White Collar Defense & Investigations

Our success is based on a time-tested approach: seek peace but prepare for war. Because our partners are gifted trial attorneys with established reputations, prosecutors take seriously our assessments of evidentiary weaknesses and the threat of us taking a case to trial. However, we are also known as respectful advocates, who “keep the fight in the courtroom.” Our strategy of proactive engagement and direct diplomacy has often kept our clients “under the radar,” even in high-profile matters. Our ability to fight fiercely but fairly helps preserve our clients’ options. Always armed with facts and arguments to advance our clients’ interests, we have helped most of our clients avoid prosecution altogether throughout dozens of matters.

We have conducted complex internal investigations for some of the world’s leading companies, including in the financial, real estate, health care, industrial, automotive, energy, retail, and entertainment sectors. Many of our investigations required simultaneous investigative work in multiple countries and working in partnership with domestic and foreign enforcement authorities, even when those authorities were working at cross purposes. Our investigations have covered every type of business crime imaginable, including securities fraud, insider trading, foreign bribery, antitrust, accounting violations, economic sanctions violations, cyber-based offenses, money laundering, embezzlement, false billing, and off-label marketing. We work fast and efficiently. We are known by enforcement authorities here and abroad as “straight shooters,” whether we are disclosing wrongdoing or defending against inaccurate or false allegations. We have consistently mitigated or eliminated penalties when enforcement authorities are involved and helped quietly remediate many problems when they are not.

WMH lawyers also have represented companies and individuals in anti-bribery/FCPA matters brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. We also have conducted internal investigations based on whistleblower allegations relating to such offenses and helped companies remediate legal problems and strengthen their compliance programs to avoid an occurrence or recurrence of FCPA issues.

At a time when federal and state authorities have deployed unprecedented resources and passed new legislation to root out billing and related fraud against the government, many legitimate businesses have been pulled into sweeping investigations, often based on scant evidence or fanciful theories. At the same time, some businesses continue to use lax governmental oversight as an opportunity to bilk the state and federal agencies. Whether to attack fraudulent practices or protect honest businesses, we litigate false claims cases across the board.

Representative Cases

  • Represent one of the most significant whistleblowers in sports history. The client fled Russia and disclosed Russia’s operation of a multi-year, state-sponsored doping program, which had been hidden for years from the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, and other international sporting operations. The client’s cooperation directly resulted in the IOC’s decision to ban the Russian National Olympic Team from competing under its national flag in the 2018 Winter Olympics. WMH also represents the client in connection with his testimony at the Helsinki Commission, a bi-cameral body with members in the House of Representatives and Senate.
  • Represent a senior Hong Kong-based executive of a major U.S. bank in preparing for and participating in interviews being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, all related to possible charges under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. WMH also represents the client in responding to an associated internal investigation being conducted by the bank.
  • Represent several current and former employees of a generics pharmaceuticals manufacturer in an antitrust investigation conducted by the DOJ. The investigation spans multiple years and covers many different drugs. None of WMH’s clients have been charged with any crimes, and two have received nonprosecution agreements.
  • Represent the former Director of Business Development of a British political consulting firm in connection with an inquiry by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The client, who has testified before the UK Parliament and has been asked to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, is at the center of several investigations based on the firm’s work for a U.S. presidential campaign, as well as the firm’s role in micro-targeting of voters in connection with U.K.’s Brexit.
  • Represent an American global supplier of automotive parts in a series of antitrust investigations and cases brought against the company in Brazil and the EU, as well as civil suits in the United States. WMH was appointed as the “global coordinating counsel,” to supervise these investigations and help prepare responses to criminal and civil demands.Represented an executive of a foam manufacturer involved in a DOJ antitrust investigation of alleged cartel activities in the auto industry. The DOJ declined to pursue any action against our client.
  • Represent a senior executive of a global security and aerospace company in a DOJ investigation regarding the company’s alleged violations of the False Claims Act in its information technology work at a nuclear reservation.
  • Represent a major executive at a sports company who is a potential subject of an SDNY investigation into allegedly illegal payments made to amateur high school and college athletes.
  • Represent a university basketball coach in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York into alleged involvement of a university’s basketball coaches in a scheme to bribe a student to enroll at the university. The investigation resulted in no civil or criminal charges for our client.
  • Represent an individual in the investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Special Counsel’s Office into allegations of collusion in a presidential campaign.
  • Represent an employee of a U.S. bank in an investigation arising out of the corruption scandals at Federation Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) and other soccer federations around the world. The investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, in conjunction with the IRS and the DOJ’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, involves multiple banks, concern whether the bank violated federal banking law. The client has not been charged in the investigation.
  • Represent a former board member of a medical research foundation in connection with a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice into certain financial transactions involving the foundation, another nonprofit, and a prominent individual. The investigation resulted in no civil or criminal charges for our client.
  • Represent a former CEO of a leading sports network in Argentina. The client has acted as the government’s “star” witness in a recent trial of three men facing charges of racketeering conspiracy as well as wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, for their part in a scheme to rig bidding for lucrative broadcasting rights to FIFA sponsored international soccer tournaments.
  • Represent a manager of trading desks who is under investigation by the SEC for internationally failing to comply with terms of pre-release agreements between certain U.S. banks and ADR broker firms. The Antitrust Division of U.S. DOJ has initiated a related investigation to determine whether there is collusion between various ADR broker firms.
  • Represent a contractor who pled guilty to federal tax charges and is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York in an unrelated government corruption investigation. The client expects to be called as a witness in several upcoming trials involving corruption in Long Island, New York.
  • Represent a Fortune 50 company in an internal investigation concerning allegedly illicit trading practices. The investigation exonerated the company and senior management of any wrongdoing and resulted in no civil or criminal enforcement actions.
  • Represent an executive of a major global fuel services company in connection with an investigation by the DOJ into potential anticompetitive conduct in the international fuel services business.
  • Represent the founder and president of an international sports marketing company in both a criminal and civil case alleging corruption and the payment of bribes and kickbacks in the business of international soccer.
  • Represent a prominent real estate developer and a political fixture on Long Island in an EDNY investigation regarding alleged public corruption in Nassau and Suffolk County, New York. The client has not been prosecuted.
  • Represent the Chief Accounting Officer at a large regional bank, in a SEC investigation involving allegations of accounting violations.
  • Represent the former Head of Sales of an offshore drilling company in a FCPA investigation. After a multi-year investigation, WMH convinced DOJ to offer a nonprosecution agreement to the client.
  • Represent an energy company in connection with a DOJ investigation concerning alleged money laundering violations.
  • Represent the former Chief Financial Officer of a New York-based hedge fund in connection with securities fraud charges by the United State’s Attorney’s Office and the SEC.
  • Successfully defended a corporate client in a high-profile public corruption case in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). The firm won the only acquittal in the highly contested and publicized four-defendant trial.
  • Represented an associate portfolio manager at a leading multi-fund investment manager in an investigation by the Division of Enforcement of the SEC into alleged mismarking of assets. After hearing presentation from WMH, the SEC declined to pursue any action against our client.
  • Represented an employee of major international bank in connection with a widely covered FCPA investigation conducted by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve and local Hong Kong authorities.
  • Represented the former CEO of an online auction company in connection with a federal fraud investigation. After convincing DOJ that several of its core allegations were unfounded, DOJ resolved the matter with a significantly reduced plea. Although the client still faced a 10-year sentence, he received only 20-months in jail.
  • Represented Charles J. “Joe” Hynes, the former long-standing Brooklyn District Attorney in a multi-year federal criminal investigation involving allegations of using public funds for personal use during an election campaign. WMH ultimately persuaded the U.S. Attorney’s Office to close the investigation without filing charges.
  • Represented a former long-standing NYC district attorney in a Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) investigation involving allegations of using the DA office’s resources for campaign-related work during an election campaign. WMH persuaded the COIB to significantly reduce the fine and breadth of the charges that were issued against the client.
  • Represented a corporate client in a bribery case alleging that the client used an agent of a NYS governmental entity to secure large construction projects from a venture involving an RFP.
  • Represented a lawyer in a securities fraud investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. We submitted extensive papers and made a number of detailed oral presentations to the SEC concerning the various reasons that charges would be unwarranted. After an extensive and multi-year investigation, the SEC determined not to take any enforcement action against our client.
  • Represented a real-estate-investment firm in connection with an investigation by the NYC Department of Finance into a real-estate transaction involving an American multinational investment bank and financial services company.
  • Represented the former president of a multi-billion-dollar private company after his conviction for wire fraud and witness tampering. WMH filed a motion for a new trial, served as lead counsel at sentencing, and serves as co-counsel in the appeal.
  • Represented a prominent individual who had been accused of helping to orchestrate high-stakes poker games for various hedge fund managers and celebrities. The client was given a probationary sentence.
  • Represented an NBA player in a felony weapons charge initiated by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. We secured a non-custodial sentence and a small fine for the client in an agreed-upon disposition.
  • Represented a senior executive at a leading Wall Street investment bank in connection with a number of federal and state governmental investigations into an incident involving the alleged theft and use of confidential supervisory information, by another individual. The investigations resulted in no civil or criminal charges for our client.
  • Represented two Swiss bankers who were accused of assisting U.S. tax-payers in hiding more than $100 million in taxable funds from the U.S. government. WMH successfully obtained dismissal of the felony charge, with each client accepting a misdemeanor with no jail sentence. The case emerged from a U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion by wealthy Americans utilizing undeclared Swiss bank accounts.
  • Represented former CEO of U.S. subsidiary of international Japanese company in connection with investigation alleging antitrust offenses and obstruction-of-justice.
  • Represented the Chief Compliance Officer of a major multinational investment bank and financial services company and its Hong Kong subsidiary in connection with a joint DOJ and SEC investigation concerning alleged violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Neither DOJ nor the SEC took action against the client.
  • Represented an elected official in a long-term investigation of corruption allegations of a public entity created to investigate public corruption. WMH convinced prosecutors that the client had repeatedly tried to use the entity’s powers to expose corruption, as it was created to do. The investigation was closed without bringing charges.
  • Assisted the Audit Committee of an international and professional financial services company to investigate alleged wrongdoing by its internal audit department. The investigation exonerated the company and senior management of any wrongdoing, although it found wrongdoing by an auditor, and resulted in no civil or criminal enforcement actions.
  • Represented a U.S. based derivatives trading firm in an employment law internal investigation into allegations of discrimination.
  • Conducted an internal investigation into allegations of sexual abuse spanning 40 years at an elite private school.
  • Assisted a global technology company in conducting an internal investigation into a possible employee misconduct by its information technology department.
  • Represented an American sports and entertainment holding company and three security officers in connection with a criminal investigation into a former NBA player’s misconduct and arrest during a game. WMH continues to represent the client as co-counsel in the civil suit against the company in connection with the events of the game.
  • Represented a former New York City commissioner in an U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigation of public corruption allegations in the New York City. The investigation covered allegations that the NYC Mayor or his aides took beneficial action on behalf of donors in exchange for contributions made to his mayoral campaign or political nonprofit.
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