White Collar Defense
In today’s heightened enforcement climate, proceedings can change from regulatory/administrative to criminal in the blink of an eye. Increasingly, prosecutors seek to indict corporate entities and target high-level officers and directors for prosecution and jail. Our substantial experience has earned us the confidence of top executives and officials in numerous high-profile investigations: Enron, Halliburton, the UN Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme, America Online, Banca Privada de Andorra, FIFA, and others.
In this environment, our clients rely on us because we provide sophisticated counsel and keen strategic planning. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys leave no stone unturned in exploring every potential legal and strategic defense. A vigorous defense should begin before charges are filed and should seek to forestall charges through investigation, negotiation, and legal advocacy. Sometimes, a thorough internal investigation can lead to a defense that will convince the government not to proffer charges. When charges cannot be avoided, our lawyers can rely on decades of courtroom experience to force the government to prove its case.
Our criminal defense attorneys include former state and federal prosecutors and include the former chief of the Manhattan District Attorney’s White Collar Division, a former federal prosecutor who handled complex cybercrime matters and was the lead prosecutor for the successful prosecution of a sitting Congressman, and the former Chief of the Manhattan D.A.’s International Financial Crimes Bureau. They have handled countless high-profile matters including public corruption, money laundering, fraud, cybercrime, terror finance, and virtually every type of white collar crime. Our attorneys also include longtime defense practitioners who made their careers by going toe-to-toe against the government. The combination of prosecutorial perspective and defense experience gives us an edge in building successful defenses. Many of our matters are international in scope, and involve navigating regulatory and criminal investigations in multiple jurisdictions.
On the investigative side, we have conducted internal investigations at financial institutions and corporations both within the United States and abroad. In one matter, we were retained just as federal prosecutors were preparing to serve the U.S. correspondent of a foreign bank with an asset freeze order. We conducted an internal investigation, recognized the problems within the bank, and negotiated with federal prosecutors to prevent them from serving the freeze order – which almost certainly would have meant the end of the client’s privileges in the United States and, in turn, its ability to function as an international bank.
Finally, we have often used our knowledge of what makes a good case to refer matters to law enforcement. Whistleblowers and victims of massive frauds have retained us to investigate allegations of crime, procure evidence, and bring matters to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Some of the areas where we have successfully defended the rights and interests of our clients—both individuals and organizations—include:
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act/ International Bribery Investigations
- Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud
- Money Laundering
- Political Corruption/Honest Services Fraud
- Securities Fraud
- Tax Fraud
- Cybercrime and Identity Theft
- Sanctions and Export Control Violations
- Customs Fraud
- Whistleblower Actions
- Asset Forfeiture
- Congressional Investigations and Testimony
- Response to Grand Jury Subpoenas and Target Letters
- Criminal Trials and Appeals
- Representing Corporations or Employees of Targeted Corporations
In the News
On Monday, Dec. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision clarifying subsection 1 of the bank fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. §1344, in Shaw v. United States. Notwithstanding a veritable ocean of case law, regulations and statutes that delineate the difference between a bank’s property and that of its customers, the court quickly pushed such technical arguments to the side, holding that — for the purposes of the bank fraud statute — there is no practical difference between targeting a bank customer’s funds and targeting the bank’s own funds.Law360, December 13, 2016
“The court’s decision is in keeping with the long-standing principle that a fraud can be prosecuted under the criminal law even if the victim does not suffer a loss — which is an important distinction between criminal fraud and civil fraud,” said A. Katherine Toomey, a partner at Lewis Baach PLLC.Law360, December 12, 2016
- Insiders 'Back on the Hook' After U.S. Supreme Court Insider Decision
For two years, stock traders and the attorneys who represent them said the law surrounding insider trading was a muddle, with no one knowing what exactly is or isn’t legal.
The U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 6 said it had ‘‘easily’’ settled the question (Salman v. United States, 2016 BL 404795, U.S., No. 15-628, 12/6/16).
‘‘Going forward, even remote tippees of inside information are at risk if the government can demonstrate that the defendant knew he was trading on inside information and the chain of disclosure is sufficiently close, even if no money changes hands.’’ Eric Lewis, Lewis Baach PLLCBloomberg BNA White Collar Crime Report, 2016
Both the speed and the unanimity of the decision sent a strong message re-affirming existing insider trading prosecutions, according to Eric Lewis, a partner at Lewis Baach, a Washington DC law firm specializing in financial crimes.
"It was somewhat surprising that the Supreme Court took this case," Lewis told ValueWalk, noting that it had been two decades since the high court took up an insider trading case.ValueWalk, December 6, 2016
- KYC360, May 3, 2016
- Adam S. Kaufmann lauded as "high-powered attorney and crisis manager," Vanity Fair, February 16, 2016
- A former Siemens executive became the first person to plead guilty to U.S. criminal charges of helping run a bribery campaign that moved tens of millions of dollars to Argentine officials in connection with a $1 billion national ID card project.
Mr. Francos is mentioned in the article and is admitted to practice only in Buenos Aires; not engaged in the practice of law in the District of Columbia.Law360, September 30, 2015
- Law360, August 11, 2015
- Juristas norteamericanos y chilenos analizaron avances en materia de regulación del lavado de dinero
Mr. Francos is admitted to practice only in Buenos Aires; not engaged in the practice of law in the District of Columbia.March 25, 2013
- Iranian's check raises 70 million questionsThe arrest of an Iranian official in Germany provided indications that Venezuelan banks may be helping Iran evade economic sanctions.El Nuevo Herald, 2013
- The Deal Pipeline, February 22, 2012
- Saudi Arabia’s most high profile legal battle indicates just how dangerous the world’s capital markets remain a decade after Sept. 11, 2001.Trends Magazine, September 11, 2011
Publications, Presentations & Events
- May 16, 2013
- Briefing: Ralph Lauren Corruption Enforcement Action Allegedly Involving Inappropriate Payments to Argentine Customs Officials Demonstrates the Benefits of Effective ControlsApril 24, 2013
- April 9, 2013
- Annual Review - Financier WorldwideApril 2012
- June 13, 2009