Members of Katten's White Collar Practice are highly respected defense lawyers and former federal prosecutors, with broad investigative, trial and appellate experience. We regularly conduct internal corporate investigations, defend companies and individuals in grand jury investigations and civil and criminal government and regulatory actions, civilly prosecute racketeering cases aimed at organized and other fraudulent activity on behalf of insurance companies, and develop and implement corporate detection and compliance programs.
The White Collar Practice has conducted corporate internal investigations for clients across a wide spectrum of industries, including national and international financial institutions, government contractors, food industry providers, health care providers and manufacturers. Whatever leads to an investigation in the first instance—whether prompted by a whistleblower or media report, triggered by a grand jury or administrative subpoena, or undertaken solely at the client’s own initiative—Katten’s team of former prosecutors, one of the largest among our law firm peers, brings its unique experience and perspective to the task. Our work is not limited to defending corporate clients in the cross-hairs of a government investigation; we also assist companies victimized by employees or third parties who have engaged in embezzlement, corporate espionage and the like. Our contacts in the law enforcement community throughout the country frequently serve as a valuable resource in those efforts.
White Collar Defense
Katten’s White Collar Practice is active in the representation of corporate and individual clients who have come under criminal or quasi-criminal investigation or who have been subpoenaed in conjunction with such investigations. Our goal is to keep clients out of both the courtroom and the media spotlight.
Virtually every business operating in the United States is affected by statutes or regulations that carry some potential criminal liability. The federal government has altered aggressively its regulatory enforcement approach, targeting for criminal investigation and prosecution many areas that traditionally had been subject primarily to civil regulatory enforcement. This shift in approach has given rise to criminal prosecutions in matters ranging from government contracting and mortgage fraud to the import-export business. We have extensive experience in these and many other areas of criminal litigation, and have defended clients charged with racketeering, tax evasion, health care fraud, customs violations, commodities and securities fraud, currency reporting violations, environmental crime, computer crime and criminal antitrust violations, among others.
With an extraordinarily deep bench of former government attorneys—including 12 former federal and state prosecutors and SEC Enforcement staff—we have the capacity to handle all such matters at all stages of development, from the grand jury phase through motion practice, plea and disposition negotiations, trial, sentencing and appeal. And we have done so in venues across the nation, against agencies federal, state and local—including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and state attorneys’ general, to name only a few. Our lawyers’ track record speaks for itself, with marked success in high-visibility, complex trials and appeals. Several of our partners have received national recognition through the cases we have handled.
In addition to navigating clients through the various stages of a criminal case, Katten’s White Collar lawyers have the skills to handle the many civil dimensions of a criminal matter, including qui tam/False Claims Act litigation, suspension and debarment issues, and shareholder derivative suits.
Antitrust Investigations and Litigation
In the coming years, the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to prosecute several types of cases with renewed vigor. Antitrust is clearly among them. Katten attorneys have the depth and experience necessary to achieve significant successes in antitrust investigations as well as in civil and criminal litigation. We have extensive experience responding to grand jury and administrative subpoenas and coordinating investigations with complex parallel proceedings ranging from class action civil litigation to foreign investigations. Our representation has included multi-district litigations and “opt-out” actions. Our attorneys have assisted clients in a wide variety of industries and matters—from carbon products, scrap metal and bleaching chemicals, to transportation services, dry cleaning and maritime services.
While our goal is always to avoid criminal prosecution for our clients, when litigation is necessary, Katten’s skilled and powerful advocates are called upon to handle antitrust cases from the first request for information through trial and the appellate courts. Our experience in this area, combined with the breadth of the firm’s overall experience, differentiates us from other white collar litigation practices. The firm’s national presence enables us to represent clients efficiently and effectively across the country and across industries. Our Antitrust Litigation Practice includes former Assistant United States Attorneys and former Department of Justice Associate Deputy Attorneys General, who assist in developing an efficient strategy to protect the client’s interest in each proceeding.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The globalization of U.S. business has created new opportunities and challenges. Katten attorneys are well situated to advise U.S. and foreign companies about the scope and obligations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have greatly intensified their enforcement efforts under the FCPA, which is reflected in the dramatic increase in the number of cases and penalties in recent years. Our attorneys can help companies, no matter what the size, navigate the many complex and perilous issues that confront them in their efforts to conduct and expand their businesses across the globe.
White Collar Prosecution
The White Collar Practice also assists clients in developing litigation strategies designed to minimize their exposure to fraud and criminal activity. The firm is using the skills developed by its former federal prosecutors in creative new areas. We are working with key members of the insurance industry to create and implement programs that identify and develop evidence against organized insurance fraud rings operating locally and nationally. We also cooperate with law enforcement and regulatory agencies with regard to criminal prosecution and disciplinary proceedings against organized ring members, using civil racketeering and fraud actions to recover treble and punitive damages.
The insurance industry estimates that organized fraud rings bilk companies out of $20 to $40 billion each year, and we are working extensively with insurers to design effective anti-fraud programs and to recover damages from fraud rings through private lawsuits under the federal racketeering statute. The firm filed one such action against 29 attorneys, health care providers and others, seeking more than $9 million in damages. The case received extensive media coverage in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Forbes and others, which called the case “an unprecedented effort by the nation’s largest auto insurer to attack a growing fraud problem in a concerted way” and a “new, innovative” and “bold step.”
Our White Collar Practice provides counseling and representation to assist clients in avoiding criminal liability and collateral civil exposure before and during investigations. We work closely with corporations in the preparation of effective compliance programs to ensure that employees are made aware of their company’s commitment to act ethically and within the bounds of the law.