New Amendments to Sentencing Guidelines May Help Reduce Sanctions for Corporate Wrongdoing

On April 29, the United States Sentencing Commission submitted amendments of the federal Sentencing Guidelines to Congress for approval. The Sentencing Guidelines are rules adopted by the Sentencing Commission that set out a uniform sentencing policy, which is generally advisory and not mandatory in nature, for individuals and organizations convicted in the U.S. federal courts system of felonies and serious misdemeanors, including offenses under the federal securities laws. Some of the new amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines are significant and should be carefully studied by companies and their compliance personnel. In the right circumstances, the amendments could confer significant benefits on a company facing criminal charges if the company has an effective compliance program in place.

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