The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Criminal Liaison Unit (BCP CLU) released its report Criminal Liaison Unit Report 2022describing the history of the BCP CLU, the operations of its programs, and the major accomplishments over the past five years. In an effort to ensure the criminal prosecution of appropriate consumer fraud cases, the BCP CLU assigns cases to partner agencies with criminal jurisdiction, including U.S. Attorney’s offices throughout the county, Department of Justice (DOJ) divisions and others.
“For the worst offenders, both individuals and companies, civil remedies may not be enough to protect the public from further harm,” said Samuel Levine, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Consumer Protection. “Government works best when agencies work together towards a common goal, and we are proud that our partnership with criminal law enforcement leads to justice for bad actors and a safer market for all of us.”
The FTC, which is not empowered to take criminal law enforcement action, created the BCP CLU in 2002 to bring the “worst criminals” to the attention of prosecutors. As it grew, the BCP CLU worked to build relationships with prosecutors and educate them about consumer fraud and fraud cases brought by the commission. Success in the initial cases demonstrated that criminal consumer protection cases were not only viable, but could result in long prison sentences.
The report notes that over the past five years, BCP CLU referrals have resulted in 107 new criminal charges, 145 total convictions, and 181 defendants sentenced for consumer fraud. The total sentence for all the defendants was 746 years, and the average sentence was 51 months (about 4.3 years) of imprisonment.
BCP CLU Report: 2018-2022
As the BCP CLU has grown over the past 20 years, the program has worked to address prosecutors’ concerns by reaching out regularly to understand their priorities. and strategically refer cases that are likely to be attractive to them, according to the report. The result was a solid reputation for providing prosecutors with strong cases that would make the most of their limited time.
A BCP CLU has also been created Annual awards, which recognizes the FTC’s Best Partners for their criminal prosecution efforts on behalf of American consumers. In 2021, given the importance of this work and the success of the BCP CLU to date, the committee issued a memorandum A statement regarding the criminal referral process and partnershipas the agency renewed its commitment to a robust criminal referral program through its competition and consumer protection functions.
The 2022 BCP CLU Report includes information on:
- Significant Early BCP CLU Cases and Outcomes;
- an overview of BCP CLU Program operations;
- A description of the BCP CLU’s cooperative efforts with other law enforcement agencies;
- List of BCP CLU Award Recipients;
- A summary of BCP CLU’s achievements between 2018 and 2022; And
- Looking to the future of the programme, including current priorities.
More information about the BCP CLU can be found here here On the Federal Trade Commission website.
Sarah Waldrop, unit chief of the BCP CLU, was the principal staff member for this report.