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John (Jack) E. Riley

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T: 215.523.8336

F: 215.523.9726

Jack is one of Pennsylvania’s most seasoned and trusted white-collar criminal defense attorneys. A former Assistant United States Attorney, Jack’s negotiating skills are well admired by his colleagues as are his intense and aggressive preparation for conversations with the government and ultimately for trial. A former varsity football player in college, Jack has immense reservoirs of grit, gamesman strategy and is tireless in the care and defense of his clients.

Jack is one of Pennsylvania’s most seasoned and trusted white-collar criminal defense attorneys. A former Assistant United States Attorney, Jack’s negotiating skills are well admired by his colleagues as are his intense and aggressive preparation for conversations with the government and ultimately for trial. A former varsity football player in college, Jack has immense reservoirs of grit, gamesman strategy and is tireless in the care and defense of his clients.

His experience on both sides of the courtroom is substantial.  A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Jack has tried numerous complex jury trials and handled a myriad of long-term grand jury investigations. Some of his work is the stuff movies are made about.  As a U.S. Attorney, he successfully deported a Nazi war criminal who had participated with German forces in the persecution of Jews in Russia, culminating in the death of thousands in a mass killing.  In that case, United States v. Kowalchuk, Jack traveled behind the Iron Curtain and Israel to conduct depositions of holocaust survivors. In 1979, he received a Special Achievement Award from the Attorney General of the United States in recognition of sustained superior performance. 

In private practice for over 30 years, Jack has successfully defended scores of individuals and businesses. One of his most notable cases was the nine-week federal court trial of the former ranking Republican in Congress, Congressman Joseph McDade, who was acquitted of all criminal charges including racketeering, bribery, and conspiracy. His approach to his practice is grounded in the philosophy that each client’s case requires constant attention and evaluation at each juncture. A sizeable part of his practice is advising businesses concerning compliance with complex laws and regulations to avoid the risk of criminal investigations.

representative matters

  • Representation of a business executive in a white collar case in which charges were filed by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in connection with the operation of client’s business practices related to the management of 4,000 apartment units in the Reading, Pennsylvania area.  Successfully argued downward departure/variance issues at sentencing and client received a much less severe sentence. 
  • Representation of Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel in connection with a grand jury investigation in which several employees were subpoenaed based on the exercise of their work-related duties to inspect and oversee the review of certain health care facilities.
  • Representation of numerous state employees in a federal grand jury investigation in the Middle District of Pennsylvania concerning the conduct of an elected official.
  • Representation of state employees in a federal grand jury investigation and prosecution in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of an elected state official.
  • Representation of Pennsylvania Department of Education in an equity action filed in Commonwealth Court against a cyber charter school which sought, among other relief, to eliminate a management relationship between the cyber school and an outside consulting company; as part of a global settlement of related issues, the relationship between the cyber school and the management company ended.   
  • Representation of former Pennsylvania Senator Raphael Musto in connection with charges related to his conduct as a Pennsylvania state senator; case still pending but client has been adjudged mentally incompetent to stand trial at a hearing held on January 6, 2014. 
  • Representation of various entities and individuals in numerous Qui Tam healthcare- related federal grand jury investigations and/or litigation under the federal Qui Tam statute; these matters involved both representation of Qui Tam relators/whistleblowers as well as instances of representation of defendants and/or executives of healthcare entities involved in Qui Tam investigations and litigation.
  • Representation of an attorney sued in a Dragonetti Act civil litigation case; he was one of over 20 attorneys and entities sued based on their roles as class action plaintiffs’ counsel or plaintiffs in the Luzerne County “Kids for Cash” saga; case was dismissed by trial court which sustained preliminary objections, was affirmed on appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court and is now awaiting a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the Appellant’s Petition for Allowance of Appeal.
  • Representation of an attorney, employed by a cyber charter school, in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania which resulted in federal charges against the former CEO and an accountant.
  • Representation of a company and its executives in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection into the on-site sewage systems and on-site water treatment facilities at several of the 73 mobile home parks owned and operated by the company; after 2 years of investigation and negotiations, a formal Consent Order was agreed upon and filed in federal court to resolve and address any and all environmental issues.
  • Conducted an internal investigation of a $100 Million Dollar Venture Capital Fund as a result of significant losses sustained by the Fund; among the largest investors in the Fund were State controlled pension funds from several states in the Northeast region of the United States; report written and provided to each investor, as a well as a personal presentation to all major investors.

While razor focused in the courtroom, outside of work, Jack enjoys spending time with his family at the Jersey shore (Ocean City, NJ). Jack, his wife, Laurie, and two children (Kristen, 26 and Brendan, 22) are all avid skiers and take annual family ski trips to Colorado. Jack and his wife, Laurie, are also bicycle enthusiasts who enjoy routine 15-20 mile rides on weekends from the Spring through the Fall and have participated in charity bike rides, including the MS bike ride to the Jersey Shore.

published works

"The Trial of the September 11 War Criminals", Philadelphia Bar Institute, February, 2002

past employment positions

  • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Clerk, 1975 - 1976
  • U.S., Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1976 - 1984
  • U.S., Criminal Division, Deputy Chief, 1978 - 1981
  • International Nazi War Crimes Investigation Project, Chief Prosecutor, 1981
  • President's Drug Task Force, Chief, 1982 – 1984
  • Private Practice (Vaira and Riley) 1985-2013