White Collar Criminal Defense & Government Investigations
White collar civil and criminal government investigations and prosecutions bring with them unique challenges to individuals and businesses alike. Unlike civil litigation, such proceedings often involve stark reputational and business risks along with challenging imbalances of power between government prosecutors/investigators and the individuals and companies under potential investigation and prosecution. In many cases, the risks are manifold: steep fines, criminal charges and penalties, intense reputational scrutiny, and the threat of parallel civil proceedings.
The attorneys of Zweiback, Fiset & Zalduendo have extensive experience defending the interests of individuals and businesses through all phases of white collar criminal investigations and prosecutions. We have successfully defended clients in investigations and lawsuits by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), District Attorney, and the California Attorney General, among other government agencies.
White Collar Criminal Cases We Handle
We understand the unique challenges that are presented by the various types of criminal investigations/prosecutions that are pursued as well as the particular challenges of the industries and professions of our clients, and we efficiently tailor our legal and strategic approach to meet our clients’ needs while protecting their interests and preserving their resources.
Our expertise spans a variety of industries including healthcare, energy and natural resources, import/export, public utilities, entertainment, real estate, finance, and government contracting. Furthermore, we have represented individuals and business entities in a variety of white collar contexts, including state and federal criminal prosecutions, investigations and enforcement actions before state and federal government agencies, and in internal investigations in anticipation of and/or parallel to potential prosecutions and investigations.
Physicians, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, insurers, HMOs, healthcare executives and others in the healthcare industry can face criminal and white collar civil enforcement consequences from a variety of state and federal authorities. Our attorneys represent professionals and healthcare entities facing investigations and enforcement actions threatening their livelihoods and reputation based on alleged violations of the Stark laws, anti-kickback provisions, the False Claims Act (also referred to as “FCA” or qui tam lawsuits), and other state and federal laws relating to conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud, racketeering, and drug trafficking.
Our attorneys have over three decades of experience successfully representing clients in political corruption cases, including cities, counties, school districts, agencies, and city and state officials and employees. We understand the unique challenges and reputational risks that those involved in political corruption investigations and prosecutions face, and we strategically tailor our defensive approach to protect our clients’ interests and reputations while minimizing collateral consequences.
We provide counsel and representation to clients facing potential criminal and civil penalties – in addition to reputational damages – in a variety of legal contexts involving alleged bribery. Our attorneys have the skills necessary to guide clients through proceedings and investigations relating to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other international corruption violations; bribery of local, state, and federal officials; violations of anti-kickback statutes relating to physicians and other healthcare providers and professionals; and other alleged improper transfers of funds, property, or favors in exchange for benefits. We provide all necessary legal services to addressing bribery proceedings, including conducting internal investigations, responding to enforcement actions, and defending against prosecutions.
We have worked with clients across industries facing a wide array of government investigations and enforcement actions for regulatory violations before state, local, federal, and international administrative agencies and other enforcement bodies.
Understanding the unique nature and approach of the governmental organization pursuing a regulatory white collar proceeding is key to developing the defensive strategy that best serves our clients’ needs, and we have developed efficient and effective approaches to assisting our clients in reaching favorably settled outcomes and terminated proceedings, while also providing counsel to avoid future regulatory issues.
Federal, state and local authorities have the ability to pursue investigations and prosecutions for alleged violations of environmental laws. Such actions can include the potential for both significant civil and criminal penalties. In many cases, the ongoing reputational consequences for an individual or business entity may be an even more serious concern, thus the need for robust defense with a focus on confidentiality is paramount.
Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in white collar environmental investigations, enforcement actions, and litigation, including federal criminal prosecutions for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. We have negotiated favorable criminal, civil, and administrative settlements before numerous government entities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Air Quality Management District (AQMD), and state and local authorities.
Additionally, our attorneys have the unique experience of representing seafarers for violations of environmental crimes and investigations by the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the EPA, among other government entities.
In recent years, there has been intense governmental scrutiny of import/export violations along with rapidly evolving and increasingly stringent regulations relating to foreign trade. As a result, businesses and individuals can face lengthy, complex investigations that can have significant consequences to their reputations and financial stability.
Our attorneys have worked with domestic and international businesses as well as individuals who find themselves as potential subjects and targets of government investigations and prosecutions into violations of international trade law. We have the skills to manage complex and wide-ranging investigations and provide robust defense while managing our clients’ professional reputations and efficiently working towards a positive outcome.
Individuals and businesses run the risk of incurring steep criminal and civil penalties when under investigation or facing prosecution for money laundering, even when not considered a primary or intentional perpetrator of the alleged money laundering activities. Such investigations and prosecutions are often complex and long-running proceedings, involving government attorneys and financial investigators from a number of federal and state enforcement agencies and invasive and burdensome discovery demands and requests.
Our attorneys have the skills and experience to manage complex money laundering investigations and prosecutorial actions, and develop defensive approaches and strategies to defend their interests and avoid negative outcomes while preserving client resources.
Theft of Trade Secrets
In addition to being the potential basis for a civil action between private parties, theft of trade secrets is a criminal act under both federal and California state law. Federal and state prosecutors can and often do bring felony criminal charges against individuals and businesses alleged to have improperly taken or copied proprietary information – including “all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information” – which has economic value and was intended to be kept secret.
Theft of trade secret laws are broadly drawn, and many professionals, employees, and businesses can unwittingly find themselves under investigation for theft of trade secrets. Criminal convictions for theft of trade secrets can involve prison sentences and steep fines, in addition to collateral consequences for those involved. Our attorneys work with individuals and businesses to address the complex and perilous aspects of a theft of trade secrets investigation or prosecution, handling all aspects of a successful response and defense, including internal investigations, negotiation with government agencies, and litigation.
Speak with an Experienced White Collar Crimes Lawyer
The time to seek experienced counsel from a skilled white collar defense attorney is at the first signs of a potential government investigation, enforcement action or prosecution. Often, the first steps in responding to a potential government proceeding are the most critical in setting the course for an ultimate outcome that defends one’s interests, reputation, and, in some cases, freedom. Contact our office to speak with an experienced white collar defense attorney regarding your situation today.