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White Collar Defense, Investigations and Compliance

Who We Are and What We Do

Our attorneys regularly help our clients prevent, defend, and resolve all manner of sensitive complex government inquiries, investigations and enforcement actions. Some of these are routine, and some are high-profile and public matters. They are all typically matters of great interest to senior executive teams and board committees, and we make it our business to handle them efficiently, effectively, and with great sensitivity to the interests of our clients. 

Our Lawyers

We are a close-knit, experienced team of highly effective white-collar defense lawyers with substantial trial and investigative experience.  Four served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), including the former Chief of the Criminal Division; another prosecuted white collar crime for six years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; and another prosecuted healthcare and other fraud for eight years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). We have also served in a variety of other roles, including an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the First Deputy Chief of Public Safety for the City of Chicago, the Investigations Counsel for a $40 billion Fortune 100 company, and Vice-President, Compliance for a global life-sciences company.

Collectively, we’ve tried more than 200 cases, over half of which were criminal cases, before state and federal juries. And we have conducted even more investigations – as outside counsel, in-house counsel, and government attorneys – throughout the country and in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Our Approach and Results

In any government investigation, our first priority is to ensure that charges are never brought. We help the government understand that there are additional facts, or a larger context, or legal principles that compel declination. One of the keys to effective pre-charge advocacy is credibility, and we have all worked very hard when in government and in private practice to develop sterling reputations as determined and tough, but honest and fair representatives of our clients. Because of our prosecutorial experience, we are particularly adept at setting the correct tone for discussions with regulators and enforcement agencies, credibly ensuring our clients’ conduct is understood, and marshaling whatever facts exist to show that our clients did their level best to prevent misconduct in the first place. Where warranted, we appeal the decisions of line prosecutors to their ultimate supervisors and the Department of Justice itself.

In the event that charges are brought – we are prepared to fight. Here, too, the government knows that we are fierce but appealing courtroom advocates, who have great credibility and experience with the courts and juries. We are astute students of the facts, we master the applicable law, and we dedicate ourselves to moving juries and judges to embrace our clients’ positions.

In this era of the False Claims Act and Sarbanes Oxley, our clients regularly receive whistle-blower allegations requiring internal investigations. We help our clients consider appropriate and proportionate responses, either partnering with them to perform an investigation, or performing an independent investigation ourselves. In every investigation, our goal is to ensure that the investigation moves quickly; remains narrowly focused on the issue at hand; gets to the bottom of the facts; avoids disrupting the business and upsetting employees; maintains confidentiality and privilege; preserves the reputations of potentially involved and valued employees; and identifies any “root cause” and potential remedial options. We also counsel clients through the complicated decision of voluntary disclosure to the government, advising on the positive and negative implications of each choice.

We frequently work with our clients proactively to minimize the risk of corporate misconduct that might result in government inquiries and charges. We are intimately familiar with what it takes to build a practical and effective compliance program that minimizes the risk of systemic compliance violations, and we understand the government’s expectations in this regard. We also understand that the risk of misconduct cannot be reduced to zero, and that compliance programs must be tailored to a company’s individual risk profile and resources. So we work hard to understand our clients’ industries, businesses, resources and preferences, which is reflected in our compliance advice.

White Collar Defense

We regularly represent entities and executives in matters involving securities fraud and insider trading, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Act, a range of federal and state laws governing money laundering, fraud and embezzlement, criminal antitrust, accounting irregularities, environmental matters, export control violations, data privacy breaches, cybersecurity, and theft of trade secrets. We are deeply familiar and have built strong relationships with the U.S. Department of Justice and the many U.S. attorney’s offices (including, in particular, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia), the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Department of Defense, various states attorneys general, and other state and federal agencies. We are also well respected and have great credibility with the courts in which we practice.

Internal Investigations

We perform confidential internal investigations of whistleblower allegations and other concerns, helping companies assess whether violations of law and company policy have occurred, performing root cause analysis, and suggesting remediation options. Sometimes we simply counsel clients on how they might perform the investigation themselves. Often, we partner with clients’ internal resources to perform the investigation. When called for, we perform independent investigations, reporting results to executive management or committees of our clients’ boards. We also counsel our clients on the always difficult decisions involving voluntary and/or required disclosure of such matters internally and externally.

Compliance

We help our clients avoid prosecution by counseling them on the development of their compliance programs to prevent and detect misconduct. This includes compliance program design and operation, policy creation, training, monitoring and auditing, and whistleblower response.  We also perform regulatory risk assessments and compliance program evaluations. Some of these involve “pre-monitorship assessments” for companies who are in the midst of a government investigation and are trying to avoid, or anticipate, the imposition of a monitor.

Monitorships

We have served as, and are often considered for, monitorships, trusteeships, and similar roles following the resolution of serious government enforcement actions involving a variety of fraud cases, including securities fraud, healthcare fraud, and FCPA matters.

Delivering Value

We deliver value to our clients and align our pricing mechanism with our clients’ business needs and expectations. Our partners become fully invested in each matter because effective advocacy is a hands-on venture, and we believe that lean litigation teams can deliver great results in a much more cost-effective way.

Representative Engagements

Our lawyers have participated in the following matters:

Healthcare

  • Defended a national healthcare company in a DOJ investigation of the company’s former CEO and CFO for healthcare fraud stemming from kickbacks.
  • Obtained declination of criminal charges in FDA product adulteration investigation for global life-sciences company.
  • Obtained declination of civil False Claims Act allegations involving alleged kickbacks and off-label sales for global life-sciences company.
  • Conducted internal investigation of a medical device supplier related to employee misconduct, including conflicts of interest, billing fraud, discrimination and retaliation, and theft of proprietary information.
  • Obtained declination of criminal charges and favorable civil settlement of False Claims Act investigation and qui tam complaint for regional hospice provider.

FCPA

  • Represented global life-sciences company in SEC and DOJ investigation of alleged improper payments, resulting in declination.
  • Represented global financial services company in DOJ investigation of alleged improper payments, resulting in declination.
  • Defended global energy company in SEC investigation of alleged improper payments in Asia.
  • Represented global manufacturing company in SEC investigation of global manufacturing company for alleged improper payments in connection with the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, resulting in declination.
  • Investigation of multiple allegations of improper payments to hospital administrators, physicians, and regulators concerning pharmaceuticals and medical devices throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Investigation of allegation of improper payments to government officials in Lebanon for registration of pharmaceutical products.
  • Investigation of allegation of improper payments to government officials in Mexico concerning government tender.
  • Investigation of allegation of potential bribes of foreign government officials by the client's third party business partners in Russia.
  • Investigation of allegation of improper payments to government officials in China concerning local government program.
  • Investigation of allegation of improper payments to government officials in China concerning tax liability.
  • Investigation of allegation of improper payment to government officials in China concerning manufacturing contract.
  • Investigation of allegation of improper payments to government officials in Angola concerning immigration visas.

Financial Services/Broker-Dealers/Traders

  • Represented multiple national and international publicly traded companies in joint SEC and DOJ investigations alleging securities fraud and insider trading.
  • Defended proprietary trading firm in CFTC enforcement action and criminal investigation related to alleged manipulation of oil and gas futures markets.
  • Defended proprietary trading firm in CFTC investigation related to alleged violation of speculative position limits.
  • Defended futures brokerage firm in CFTC investigation related to alleged violation of rules for handling of customer funds.
  • Defended leveraged metals dealer in CFTC investigation into alleged fraudulent transactions.
  • Defended futures brokerage firm in ICE Futures Exchange investigation into alleged misreporting of Exchange for Related Position (EFRP) transactions.
  • Represented Commodity Trading Advisor in National Futures Association investigation and related enforcement action arising out of alleged misrepresentations in promotional materials.
  • Defended interdealer broker in SEC investigation into alleged undisclosed markups and markdowns of customer transactions.
  • Conducted an internal investigation of bank officers and director related to breaches of fiduciary duties.

Construction

  • Obtained a declination after a criminal investigation of a construction company and successfully resolved related civil litigation.

Environmental

  • Obtained declination of civil and criminal charges in a DOJ Clean Water Act investigation for Fortune 500 gas company.

Representative Engagements for Executives

  • Successfully represented General Counsel of Hollinger International (The Conrad Black Case), obtaining acquittals at trial of 9 of 11 mail fraud counts, and reversal of the convictions on the remaining two counts in the United States Supreme Court. Our client was the only defendant in the case who served no jail time.
  • Obtained dismissal of federal indictment of an executive charged with mail fraud and extortion.
  • Represented multiple executives of a medical-device and healthcare services company in federal healthcare fraud investigation.
  • Represented witness in SEC investigation of leading market maker firm related to best execution obligations.
  • Represented individual trader in Chicago Mercantile Exchange investigation into alleged pre-arranged trading scheme.
  • Defended an individual in a Department of Defense investigation, including defending depositions of witnesses, presenting witness for testimony and representing a witness in interviews with federal government in a major procurement fraud matter.
  • Successfully defended an executive of a major Japanese corporation in a DOJ antitrust investigation, including negotiating transactional immunity, and declination of charges.
  • Successfully defended a top executive and company’s special litigation committee in a joint DOJ and SEC investigation, concluding in a declination of charges.
  • Represented a gubernatorial office in response to federal subpoenas relating to hiring and drafting Executive Orders to comply with constitutional requirements.
  • Obtained declination of criminal charges in embezzlement investigation against executive of energy company.