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DOJ Prosecutor May Not Charge Cooperating Fraud Witnesses

The top enforcer of crime on Wall Street is calling on whistleblowers to report wrongdoing under a new program aimed at uncovering illegal activity. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan, said his office would enter into non-prosecution agreements under the program with individuals involved in non-violent criminal conduct who voluntarily report offenses and cooperate with investigators, Reuters reports. Currently, cooperating witnesses with criminal culpability often enter guilty pleas in the hopes of receiving a lenient sentence. The new policy provides an alternative under which prosecutors would agree not to bring charges in exchange for meaningful cooperation

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"That, in turn, will help us bring more misconduct to light," said Williams, who has brought high-profile financial fraud and public corruption cases since becoming U.S. Attorney in 2021 including the successful prosecution of former cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried last year. The new program is focused on cases involving fraud, failures of corporate controls or bribery, and will apply only to instances in which prosecutors were not already aware of the misconduct a witness discloses to them. It will not apply to chief executive officers or chief financial officers of companies, elected officials, or other public figures.

Since taking office, Williams has prioritized speeding prosecutions. After charging FTX founder Bankman-Fried with stealing billions of dollars from the cryptocurrency exchange's customers, Williams urged anyone who participated in the scheme to "come see us before we come see you." Three of Bankman-Fried's former closest colleagues pleaded guilty and testified against him.

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