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Voluntary Self-Disclosure (VSD) Attorney in Denver, Colorado

The voluntary disclosure program is available through the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). VSD is a beneficial option for companies that have violated OFAC law or BIS import and export regulations. A Denver company considering VSD should work with an experienced VSD attorney.

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Voluntary-self disclosure

What Is Voluntary Self-Disclosure (VSD)?

Voluntary-self disclosure through the DOJ is a way for individuals or organizations to report known or suspected OFAC violations or violations of BIS import and export trade regulations.

An OFAC or BIS voluntary self-disclosure proactively addresses a potential violation. VSD mitigates the potential damage, bringing benefits that include:

  • Reduction of fines and penalties
  • Establishment of good faith
  • Illustrates to the government the desire to improve practices
  • Increased chance of avoiding future violations

The Bureau of Census and the DDTC strongly advise VSD when a violation of the Federal Trade Regulations (FTR) is known or suspected to have occurred.

Treasury & OFAC VSD Sanctions and Penalties

OFAC violations are accompanied by serious penalties determined according to the OFAC enforcement guidelines.

A confirmed violation of OFAC sanctions can lead to:

  • Fines of up to $1,000,000
  • Prison sentencing of up to 20 years
  • Criminal charges
  • Additional fines and penalties for each violation

The best step an individual or organization can take toward penalty mitigation is the completion of a VSD. This will not automatically result in penalties – an investigation may find no violation or simply issue a warning letter.

OFAC violations
OFAC violations

If a VSD is finalized and submitted before the violation is discovered and reported by another entity, it’s possible for the maximum penalty to be reduced by 50 percent. Since the full benefit of VSD depends on prompt submission, it’s advisable to contact a lawyer and begin the process as soon as a violation is suspected. 

Self-Disclosure Process

OFAC Voluntary Self-Disclosure Process

Legal counsel should oversee the completion of a VSD. An attorney will help confirm whether a violation actually occurred. If it did, the attorney will file an OFAC initial voluntary self-disclosure.

The steps of the VSD process typically involve:

  • Addressing violation concerns within the company
  • Contacting a VSD attorney
  • Completion of initial VSD
  • Internal investigation and audits
  • Follow-up submissions to OFAC
Self-Disclosure Process
Self-Disclosure Process

Third-party reporting does not constitute a VSD and eliminates the chance of penalty mitigation.

If you or your company suspect an OFAC violation has occurred, you should immediately contact our Denver VSD law firm. Failure to do so puts you at serious risk of significant fines and penalties.

Schedule a Consultation with a Denver Voluntary Self-Disclosure Law Firm

Time is limited to avoid the serious penalties accompanying an OFAC or BIS violation. Contact a Denver VSD attorney at Sequoia Legal today.

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303-476-2851

OFAC Voluntary Disclosure Filing Requirements

An OFAC VSD consists of the initial disclosure and follow-up reporting. Initial reporting occurs after legal counsel has reviewed statutory authorities and general licenses for regulation exemptions.

What should you include in a VSD? A report must include:

  • Type of violation
  • Explanation of all reporting errors, discrepancies, or omissions
  • Account of how the violation occurred
  • Names and addresses of all parties involved in the violation
  • Explanation of any extenuating circumstances
  • Steps were taken thus far to rectify the error
  • Internal transaction numbers of involved shipments

Once the initial report is filed, the follow-up report for a VSD involves: 

  • Internal investigation
  • Audit
  • Analysis of sanctions and business application

Review and application of the international trade regulations that dictate import and export practices in the context of a violation require extensive effort by a VSD attorney.

Submitting Voluntary Self-Disclosures to Bureau of Industry & Security

Violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) should be reported to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). BIS regards voluntary self-disclosure as a sign of good faith, and submission of a VSD before discovery or reporting by another party can significantly help with penalty mitigation.

An individual or business submitting a voluntary self-disclosure to BIS should:

Why Sequoia Legal?
  • Consult with a VSD attorney
  • Submit initial VSD
  • Complete internal investigation and audit
  • Submit follow-up documentation to BIS

Violations of export compliance regulations, even non-criminal administrative violations, bring steep penalties. Fines for administrative cases can reach $25,000 or twice the transaction value and may also lead to a loss of export privileges.

It should be clear that administrative errors are no less serious than criminal violations, as they can result in the loss of business and livelihood.

Criminal violations of the EAR can result in fines of up to $1,000,000 per violation and a sentence of up to 20 years.

Clients We Serve

Sequoia Legal works with individuals and organizations involved in various industries. Our Denver VSD attorneys work with clients in shipping fields that include: 

  • Customs brokerage
  • Sea and rail transportation
  • Freight forwarding
  • Express delivery
  • Logistics
  • Defense and armament companies
Our NDA Attorneys Serve a Wide Range Of Clients
Our NDA Attorneys Serve a Wide Range Of Clients

We also work with all types of commercial production companies, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical
  • Software
  • Electronics
  • Telecommunications
  • Agriculture
  • Consumer products

Sequoia Legal offers direct representation and support to organizational internal counsel.

Why You Need to Hire a Colorado Voluntary Disclosure Lawyer?

Customs and import matters are complex. There are countless ways for an organization to unintentionally violate the regulations that dictate import and export practices.

VSD disclosures offer a form of penalty mitigation, but a VSD must be submitted promptly and correctly to reap the benefit.

An experienced VSD lawyer can help by:

  • Investigating the possibility of violation
  • Submitting initial VSD  
  • Overseeing the internal investigation and audit
  • Communicating with government authorities
  • Providing formal legal representation

The best way of protecting yourself or your company from sanctions, fines, and prison time are to immediately begin working with a top VSD law firm.  

Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs)

How to spot “red flags” before a violation?

Red flags of an OFAC violation include: 

  • Unlicensed business dealings with an embargoed country
  • Business dealing with any group under OFAC sanction
  • Lack of organizational trade policy or procedure
  • Lack of formal compliance procedure

Smaller organizations are generally more at risk of violations, but even organizations with well-established oversight can fall victim.

What are possible OFAC responses?

An OFAC response to voluntary self-disclosure can range widely. Possible responses from OFAC include: 

  • Request to provide additional information
  • Warning letter
  • Financial penalty
  • Criminal proceedings
  • Administrative actions

The response can depend on factors like the severity and type of violation, mitigating circumstances, and the thoroughness of the initial VSD. 

When should a company submit a VSD?

A VSD is extremely time-sensitive. There’s no formal deadline for voluntary self-disclosure to BIS and DDTC. However, if an investigation or another reporting entity, such as a financial institution, discovers the violation before a VSD is submitted, you risk losing out on penalty mitigation.

Contact Our ITAR Compliance Attorney Today

Contact the ITAR lawyers at Sequoia Legal today to learn more about how our legal team can partner with your company to resolve complex legal matters and minimize legal risks that you might not even realize you face. Call (303) 476-2851 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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7355 E. Orchard Rd., Suite 375 Greenwood Village, CO 80111

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Client Reviews

5

Marcus F.

Sequoia Legal found subtle legal loopholes in some of our confidentiality agreements that could have spelled disaster for our small business. Fortunately, with the help of Sequoia Legal, we were able to get these leaks plugged before they did any serious damage to our company.

5

Cyndi S.

Our company operates in a highly regulated industry. Sequoia Legal has been our go-to law firm for years now. I am happy to say that we have never suffered a serious regulatory noncompliance problem, and Sequoia Legal has quickly resolved the few minor problems that did arise.

5

Jake D.

Our company’s trade secret protection system was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Sequoia helped us revamp the system so that it complies with both state and federal law. I cannot recommend their services highly enough.

5

Teresa M.

We ran into a hit on the SDN list. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, and Sequoia Legal helped us resolve the issue in a quick and cost-efficient manner. Very professional and knowledgeable.

5

Mike C.

A couple of years ago, our company had no compliance program to speak of, and we were barely aware of the existence of OFAC regulations. Sequoia Legal helped us get our house in order, and we have had no problems since then.

5

Jacqueline K.

We contacted Sequoia Law after an internal audit revealed that our company had inadvertently committed two substantial OFAC violations over the past two years. We chose the path of voluntary disclosure to OFAC and received lenient penalties. Many thanks to Sequoia for their adroit handling of the matter.

5

Wilson B.

We are an out-of-state company that hired Sequoia Legal to crack down on some Colorado companies that were blatantly infringing our trademarks and software copyrights. Sequoia Legal shut them down in a matter of weeks and secured generous compensation for our damages.`Sequoia Legal epitomizes professionalism.

5

Walter R.

Our previous attorney had drafted us NDAs that were so full of holes that it left unscrupulous former employees almost complete freedom to deal with our trade secrets as they wished. Sequoia Legal helped us plug those loopholes and prevent further leakage of valuable trade secrets. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

5

Grace F.

We hired Sequoia Legal to help us organize and protect our intellectual property needs. They identified problems we didn’t even know we had, and they helped us head off serious oversights that might have bankrupted our company if we hadn’t caught them in time.

5

Gary D.

Sequoia Legal has been helping us with regulatory compliance matters for years now. So far, we have not had a single complaint lodged against us by any patient or entity, and no enforcement actions have been implemented or threatened. I can’t praise them enough.