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Investigations, Enforcement, and White Collar: White Collar Crime

Our white collar crime practice is involved in all stages of criminal matters, from the first hint of potential wrongdoing to final appeals. We have a large, geographically dispersed and experienced white collar crime and criminal defense team that includes a former U.S. Attorney General and more than a dozen former assistant U.S. Attorneys.

We have routinely handled a variety of high-visibility state and federal investigations, grand jury proceedings, parallel civil and criminal proceedings, and criminal trials on behalf of corporations and individuals. We have conducted complex internal investigations, represented clients in congressional investigations, provided compliance advice to corporations, and assisted clients in evaluating the results of these investigations and taking appropriate responsive steps.

The touchstone of our effort is to be aggressively proactive in implementing strategies to prevent criminal charges from being filed or failing that, to fight vigorously any charges that may be brought against our clients.

Capabilities

Global and Cross-Border Investigations

Going back to the “pre-Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” era, our lawyers have been conducting internal investigations and advising clients on anti-bribery and anti-corruption issues. Today, our investigations practice group is conducting internal investigations and providing advice and counsel on some of the most high-profile enforcement matters around the globe. More recently, our investigations lawyers have been involved in investigations relating to the global emissions scandal, Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash,” and investigations by various European regulators into Tesco, Serco, and Unaoil-related matters.   

Economic Espionage

Our government enforcement team has invaluable experience in the prosecution of trade secret misappropriation, employee theft, unfair competition, and other forms of economic espionage. We have helped our clients protect and preserve confidential, proprietary business information from unlawful use and disclosure. For example, the firm represented an international mining technology firm, and assisted in averting disaster when a former executive attempted to steal highly sensitive confidential drawings and sell them to a competitor. Upon learning of the client’s suspicions, we immediately enlisted the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which set up a covert sting operation and caught the double-dealing executive, arrested him on the spot, and charged him under the federal Economic Espionage Act (EEA). As a result of our resourceful involvement of the FBI and invocation of the EEA, the company’s secrets were preserved, and the company avoided a breach of confidentiality that could have cost it a significant amount in wasted research, development time, and lost profits. 

Cyber and e-Commerce Crime

Our clients benefit from our lawyers’ understanding and resourceful application of the growing body of federal law designed to help businesses protect valuable and critical technological infrastructures. As technology capabilities expand at exponential rates, our clients’ exposure to computer hacking and other more damaging network intrusions grows as well. In addition, the firm’s relationship with the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), a federal computer system protection network based at Carnegie Mellon University, provides another invaluable resource to protect our clients against cybercrimes and the pervasive risks of technology-based intrusions and interruptions.

Corporate and Securities Fraud

When the findings of an internal investigation present a client with potential financial wrongdoing, our experienced securities and financial regulatory lawyers around the world recommend corrective or other actions, assess possible litigation risk, and are also able to assist in the event any enforcement action is taken. We routinely represent companies and individuals in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and state securities regulatory investigations. Our white collar crime partners routinely advise and defend clients in all aspects of enforcement investigations and proceedings by the SEC, the National Association of Securities Dealers, and other securities regulators including the United Kingdom’s and Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s Financial Services Authority enforcement actions, and the handling of internal disciplinary matters. Additionally, our internal investigations team often uncovers and examines financial accounting and other reporting issues collaborating with other firm practitioners who have experience on a broad range of reporting and governance issues.

Government Procurement Matters

Our government enforcement lawyers assist government contractors in a variety of matters involving allegations of criminal or civil procurement fraud. We represent contractors in grand jury investigations, agency inspector general investigations, criminal and civil procurement fraud cases, qui tam or whistleblower proceedings, and voluntary disclosures of potential wrongdoing to responsible officials of agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. General Services Administration.

False Claims Act and Health Care Fraud

Our lawyers have represented a number of different institutions, entities, and individuals in the United States and abroad who have been investigated for or charged with making false claims against the United States. We have also represented health care providers, academic medical centers, and companies in federal investigations of alleged health care fraud or who are charged with False Claims Act or anti-kickback violations related to traditional Medicare claims, as well as to claims related to the use of experimental surgical devices. Our government enforcement team has also represented pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers, as well as individual officers and employees of such companies, in connection with investigations by the Department of Justice and the Food and Drug Administration of criminal violations of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. In addition to the defense of our clients charged with violations of the False Claims Act, we provide advice concerning internal investigations and audits and the development of compliance plans in this area to avoid costly civil and criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Trademark and Intellectual Property Infringement

The firm’s government enforcement team is composed of experienced, highly-skilled litigators who engage in civil and criminal intellectual property infringement matters at the state and federal levels, particularly in the area of trademark infringement and counterfeit goods. Our lawyers have obtained nationwide preliminary injunctions and seizure orders to confiscate counterfeit goods in the marketplace for a worldwide sports entertainment company and for a professional sports league.

Antitrust and Price Fixing

We represent corporations and individuals investigated in connection with antitrust crimes or who have been charged with such crimes. To provide the most effective representation for such clients, we combine an in-depth understanding of the nature of anti-trust offenses and the objective economic criteria for identifying collusive behavior with a comprehensive knowledge of criminal procedure and effective litigation skills. We also understand that civil damage proceedings collateral to the criminal case can cause defendants almost as much, or even more, damage as the criminal case itself. In response, our lawyers develop and implement defense strategies which balance all of the client’s objectives.

Consumer Product Safety Investigations

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 created broad new obligations for manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of consumer, household, school, pools, and recreational products. It also provided the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with a broader range of enforcement tools, and enhanced CPSC’s criminal and civil penalties and recall authority. Our experience with consumer product enforcement and recalls has positioned us to educate firms and trade groups on the new obligations and help businesses devise strategies for avoiding or reducing legal liability. Our experience in the product reporting, enforcement, and recall scheme allows us to assist clients in minimizing their liability for penalties or other enforcement sanctions and ensuring that any necessary recalls are done in as cost-effective a manner as possible.

Tax Crimes

Our lawyers have represented corporations and individuals in connection with investigations of federal and state tax fraud and tax evasion. Such representations include allegations of failure to report income received in bribery and kickback schemes, failure to withhold income taxes by paying employees off the books, failure to collect and pay over state sales taxes, and causing the preparation and filing of false tax returns through the use of fraudulent tax shelters.

Environmental Crimes

Our lawyers represent corporations and individuals examined in connection with a wide variety of environmental, safety, and related crimes in business settings that include chemical manufacturing, steel, maritime, transportation, energy, pharmaceutical, recycling, food processing, and photo processing, among others. These cases can involve false statement and related charges for failure to fulfill reporting requirements, to sudden and potentially catastrophic events such as explosions, spills, and vessel accidents. Environmental criminal cases more often than not simultaneously bring to bear multiple agencies and jurisdictions, as well as legislative investigatory activities. The firm has the criminal and civil as well as federal, state, and local experience to develop strategies that address the numerous parallel tracks followed by these types of investigations. While our lawyers have tried major environmental cases and appeals in federal and state courts, they have also conducted proactive investigations, and given their clients the opportunity to take advantage of voluntary disclosure policies at the federal and state levels.

E-Discovery Analysis and Technology

The firm’s industry-leading e-discovery analysis and technology (e-DAT) group often pairs with our government enforcement team to assist clients in developing response plans for litigation or regulatory investigations that are tailored to their business records and litigation profile. Discovery of electronic records has often become the single most costly piece of responding to litigation or regulatory investigations. Our e-DAT strength allows us to provide cost-effective planning and oversight of this aspect of the litigation or investigation.

UK Health and Safety

Health and safety issues have become increasingly important for employers over the last few years, with the introduction of new legislation and ever-growing sanctions and fines imposed when organizations have failed to meet their often onerous health and safety obligations. 

Our lawyers have extensive experience advising clients across a number of sectors including construction, engineering, manufacturing, oil and gas, nonprofits, and public authorities. 

Our team regularly advises on highly complex and emotionally-charged health and safety investigations, prosecutions, corporate manslaughter claims, and inquests. The team has a proven track record of successfully intervening in Health and Safety Executive and police investigations to prevent or limit prosecution. In addition, the team is equipped to respond immediately after an emergency or serious incident to allow peace of mind that the matter will be dealt with confidentially and with as little stress as possible. 

We also have worked with a large and varied number of clients in a non-contentious context, helping them to understand and comply with their responsibilities under health and safety legislation, and advising on the implementation of systems which reduce the possibility of an accident and mitigate potential liability arising from an accident. The team has significant experience of reviewing policies and procedures and revising these to develop the strongest possible systems and procedures. We also provide in-house training for directors and managers on their obligations and the repercussions of any breaches.

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