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
"The fact that they are having sealed proceedings is consistent with an ongoing grand jury investigation and suggests the district attorney may be considering further charges or defendants," said Adam Kaufmann, a former investigations division chief at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office who is currently a partner with the law firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss.NPR, September 20, 2021
Weisselberg may now be questioning whether continued loyalty will be rewarded, said John Moscow, a former senior white-collar prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Though still at the Trump Organization, Weisselberg was removed as CFO following the indictment, and he no longer serves as treasurer and secretary for many of the company’s subsidiaries.
“That’s a big change in his life, and if other people at the company are being told not to talk to him because they might be called to testify, that’s a change too,” said Moscow. “If I’m representing someone in that office, I would have to advise my client that someone like him may flip and may be wearing a wire.”Vanity Fair, September 20, 2021
“This case had many flaws,” said Angerame’s lawyer Anthony Capozzolo. “The clients had their reputations tarnished in a way that simply was not fair or just.
“We are thankful for this decision, and the clients are eager to move on with their lives.”New York Post, July 29, 2021
In what defense attorneys characterized as a rare outcome for a government corruption indictment, a Manhattan judge dismissed charges that the New York Attorney General’s office brought against a former World Trade Center electric operations manager and two subcontractors.
[Judge] Wiley dismissed the full indictment based on testimony before a grand jury, which Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss partner Adam Kaufmann said is a not a common outcome for a bribery indictment filed by the AG. “Indictments don’t get tossed on grand jury minutes to begin with,” Kaufmann said. He added: “This was one of the most deeply flawed cases I have ever seen.”New York Law Journal, July 28, 2021
"The most initial impact on Trump himself will be financial," Anthony Capozzolo, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's office and a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, told Insider. "One of the biggest collateral effects of a company being indicted is its banking relationships and other business relationships because, immediately, all of those companies have obligations, especially banks that are highly regulated. They are obligated to not do business with companies breaking the law."Business Insider, July 2, 2021
Former President Donald Trump's company and its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were indicted on 15 criminal charges Thursday for allegedly evading about $900,000 in taxes with the help of the Trump Organization and its payroll corporation. Yamiche Alcindor reports with Adam Kaufmann, former prosecutor and chief of the investigative division in the Manhattan district attorney's office.PBS News Hour, July 1, 2021
Adam Kaufmann appeared on ABC News Prime to discuss the Trump Organization indictment and what might be next in the prosecution.ABC News, July 1, 2021
- Reuters, July 1, 2021
- MSNBC, June 1, 2021
Adam S. Kaufmann, who served as chief of the office's investigative division, said that "it really suggests they've reached a point in their investigation where the district attorney believes there's evidence of a crime. You don't empanel a special grand jury unless you think you have a viable case."CNN, May 26, 2021
Adam Kaufmann, who served 18 years as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, appeared on MSNBC's The Last Word to discuss why witnesses are granted immunity when testifying before a grand jury in New York and what to expect of the grand jury in the criminal probe of Donald Trump.MSNBC, May 26, 2021
John Moscow, who headed the DA office’s complex crimes unit under Vance’s predecessor, said Trump’s lawyers will take aim at every aspect of a prosecution, asking even whether unauthorized persons attended grand jury sessions.
Trump lawyers may invoke the five-year statute of limitations on conduct that occurred before 2016, saying some acts can’t be prosecuted, Moscow said. The DA could respond that Trump’s absence from New York during his presidency extended the period under scrutiny to 2012 -- a back-and-forth that will chew up more courtroom time.Bloomberg, April 28, 2021
John Moscow, a former top assistant to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who competed with Giuliani for big cases and headlines in the 1980s, said the latter’s former positions more likely raised the bar for the prosecutors who sought the warrant and the judge who signed it.
“This is a search warrant for the home of the former mayor of New York City, a former high-ranking Justice Department official, and they’re saying there’s now probable cause to believe there’s evidence of a crime, that evidence exists, and it’s at his home,” said Moscow, who’s now in private practice.Bloomberg, April 28, 2021
John Moscow was quoted in a Bloomberg article on the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to block a subpoena by the Manhattan District Attorney for Donald Trump's tax returns and other financial records.
“Now they have the evidence that the accounting firm and the corporation have,” said John Moscow, a former chief prosecutor for serious economic crimes at the Manhattan district attorney’s office. “At this point, Trump’s position has to be that he didn’t do anything wrong, because if he did, they’d find it.”Bloomberg, February 22, 2021
- Líder Legal, February 10, 2021
- Idealex Press, February 3, 2021
Adam Kaufmann was quoted in an analytical piece on Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s investigation into Trump and his organization.Financial Times, January 27, 2021
- Cristián Francos appointed as Senior Vice Chair of the International Bar Association's Business Crime Committee
LBKM partner Cristián Francos has been appointed as Senior Vice Chair of the IBA’s Business Crime Committee.January 26, 2021
Cristián Francos been recognized as a Global Leader in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations 2021. Who’s Who Legal is one of the world’s leading directories of legal practitioners.January 2021
- El Constitucional ampara al ex viceministro de Chávez Nervis Villalobos por ser encarcelado ilegalmente
Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported on a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court holding that the imprisonment of Nervis Villalobos, a former Venezuelan official, was unconstitutional. Partner Manuel Varela represented Mr. Villalobos in the appeal.El Mundo, December 23, 2020
Adam Kaufmann appeared on WNYC's "Trump, Inc." podcast to discuss what the Manhattan DA's investigation could mean for Trump.WNYC Studios, December 17, 2020
- Law360, July 10, 2020
- Accounting Today, July 9, 2020
- March 17, 2020
This article sets out the basic process for obtaining extradition to the United States and reviews certain recent cases that suggest that the United States is trying to leverage its political power to bring defendants to the United States either to fulfill political agendas or where the United States’ interest is tangential at best in view of the demonstrable interest of other countries.New York Law Journal, February 3, 2020
Six LBKM professionals have been selected to the 2019 New York and Washington, DC Super Lawyers lists - an honor limited to 5 percent of the lawyers in each state. In addition, one LBKM professional has been selected to the 2019 New York Rising Stars list.October 2019
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Capozzolo — who headed a tax fraud case against former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm and other high-profile investigations — was retained by the city when Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas launched an investigation last year, in conjunction with an audit into the city’s payout practices by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.LI Herald, August 29, 2019
Colleges and universities must recognize the risk of potential corruption in their admissions process, and build intelligent controls to guard against fraud. Lewis Baach’s Arthur D. Middlemiss explains that schools should employ cost-efficient compliance measures and warns of the dangers in failing to do so.Bloomberg Law Insight, March 29, 2019
A government coverup of the Cohen reports “makes no sense,” said Aaron Wolfson, a lawyer who previously oversaw suspicious activity reporting for JPMorgan Chase. “I find that laughable.”Washington Post, May 17, 2018
Mr. Francos was quoted in the article saying, “If someone received a bribe, then someone had to have paid the bribe,” he said. “Companies should be well prepared [to be investigated].” He continued to say, many Argentinian companies that are contracted by the state do not have established policies in terms of compliance and integrity, and will likely rush to put together new compliance programmes. Francos said “this shock could be good” to improve standards quickly. “This [scenario] creates a problem for companies, but also an opportunity that will bring change to Argentina’s business culture,” he said.Global Investigations Review, November 13, 2017
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.Law360, September 30, 2015
- Law360, August 11, 2015
- Juristas norteamericanos y chilenos analizaron avances en materia de regulación del lavado de dineroMarch 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
- LBKM-led legal team obtains dismissal of all charges for World Trade Center contractors indicted in bribery schemeJuly 2021
- Should the United States Be the Global Financial Policeman? International Extradition of White-Collar Defendants
The United States needs to consider carefully whether its treaty advantages and broad jurisdictional statutes should be aggressively used to bring foreign defendants to the United States when the American interest is limited and when other countries may have a greater interest in applying their own statutes, and their own penalty structures.New York Law Journal, March 26, 2021
The Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation has nothing to do with federal law, public acts, or violations involving the political or electoral process. Moreover, as possible charges brought by a sovereign state, they cannot be pardoned by an outgoing President.New York Law Journal, January 12, 2021
- Practical guidance for individuals and companies to consider if served with a federal grand jury subpoena.New York Law Journal, July 31, 2020
The increasing global focus on corruption has led to stronger international cooperation and coordination among regulators, resulting in landmark enforcement actions in new jurisdictions. [...] This panel offered private and public sector prespectives on the latest enforcement trends, the key elements of the new anti-corruption laws, and what all this means for businesses and individuals involved in transnational corruption cases.Krakow, Poland, May 16, 2018
- Cambió el escenario. Llegó el momento. Implementar un programa de integridad anticorrupción sólido no implica reinventar la pólvoraNovember 2017
- For global transparency and financial integrity, the US must ensure that the dollar remains dominanthttp://www.independent.co.uk, October 31, 2017
Mr. Liston, an attorney for Rogicki in both the SEC and state court matters, told Law360 on Friday that his client has "accepted full responsibility for his actions.", an attorney for Rogicki in both the SEC and state court matters, told Law360 on Friday that his client has "accepted full responsibility for his actions."www.law360.com, October 20, 2017
- 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
- Co-author, "Criminal Prosecution Under New York State's Martin Act"LJN Business Crimes Bulletin, Vol. 18, Number 1, September 2010
- June 13, 2009