White-collar criminals who escaped notice during the Trump administration may be held to greater scrutiny under Biden, according to a recent article in the Portland Press Herald. Corporate wrongdoing, cheating on taxes, and taking foreign bribes are expected to be key focuses for federal prosecutors.
Under the Trump administration, there was a 30% drop in average annual prosecutions of white-collar crimes and a 76% drop in corporate fines. The focus of the current administration has been more on violent crime, gangs, immigrants, and left-wing activists rather than corporate wrongdoing.
Biden, who started his career as a public defender, is expected to put Wall Street firms and corporate executives under greater scrutiny. Experts quoted in the article anticipate cases involving healthcare fraud, insider trading, securities fraud, antitrust violations, and stock swindles. There also are potential charges associated with misuse of the $525 billion Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic.
Cases, however, can take years to build, as evidenced by recent settlements. Goldman Sachs pleaded guilty this year and agreed to pay $2.9 million for overseas bribes, a case that began during the Obama administration.
According to the article, the tone for white-collar crime enforcement will be set when Biden names his Attorney General.