White Collar Crime and Government Investigations

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Robert E. Hauberg Jr.
 

Few companies or executives plan for a criminal investigation. But in the complex regulatory environment facing modern businesses, few corporations can safely assume that their operations and employees are immune from government investigations and even prosecution. For many companies, the very existence of such probes can do substantial damage. When the stakes are highest, corporations and individuals need lawyers versed in the unique challenges of such cases.

When the unthinkable happens, businesses and executives need a law firm that moves quickly to answer and defend against charges of illegal behavior. Attorneys in the White Collar Crime Group limit client exposure in government and internal investigations of employee wrongdoing, and defend companies and executives in parallel proceedings involving agency litigation, civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions.

When a government contractor's operations are out of compliance with contractual or regulatory obligations, they can often find themselves defending multiple fronts simultaneously. While defending a qui tam or other civil suit, the company may also find itself responding to a governmental agency or grand jury investigation. In such cases, the company needs experienced counsel to guide it proactively to an efficient, global resolution or to respond on the civil side while working to avoid indictment.

Relying upon attorneys with backgrounds in state law enforcement, heavily-regulated industries, DOJ, FBI, EPA and various agencies, this Group assists clients in responding to grand jury, administrative or inspector general subpoenas; monitoring grand jury proceedings; and negotiating immunities, pleas, settlements and corporate integrity agreements. If negotiated resolution is not possible, our teams try both civil and criminal cases, handle appeals and fight threats of suspension, debarment and exclusion. We counsel and defend clients from every industry, from Boston to Los Angeles and from London to Tokyo.

The best defense against a government investigation is to have effective compliance policies in place. Attorneys in the White Collar Crime Group prepare and review compliance plans, negotiate corporate integrity agreements, advise on reimbursements under government contracts, plan responses on whistleblower issues, and defend against debarment and exclusion from federal programs.

Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Asset Control

  • Defended defense contracting business and its principal indicted under the Arms Export Control Act. Judgment of acquittal entered in favor of the defendants; attorney's fees awarded to defendants.
  • Represented exporter of medical equipment in raid and subsequent internal investigation and resolution of exposure with OFAC and the Department of Commerce.
  • Represented engineering company in OFAC and U.S. Attorney investigation resulting in settlement.

Bank/Insurance Fraud

  • Represented agents in Department of Insurance investigations.
  • Represented a law firm and diamond dealers in Martin Frankel litigation and investigation by Department of Insurance.
  • Represented bank president in OCC-negotiated resolution and three-week trial of RICO case which resulted in favorable verdict with no recovery.
  • Conducted internal investigation for bank and mortgage sub of insider mortgage fraud in qualification of borrowers.

Economic Espionage Act and Intellectual Property Crimes

  • Represented engineer indicted under the Economic Espionage Act based on allegations of trade secret theft; case is pending.
  • Represented individual defendant in investigation and civil litigation over industrial espionage allegations.
  • Represented internet seller of counterfeit DVDs charged in both China and United States.

False Claims Act and Qui Tam

  • Represented defense contractor in investigation by Air Force Office of Special Investigations of processes regarding over and above claims for aircraft parts.
  • Counseled major defense contractor on disclosure to government of billing irregularities and successfully avoided False Claims Act liability.
  • Represented small business contractor in voluntary disclosure to Department of Justice of internal investigation of qualifications for contracts.
  • Represented minority small business company in Department of Energy and Department of Justice investigations into alleged False Claims Act and Truth in Negotiation Act violations; client cleared of all charges.
  • Represented contractor accused of fraudulently billing under various contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Represented NASA contractor in three-month trial accused of submitting false claims for reimbursement of labor charges incurred under cost reimbursement contract. Verdict for less than 3% of amount sought by government.
  • Represented government contractor engaged to expand commuter railway servicing major New England municipality, accused of making false claims in an environmental impact statement. Claims dismissed on summary judgment.
  • Represented Department of Energy contractor accused of making false statements in worker and environmental safety documentation.
  • Represented neurosurgeon under investigation by HHS-OIG regarding alleged kick-backs from surgical device manufacturers.
  • Represented billing coding company in Department of Justice investigation and qui tam lawsuit regarding upcoding of claims.
  • Won summary judgment in civil False Claims Act litigation by Department of Justice alleging materially false certification by HUD contractor of "decent, safe, and sanitary" apartment complex.
  • Represented property manager in False Claims Act litigation regarding HUD rental assistance payments; dismissed on summary judgment.
  • Represented university executive in state perjury investigation arising out of legislative testimony; prosecution declined.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

  • Represented companies in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations by Department of Justice and SEC in Indonesia, Turkey and other countries. SEC consent order with no DOJ action in one matter. Declination of prosecution by DOJ in another matter. Internal investigation with no reporting in another matter in China.
  • Represented university researcher in fraud charges arising out of NSF grant administration.
  • Represented convenience store chain in civil litigation and criminal investigation of alleged violations of contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act, leading to favorable civil settlement and corporate pretrial diversion agreement.

General Crimes

  • Represented defendant in federal firearms prosecution and plea agreement.
  • Represented civilian employee of Department of the Navy in investigation of misuse of transportation funds; settled for partial repayment without loss of employee's security clearance or job.
  • Represented defendant in federal perjury investigation; no indictment resulted.
  • Represented purchasers of assets potentially subject to forfeiture in negotiations with sellers and Department of Justice.
  • Represented death row inmates in state and federal post-conviction proceedings.
  • Represented residents of Veterans Administration facility charged with federal misdemeanors under Assimilative Crimes Act.
  • Represented private provider of prisons in multiple internal investigations.

Government Contracts

  • Represented Navy officials in Department of Justice investigation of improper communication of bid solicitation information.
  • Conducted timecard internal investigation for civil engineering company/government contractor.
  • Represented officers of technical college in grand jury investigation of student loans.
  • Represented university professor in U.S. Attorney and Department of Education investigation of consulting contracts.
  • Represented university research foundation in qui tam action alleging false scientific data in applications for research grants.
  • Represented computer company in grand jury and Department of Labor investigation of job training contracts.
  • Represented government subcontractor in Department of Defense investigation of supplier to military commissaries.
  • Represented Department of Energy contractor in qui tam lawsuit; settled for minimal amount following filing of motion to dismiss.

Public Corruption

  • Represented congressman in House Bank investigation and FEC proceeding and resolved matters without further action.
  • Represented congressman and cabinet secretary in U.S. House of Representatives House Banking investigation, Federal Elections Commission review of records and Independent Counsel investigation of gifts. Won acquittal after trial with Washington co-counsel.
  • Represented public officials in investigations of bank fraud, federal election, bribery and extortion violations.
  • Represented contractors in bribery investigations of state and local officials; resolved matters.
  • Conducted internal investigation of government-sponsored corporation regarding violations of lobbying rules and ethical standards; following submission of our report, regulator took no further action against corporation.
  • Represented field warehouse company in suit alleging RICO violations; successful verdict upheld by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tax Fraud and Other Criminal Matters Involving Taxation

  • Represented sole shareholder of three corporations investigated for federal income tax and state sales tax evasion; investigation is pending.
  • Represented KPMG partner in Department of Justice investigation of tax shelters and related civil suits by taxpayers; settled civil cases, investigation is pending.