CFPB Temporarily Enjoined from Naming Company Under Investigation

On February 17, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras issued an Order granting in part a motion filed by a unnamed “John Doe” recipient of a CFPB civil investigative demand (CID) for an injunction preventing the Bureau from disclosing its identity pending its petition to the Court of Appeals for a stay of the CID. Specifically, Judge Contreras ordered that: “Defendants are ENJOINED, until March 3, 2017” from “publicly disclosing the identify of Plaintiff John Doe Company, by taking actions including, but not limited to, the public filing of either the civil investigative demand . . . or the Director’s Decision and Order [denying] Plaintiff’s Petition” to set aside the CID.

As previously covered by InfoBytes, the John Doe company filed an action against the CFPB back in January seeking to enjoin the Bureau from, among other things, disclosing the existence of an investigation and taking any action against the company unless and until the CFPB is constitutionally structured. The company argued, among other things, that the agency should not be able to identify it as the target of an investigation as publication of the company’s name would bring “irreparable harm” as it tries to defend itself against any enforcement action. Immediately following the District Court’s ruling against the company, it lawyers filed a Notice of Appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to try to stop the agency from moving forward.

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New Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(b) Takes Effect; Cyber Warrants Can Now Cross State Borders

A change to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect on December 1. Amended Rule 41(b) now allows courts to issue warrants for remote access to electronic data outside their jurisdiction if the location of the information has been “concealed through technological means” or when the data is in five or more districts. Thus, under the revised rule, a magistrate judge has the authority to issue a warrant outside of their district without specific knowledge of the location of the computers being searched. By contrast, warrant requests were previously limited to the search and seizure of property within the court’s own district.


FCC Enforcement Chief Touts Global Anti-Robocall Push

In an official FCC blog post published November 21, FCC Enforcement Chief Travis LeBlanc re-emphasized the agency’s efforts to work with international law enforcement partners to target fraudsters who might otherwise be outside the FCC’s reach. As explained by Mr. LeBlanc:

“Unsolicited calls and text messages are more than just a nuisance these days. They are used to perpetrate criminal fraud, phishing attacks, and identity theft schemes all around the world. These calls often overwhelm facilities, including emergency or 911 call centers. Those responsible for sending unwanted calls and texts often operate from outside of the United States, too often allowing them to evade our enforcement. Indeed, it is very easy for these scammers to operate from multiple countries, hide their locations, change their phone numbers between calls, trick caller ID systems into displaying false or trusted numbers, increasingly demand payments in hard-to-trace forms such as cash or gift cards, and move quickly to avoid detection and prosecution in our increasingly mobile world.”

Earlier this year, the FCC signed a memorandum of understanding with members of the “Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network,” a global network of law enforcement authorities and regulatory agencies that have agreed to share intelligence, identify common threats, learn from each other’s best practices and assist each other with investigations where permissible to combat unsolicited communications.


Fed Extends Post-Employment Restrictions for Senior Examiners

In a press release on November 18, the Fed announced revised post-employment restrictions that more than double the number of senior staff examiners barred from leaving a Federal Reserve Bank and going right to work for a bank they had supervised. By law, senior bank examiners are prohibited for one year from accepting paid work from a financial institution that they had primary responsibility for examining in their last year of Reserve Bank employment. This post-employment restriction has previously applied only to central points of contacts (CPCs) at firms with more than $10 billion in assets. The revised policy expands this post-employment restriction to deputy CPCs, senior supervisory officers (SSOs), deputy SSOs, enterprise risk officers, and supervisory team leaders, which has the effect of more than doubling the number of senior examiners covered. The policy—which takes effect January 2, 2017—does not apply to senior examiners responsible for multiple unaffiliated banks.

In addition, another new Fed policy prohibits former Fed Bank officers from representing financial institutions and other third parties in matters before the Fed for one year after leaving their Federal Reserve position. This policy takes effect on December 5.


Trump Nominates Jeff Sessions to be Next Attorney General

On November 18, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he has chosen Sen. Jefferson Sessions (R-Ala.), to become the next U.S. Attorney General. Sessions served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama for 12 years and was the state’s attorney general for two years. Trump also announced his intent to nominate U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as Director of the CIA and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.