FTC To Expand Criminal Referral Program

The Federal Trade Commission today voted to expand its criminal referral program as part of its work to stop and deter corporate crime. While the FTC’s authority is limited to civil enforcement, the policy statement adopted at today’s open meeting will enhance the agency’s efforts to combat the criminal misconduct the FTC uncovers in consumer protection and antitrust investigations.

The new measures outlined in the policy statement will ensure that cases are promptly referred to local, state, federal and international criminal law enforcement agencies so that corporations and their executives are held accountable for criminal behavior. 

“At a time when major corporate lawbreakers can treat civil fines as a cost of doing business, government authorities must ensure that criminal conduct is followed by criminal punishment,” said Chair Lina M. Khan. “Today the FTC is redoubling its commitment and improving its processes to expeditiously refer criminal behavior to criminal authorities, promoting accountability and deterrence.” 

Consumer protection misconduct and antitrust violations such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, market allocation deals and other related conduct cause great harm to the American public, leading to significant financial losses and warranting both civil and criminal enforcement efforts. The new policy statementoutlines several ways the agency plans to improve its cooperation with its criminal law enforcement partners to stop and deter consumer protection and competition criminal violations