A public relations firm subcontractor sent forged comment letters to the CFTC to influence regulators in their implementation of rules for derivatives trading. The matter, in which letters were purportedly sent from Arkansas-based officials or businesses including H.J Heinz and Burger King, is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since falsifying letters from a public official is a felony under Arkansas state law. According to Jacobs, the letters also appear to violate the federal False Statements Act, which makes it a felony to send false statements to regulators.
Jacobs stated, “It would pretty clearly apply to a forged comment letter to a government agency, and so there are fines and prison terms that could be associated with that crime.”
Jacobs advised the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity on a similar matter in 2009, in which a consulting firm under contract with the ACCE sent forged letters to U.S. lawmakers. No charges have been filed in the matter and Jacobs noted that The False Statements Act exempts letters sent to Congress.