White-Collar Defense

Our White-Collar Defense Group advises and defends some of the world’s leading multinational corporations and, in many cases, their senior officers and directors in a broad range of regulatory and criminal matters.

Recognized as a Law360 White Collar Practice Group of the Year in 2017, our group includes six former federal prosecutors and one of the U.K.’s leading white-collar criminal practitioners. Because white-collar matters so frequently involve parallel investigations conducted by the SEC and DOJ, our white-collar team has significant experience with the full range of regulatory securities work. We work closely with our partners who are former senior government attorneys, including a former Assistant Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, a former Senior Counsel of the SEC’s Office of General Counsel, and a former Acting Chief of the Fraud Section of the DOJ's Criminal Division.

We have achieved great success in resolving matters quietly and professionally, without prosecution, litigation, or publicity. When investigations result in enforcement actions, indictments or civil lawsuits, we have an outstanding record of mounting successful defenses. We are experienced trial lawyers who will not hesitate to take a case to trial when necessary or the best strategy.

We also have substantial experience in conducting internal investigations for companies and their boards, and in counseling companies on the development of compliance programs. Our experience in these areas has led government entities and private corporations alike to rely on and trust the results of our work.

Corporate Representations

  • Represented Lucent Technologies in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation.
  • Represented Titan Inc. in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation.
  • Represented a major hedge fund in market manipulation investigation, resulting in no charges being brought by SEC.
  • Represented an international health care company in health care fraud investigation.
  • Represented an international health care provider in options backdating investigation, resulting in no charges being brought by either the DOJ or SEC.
  • Represented a major hedge fund in the investigation and settlement of SEC charges of improper short-selling to hedge of at-risk long position.
  • Represented a major reinsurance company in investigation of use of finite reinsurance contracts, resulting in SEC settlement, no DOJ charges.
  • Represented a national retailer in criminal investigation of use of illegal alien labor.
  • Represented both a publicly held student loan corporation and a private university in an investigation conducted by the New York Attorney General.
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Internal Investigations

Conducted internal investigations on behalf of the Audit Committees of the following:

  • American Media Inc.
  • Bank of America's Nations Funds
  • Baxter International Inc.
  • City of San Diego
  • DaimlerChrysler
  • Dell Inc.
  • D&M Holdings, Inc.
  • Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
  • Pride International
  • Prospect Energy Corporation
  • Seracare, Inc.
  • Shaw Group, Inc.
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Individual Representations

  • Won a major victory in United States v. Boustani, et al., the securities fraud trial of Privinvest Group executive Jean Boustani in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, over an alleged $2 billion fraud and kickback scheme involving Mozambican state-backed loans.
  • Won landmark victory dismissing all charges in first U.S. LIBOR manipulation case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represented former general counsel of Hollinger, Inc. in four-month federal criminal trial of United States v. Conrad Black, et al. (N.D. Ill.).
  • Represented former chief marketing officer of Penn Traffic, Inc. in defense of federal criminal securities fraud charges in United States v. Leslie Knox (N.D.N.Y.).
  • Represented former CEO of health care company in defense of health care fraud charges in United States v. Damon Laboratories (D. Mass.), resulting in sentence of probation for our client.
  • Represented former CEO of national retailer in accounting fraud investigation, resulting in no charges being brought by the DOJ or SEC.
  • Represented former CFO of financial institution in accounting fraud investigation, resulting in no charges being brought by the DOJ or SEC.
  • Represented former CFO of a major multinational in landmark SEC enforcement proceeding alleging violations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, resulting in dismissal of all charges.
  • Represented global head of trading of Fortune 100 energy company in market manipulation investigation, resulting in no charges being brought by the DOJ or SEC.
  • Represented former chief risk officer of multinational financial institution in securities fraud investigation, resulting in no charges being brought by the DOJ or SEC.
  • Represented senior executive of financial adviser in market timing investigation, resulting in no charges being brought by SEC or New York Attorney General.
  • Representing former CFO of major investment bank in subprime related investigation by the DOJ and SEC.
  • Representing former chief risk officer of a major financial services company in subprime related investigation by the DOJ and SEC.
  • Representing former senior executive of multinational financial services company in criminal charges alleging LIBOR-rigging.
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Pro Bono

Our White-Collar Defense Group is also proud of our firm’s commitment to pro bono representation.  We serve on the Criminal Justice Act Panel, providing the highest quality defense to indigent individuals facing federal criminal charges.  In addition, we often work with Legal Aid to represent defendants on appeal before the New York Court of Appeals and New York State Appellate Divisions.

We recently secured the release on a writ of habeas corpus of Jose Garcia, who had been incarcerated since 1991 for a drug-related homicide in the Bronx.  With no conclusive physical evidence, we established through witnesses and documents at a four-day evidentiary hearing that Garcia had been in the Dominican Republic at the time of the homicide for which he was convicted.  Following the federal court habeas corpus ruling, the Bronx District Attorney declined to exercise its right to retry Garcia, dismissed all charges against him, and released him from custody.  The case and its history were the subject of a lengthy feature article in The Wall Street Journal.

Our attorneys also secured the reversal of a death sentence imposed on Earl Hawkins, a defendant who had been advised by his corrupt attorney that the only path to acquittal was to bribe the presiding judge.  Both his lawyer and judge were subsequently convicted on federal corruption charges.  Overcoming vigorous opposition by local prosecutors, we persuaded Illinois’ highest court to reverse Hawkins’s conviction and death penalty.

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Publications / News / Events

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Recognition, Honors & Awards

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Willkie Compliance Concourse is a first-of-its-kind web-based application for multinational companies, attorneys and compliance professionals seeking practical guidance on the numerous and diverse regulatory compliance risks that companies face. For clients operating in the US, UK and worldwide, the app is a one-stop destination to stay abreast of the latest legal and enforcement developments, trends and thinking.

The app features:

  • Practical guides on bribery and corruption, cybersecurity, data privacy, insider trading, money laundering and sanctions statutes and regulations in the US and UK
  • Current news and analysis on the regulatory compliance, investigations and enforcement landscape
  • On-demand accredited CLEs
  • Hypotheticals exploring sensitive cross-border compliance issues

Instructions to download the app can be found here. To access the app from your desktop, visit https://complianceconcourse.willkie.com.