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Joseph A. Valenti

Fax +1.412.355.6501

Mr. Valenti focuses on regulatory compliance, internal investigations, and litigation. Many of his clients are involved with financial services, health care, technology, energy, government contracting, or media.

He routinely assists clients in settling or litigating cases involving a government party, focusing particularly on white-collar criminal defense. He also has experience with parallel or standalone civil or administrative enforcement actions, related private-party litigation, and cases involving civil-rights violations or misconduct by federal or state actors.

Mr. Valenti has counseled clients regarding matters investigated by the FBI, SEC, FINRA, IRS, FinCEN, FRB, FTC, DEA, FDA, HHS, USPIS, DHS, DCIS, NCIS, AFOSI, FEC, EPA, DOT, OSHA, IG offices, and corresponding foreign and state agencies. In addition to representing investigative targets and defendants, he has represented third-party witnesses and potential investors doing business with entities under investigation. Mr. Valenti has specific experience with laws and regulations passed in relation to the:

  • Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”);
  • False Claims Act (“FCA”);
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”);
  • Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”);
  • Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”);
  • Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”);
  • Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”);
  • criminal fraud statutes;
  • anti-money-laundering (“AML”) laws;
  • forfeiture/sanctions/tax statutes;
  • child/elder-protection laws; and
  • consumer-protection laws.

Mr. Valenti has undertaken significant internal investigations of business activities or individuals associated with his clients. Some of these investigations have addressed workplace fatalities, severe workplace injuries, anonymous/cyber threats, sexual assault, complex fraud, bribery, terrorist financing, money laundering, tax evasion, employee theft, and negligent maintenance of industrial facilities.

He also provides risk mitigation and compliance advice, with a particular emphasis on anti-money-laundering, anti-corruption, cybersecurity, and government contracting. Mr. Valenti was a federal counterterrorism analyst and a Certified Anti-Money-Laundering Specialist (“CAMS”).

In his broader litigation practice, Mr. Valenti advises clients on all aspects of copyright, trademark, and free-speech law. He assists clients in advancing and defending claims of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, false advertising, defamation, commercial disparagement (trade libel), and invasion of privacy.

Professional Background

Mr. Valenti served as a Law Clerk for Judge Thomas M. Hardiman (3d Cir.) in the latter half of 2009. Mr. Valenti was a summer associate at K&L Gates in 2008 and a paid intern in the Homicide Unit of the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office in 2007. Previously, he worked as an Analyst for the United States Government. Before his career in government service and law, Mr. Valenti spent over seven years working as a computer technician and programmer with various private employers.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Allegheny County Inspector of Election
  • 2017 K&L Gates Excellence in Mentoring Award
  • Center for Hearing and Deaf Services: Member, Board of Directors
  • Duquesne University School of Law: Class Ambassador, Alumni Mentor, and Alumni Association Board of Governors

Additional Information

Mr. Valenti has spoken at numerous industry conferences and taught Continuing Legal Education classes to fellow lawyers and professionals, including:
Mr. Valenti has taught Media Law and Regulation at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, generally giving weekly lectures to his classes.

When not in government service, he has advised and assisted politicians at the federal, state, and local levels in both policy and campaign matters, including public lectures, public debates, town halls, fundraisers, and related activities.
Defense Against Government Investigations/Claims
  • Undertook representation of independent board directors of government contractor after search warrant was executed at contractor’s headquarters, resulting in prompt but thorough firm-led internal investigation, proffer to government, and issuance of declination letter as to all potentially implicated parties
  • Defended government contractor against False Claims Act litigation, resulting in declination letter from government and favorable settlement with private litigant
  • Represented government contractor during investigation into allegations that its employees provided illegal gratuities and improper gifts to government employees, resulting in declination of prosecution for contractor, charges against implicated government employees, and termination of implicated contractor employees
  • Represented corporate entity and employee facing charges related to negligent maintenance of industrial facilities, resulting in non-prosecution agreement and dismissal of all charges
  • Defended financial institution during federal criminal investigations of Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and related anti-money-laundering (“AML”) violations, resulting in deferred prosecution agreement and restitution payment well below original government demand
  • Defended financial institution during federal and state criminal and civil investigations related to its anti-fraud and consumer protection efforts, resulting in global settlement where penalties were concurrent rather than consecutive
  • Defended American broker-dealer subsidiary of international bank during FINRA investigation related to alleged AML violations
  • Defended foreign-based federal government contractor during sealed False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act grand-jury investigation and advanced novel trial-level and appellate litigation related to quashing subpoenas directed to foreign and domestic entities (including contractor subsidiaries)
  • Represented derivatives trader under criminal and civil investigation in multiple countries for rigging interest-rate submissions, resulting in plea agreement and sentencing under more lenient foreign law
  • Represented government contractor under investigation for paying bribes or improperly giving gifts to American and foreign military personnel connected to defense contracts
  • Represented numerous financial institutions and accounting firms in responding to third-party subpoenas seeking sensitive information regarding customer accounts
  • Defended company under FEC investigation for allegedly coordinating expenditures with federal political candidate, resulting in declination letter
  • Represented retail store chain during civil investigation into its advertising practices, resulting in declination letter
  • Advised publicly traded company on enforcement-related issues arising from allegedly backdating stock-option compensation awards to employees
  • Defended company during criminal investigation of allegations that company provided professional services without proper license
  • Represented state legislator during grand jury investigation of theft-of-services and conflict-of-interest allegations
  • Represented lead defendant in civil-rights case arising from fatal police shooting during appeal in Zion v. Nassan, 12-3139 (3d Cir.) and at trial level (09-383, W.D. Pa.)
  • Assisted in defending industrial client against civil enforcement litigation brought by state environmental agency
  • Represented individuals during administrative appeals of security-clearance denials
  • Conducted multinational investigation into client’s distributors and foreign defense contracts potentially at issue in high-profile corruption investigation (and ultimate trial and conviction) of former Singapore Civil Defence Force chief Peter Lim Sin Pang
  • Represented industrial company during federal criminal investigation of its employee for alleged theft of trade secrets and economic espionage using sophisticated means, directly engaging in and overseeing extensive computer-forensics investigation to assess veracity of allegations
  • Represented multiple Fortune 500 companies seeking to identify and criminally and civilly prosecute former employees or customers who made anonymous online threats and otherwise harassed current executives/employees and their families
  • Conducted, supervised, or audited over 250 separate investigations into allegations of sexual assault, workplace harassment, or caregiver/educator misconduct for multiple charitable, health care, and educational institutions
  • Served as pool counsel to company employees interviewed as witnesses during federal criminal environmental and transportation investigation targeting company operating in heavy industry
  • Assisted international nonprofit organization during overlapping cross-border investigations into allegations of funding terrorism/subversion, foreign corrupt payments, and tax evasion
  • Assisted Special Counsel to Pennsylvania Senate Special Committee on Senate Address, which investigated ability of then-sitting Pennsylvania Attorney General to perform official duties with suspended law license
  • Investigated and apprised office-services client of its employee’s criminal past
  • Assisted multiple, separate energy clients during government and internal investigations of employee death or injury at various drilling sites
  • Assisted energy client during government and internal investigations of air pollution emanating from maintenance operations 
  • Assisted energy client in internal investigation of allegations that its employees obtained visas and customs clearances in Iraq using corrupt means
  • Investigated circumstances surrounding decedent’s death after accident on government property and subsequent intensive medical care
  • Oversaw investigation on behalf of specific heirs to determine whether estate administrator was improperly receiving benefits from or disposing of assets located in foreign country
Compliance and Risk Mitigation
  • Conducted anti-corruption and/or anti-money-laundering (“AML”) due diligence investigations of current and prospective business partners, distributors, agents, acquisition targets, investors, and customers on behalf of international clients in security, financial, health care, technology, energy, chemical, manufacturing, and other sectors
  • Advised financial institutions on effectiveness of various programs and internal controls designed to detect, prevent, and report illegal activity and promote compliance with the BSA and OFAC and FinCEN regulations
  • Drafted, implemented, audited, and updated anti-money-laundering and anti-corruption policies for numerous clients in various industries
  • Counseled several clients in financial-services and health-care industries regarding federal and state wiretapping/consent laws and record-retention requirements related to recording telephonic and computer-based conversations
  • Advised multiple financial institutions and health care entities regarding data protection and consumer/patient-privacy obligations, including cybersecurity and physical security best practices
  • Educated multiple clients on compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, False Claims Act, Trade Agreements Act, BOTS Act, and related federal and state statutes and regulations, as well as provided assistance in making voluntary disclosures and remediation in certain detected cases of noncompliance
  • Advised gaming entities on federal and state licensing and wagering regulations
  • Advised mining company on enforcement risks related to alleged environmental impact of operations
  • Evaluated potential environmental law violations and validity of related waste-disposal permits for client seeking to acquire entity under investigation
  • Advised multiple entities on risks and disclosure obligations related to doing business with other entities under various criminal investigations
  • Advised legislative entities on ethics enforcement, investigative-response protocols, and records-retention policies
Health Care
  • Represented nonprofit health care entity during investigation related to alleged patient neglect by alcoholic employee, resulting in successful termination and criminal prosecution of employee with no charges brought against entity
  • Defended numerous health care providers during separate federal criminal and civil investigations of allegedly improper billing practices resulting in purported False Claims Act violations
  • Defended pharmaceutical manufacturer against civil claims of improper avoidance of FDA user fees
  • Represented hospital system during investigation related to alleged misconduct by staff doctor indicted for self-prescribing and abusing controlled substances
  • Investigated and sought restitution from former employee who stole from nonprofit health care entity client and its patients
  • Represented health care provider during internal audit of noncompliance with IRS regulations and cash-transaction reporting requirements
  • Represented doctor under investigation for improperly prescribing controlled substances and committing related health care fraud
  • Represented doctor under investigation for health care fraud, improperly prescribing experimental treatments, and obstructing justice
  • Represented pharmacist under investigation for improperly importing prescription medications and related health-care-fraud and money-laundering violations, resulting in noncustodial sentence and reinstatement of license
  • Represented pharmacist indicted for improperly dispensing controlled substances
  • Assisted in representing health care provider in successful litigation seeking to compel competitor to return trade-secret and other confidential business information
  • Advised hospital on confidentiality and disclosure requirements related to patient involved in criminal conduct
  • Advised multiple health care entities on validity of next-of-kin decision-making related to patients
  • Advised various international health care companies on whether and how to pursue criminal charges and extradition of former employees suspected of stealing from the company
Free Speech
  • Represented Chief Executive Officer of publicly traded company in successful challenge to overturn order issued by state officer banning certain forms and content of speech at polling places
  • Represented advanced-technology company in dispute with high-profile media entity, resulting in media entity’s abandonment of plan to publish damaging and misleading feature article about company
  • Represented public authority frivolously sued by nuisance plaintiff, resulting in prompt and complete dismissal of initial case and favorable settlement of abuse-of-process counterclaims
  • Advised media entity on risks of litigation related to publishing content, including evaluating content for trademark, copyright, defamation, privacy, and related issues
  •  Advised public school board regarding policies on verbal harassment, sunshine/open-meeting laws, abuse of process, and cyberstalking
  • Assisted in filing and litigating various requests for government records under various federal and state freedom-of-information, open-records, and right-to-know laws
  • Advised various public and private figures on viability of defamation and invasion of privacy claims arising from actions of various potential defendants, including both media and non-media entities
  • Advised global retailer on potential trademark infringement and false advertising issues arising from carrying and marketing generic versions of certain high-profile name-brand items
  • Assisted in defending international entertainment company against claims of copyright infringement, false advertising, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, tortious interference, invasion of privacy, and related civil claims
  • Assisted manufacturer with investigating and resolving dispute with competing website that improperly used manufacturer’s trademarks
  • Negotiated contracts involving the receipt, use, and protection of highly sensitive information, such as government-classified information, Rule 6(e) grand jury information, sealed court documents, trade secrets, protected health information, and private financial data
  • Advised energy client on numerous aspects of federal and state campaign finance law, including formation and management of political action committee and free-speech rights related to corporate funding of independent expenditures
  • Assisted in advising energy client on legality of making requested donations of a political nature
Commercial Litigation
  • Investigated and advanced claims arising from circumstances surrounding client’s purchase of industrial company with undisclosed tax and other liabilities, resulting in payment of multimillion dollar settlement to client
  • Represented various entities in numerous litigations (including class actions) and mediations (including with insurance companies and victims’ funds) arising from abuse or workplace harassment within religious institutions
  • Advised prospective plaintiff energy client on criminal ramifications and civil claims for abuse of process, civil conspiracy, commercial disparagement (trade libel), defamation, tortious interference, and unfair competition arising from false reports to government by potential defendants regarding client’s business practices and products
  • Served as pool counsel for multiple current and former employees of global investment manager involved in litigation regarding commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”)
  • Assisted energy client in defending against complex private-party litigation that included claims for false advertising and unfair business practices while also assisting client during related parallel government investigation
  • Represented defendant in Gladkov v. Chief Oil & Gas LLC, No. 11-471 (W.D. Pa.), resulting in favorable settlement of claims related to mineral-rights lease
  • Assisted two separate energy companies in defending against two separate class-action lawsuits arising from allegedly executed leases that were not honored, resulting in complete defense victories through successful motions to dismiss
  • Assisted in defending manufacturer of allegedly defective industrial product, resulting in complete defense verdict at trial and affirmance on appeal
Pro Bono
  • Represented victims of domestic abuse to obtain final Protection From Abuse orders
  • Represented injured veterans appealing disability-benefit denials
  • Represented local youth baseball league in successful defense and settlement of litigation seeking to enjoin various league uses of a public field on nuisance grounds
  • Represented recording artists in copyright registration and trademark dispute
  • Represented prisoner-plaintiff in Smith v. United States, No. 06-139 (W.D. Pa.), resulting in favorable settlement of claims related to medical care
  • Assisted in representation of prisoner-plaintiff who allegedly received inadequate medical care during incarceration, resulting in monetary settlement