White Collar Defense and Investigations
Deeply Rooted Government Experience
Kasowitz’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group is built on a foundation of deeply rooted government experience and decades of success defending corporations and individuals in highly sensitive regulatory and criminal matters. Our attorneys include a former United States senator, a former United States Attorney, numerous former U.S. and District Attorneys and two former state attorneys general. In addition to having earned the honor of being trusted counsel to numerous industry leading companies and high profile professionals, our white collar lawyers have been recognized as being among the best in the field by sources including Chambers USA, The Legal 500, Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers and the National Law Journal.
Our lawyers have experience in every facet of government investigations, including having formerly served as the prosecutors coordinating investigations with law enforcement agencies, conducting investigations as state attorneys general and members of the United States Congress, and counseling companies and individuals on appropriate ways to stave off investigations through proactive disclosures or respond to subpoenas issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), state attorneys general, the United States Congress and other government agencies.
Collectively, we have been involved in white collar investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), fraud, commercial bribery, price-fixing, cartel, money laundering, cyber security, tax evasion, insider trading, racketeering, public corruption, insurance fraud, health care fraud and other violations allegedly committed by companies across industries arising in over 50 countries in virtually every region of the world, including the United States, the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe.
We draw on our well-honed understanding of the key concerns and priorities that the government seeks to address in regulatory investigations to lead clients through the response process. Discretion and thoroughness guide our approach, both in navigating clients through investigations and participating in the design and implementation of effective, verifiable, compliance and monitoring provisions central to their resolution. In addition, we represent clients in post-investigation settlement negotiations with government agencies involving agreements containing integrity provisions.
We also lead internal investigations on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, public entities, private institutions, corporations, boards of directors and special committees concerning suspected corporate malfeasance including insider trading, fraud, trade secret theft, market timing, market manipulation and obstruction of justice, among others. We have conducted such investigations as a result of our clients’ independent decisions to look into suspected wrongdoing, as well as parallel to ongoing government investigations. Our focus in such matters rests with limiting our clients’ exposure and providing recommendations for remedial actions and disclosures as necessitated by the circumstances.
We assist companies in adopting procedures to promote and monitor FCPA, anti-fraud and other legal compliance measures by designing and implementing legal, financial, technical, audit and other corporate compliance and training programs and customized policies, document retention programs and related systems. To help clients ensure the adoption of newly developed policies and procedures, we will conduct audits to monitor compliance on an ongoing basis after the implementation of newly launched programs. We also provide training to senior management and key personnel and advise management and boards of directors on best practices, voluntary disclosures and reporting to the DOJ, SEC and other agencies.
We are distinguished by our record of successfully representing clients accused of white collar crimes resulting in grand jury investigations and criminal trials in both domestic and foreign jurisdictions, including submissions and defenses in Japan, Taiwan and the European Union. Having tried hundreds of felony cases before juries and having secured acquittals in numerous highly contested matters, we willingly represent white collar clients through trial when appropriate. We have successfully defended numerous high-profile white collar defendants. Our lawyers’ cases have resulted in over 50 published opinions, many of which have been cited in other opinions, treatises and articles.
Successful representation of a major financial institution in an insider trading investigation by the SEC.
Hilton Worldwide in a civil action alleging trade secret misappropriation and other business torts brought by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. This highly complex case, described by the media as "Grishamesque," settled after approximately one year of discovery.
MF Global in representing the company in connection with investigations being pursued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), SEC and DOJ.
The former CEO of a major mutual fund in one of the highly publicized enforcement actions concerning market timing in mutual funds filed by the SEC and the New York Attorney General’s Office.
A founder of the Fairfield Greenwich Group, the largest of the so-called feeder funds, in connection with the highly publicized regulatory investigations and actions arising out of the Madoff Ponzi scheme. The firm has also represented other individuals in connection with regulatory investigations concerning the Madoff scheme.
The former General Counsel of McKessonHBOC, in a criminal securities fraud case. Following a second jury trial and ten years of investigation and litigation, Kasowitz attorneys obtained not guilty verdicts for the former general counsel. He is perhaps the most prominent corporate general counsel to be indicted as a result of the financial fraud investigations conducted over the past ten years. The San Francisco Federal jury found him not guilty of all three charges he faced: securities fraud, falsifying books and records of the company, and circumventing internal company controls. Separately, the jury rendered a guilty verdict as to his co-defendant, the former McKessonHBOC CEO and Chairman of the Board, who was not represented by the firm.
Reliant Energy, one of the nation’s leading providers of wholesale electrical energy, in a criminal case arising from the California energy crisis. After the charges were already brought, Kasowitz attorneys obtained non-prosecution agreements for both the company and all the individual defendants. The success was featured in the National Law Journal as one of the most important white collar defense victories of the past decade.
Recology (f/k/a Norcal Waste Systems), an industry leader in recycling and landfill management, in a criminal case charging Norcal and the former mayor of San Jose, California, with bribery and misapplication of public funds. The court granted Kasowitz’s motion to dismiss all charges against Norcal prior to trial.
Two individuals in the U.S. Foodservice/Royal Ahold investigation relating to the $800 million accounting fraud scandal. While other executives were indicted and convicted, Kasowitz attorneys enabled one client to avoid being charged altogether, and secured a plea agreement pursuant to which Kasowitz’s other client received six months of home confinement.
A Port Captain in the grand jury investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York into the crash of the Staten Island Ferry in which 11 people died. Kasowitz’s client was the only one of the five publicly identified subjects at the Staten Island Ferry Service who was not indicted.
Apex Oil, a major shipper of North Coast crude, was indicted in Oregon on multiple federal charges of dumping oil into the ocean. The court dismissed the case, with prejudice, on a defense motion that successfully enforced a very narrow reading of the criminal anti-pollution statute that was based on an international treaty.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, the exclusive retail electric service provider for the Hawaiian island of Kauai, in an investigation and criminal and civil cases relating to alleged violations of federal and endangered species statutes.
Southern Union Company, a publicly listed corporation and one of the largest diversified natural gas operations in the United States, in the grand jury investigation and subsequent criminal prosecution and trial of Southern Union relating to its storage of mercury at its Pawtucket, Rhode Island, facility.
The former chairman and CEO of InterMune in a criminal case in the federal court in San Francisco, in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged that he committed fraud and violated FDA misbranding laws in connection with statements allegedly made about and alleged off-label marketing of Actimmune. This case is one of the highest profile FDA off-label marketing criminal cases to be pursued by the United States Department of Justice. The former chairman and CEO was tried and convicted on one charge and acquitted on the other charge.