by the FBI and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. The symposium was held at the FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. and the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia covering different aspects of corporate compliance. The Compliance officers represented various businesses, institutions and organizations including AAA Motor Club, Best Buy Stores, American Red Cross, banks, and medical fields.
The FBI views compliance as being so essential and important to an organization that they have their own internal compliance unit as well as the investigative compliance unit for outside entities. This was the 7th year for the symposium as the FBI is building relationships with private sector entities regarding the importance of corporate compliance.
During one symposium session, a former FBI agent from the Compliance Unit and a federal prosecutor were asked which of the 7 Elements of a (OIG) Compliance Program was the most important. The prosecutor stated all 7 elements were important and none of them should be overlooked. He went on to say when an entity is being audited or investigated the only thing which can help the entity is if a good faith effort is being made to have an effective compliance program. The compliance program is the only mitigating factor which can be taken into consideration to determine if any discovered violations are to be considered fraud or abuse under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The prosecutor also commented on the importance of having a baseline audit conducted by a non-biased entity who is trained and knowledgeable in compliance matters to determine where an organization’s compliance program stands regarding problem areas or issues. Internal monitoring is fine but without the appropriate baseline audit an organization is not truly able to build an effective compliance program.
The prosecutor’s comments re-enforce the importance and need for having proper compliance programs for your practice or organization.