white collar criminal defense & internal corporate investigations

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A white collar criminal investigation presents one of the biggest challenges any company or individual can face.  It disrupts lives and businesses, damages reputations, and threatens the loss of assets – or even liberty.  Those who receive a grand jury subpoena, search warrant, or notice of a criminal investigation need attorneys who know the legal rules and procedures of white collar criminal defense, how the government approaches criminal matters, and how to protect their clients’ interests.

Chaired by Jud Aaron, former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Conrad O’Brien’s trial attorneys and former prosecutors guide and protect their clients through all aspects of a white collar criminal proceeding and the parallel civil and administrative proceedings that often arise.  The collective experience of the Firm’s attorneys is wide-ranging, encompassing state and federal proceedings in Pennsylvania and across the country.  Our expertise extends to fraud, antitrust, computer crimes, embezzlement, False Claims Act, perjury, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, forfeiture, health care enforcement, insurance-related crimes, money laundering, public corruption, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance, state and federal securities laws, and state and federal tax laws.  

Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys consistently achieve client objectives by identifying and addressing the government’s concerns.  We know first-hand what the government is looking for and what factors it finds compelling, and our clients benefit from our reputation for integrity, candor and expertise.

Corporate clients also regularly tap Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys to conduct internal investigations.  We handle these investigations effectively and discreetly, helping our clients comply with the law, uncover and correct wrongdoing, and make informed decisions when faced with internal complaints, litigation, or government inquiries.  We are concerned not only with the issues which led to the investigation in the first place, but also with related challenges involving privilege, preservation of evidence, and public relations.  We recognize that no two cases are the same, and our attorneys’ wealth of experience allows us to tailor each investigation to the client’s particular situation.  We have conducted investigations in a wide range of matters, including securities and financial fraud, insider trading, employment matters, and environmental compliance.

Conrad O’Brien’s paramount goal in dealing with any government probe is to satisfy the government’s concerns and persuade it that criminal charges are not justified – ideally, before an investigation is made public.  We have achieved remarkable success in “winning quietly.”  Through our efforts for example, the government decided not to prosecute: 

  • An executive for a large pharmaceutical company in a case involving alleged misrepresentations to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
  • A lawyer who was the target of a bankruptcy fraud investigation. 
  • The CEO of a publicly traded company who was the target of a contracting fraud investigation by the Department of Defense. 
  • The CEO of a publicly-traded financial services company in an investigation involving a multi-million dollar bank fraud. 
  • A Wall Street employee who was the target of a securities fraud investigation based on a claim of insider trading. 
  • Insurance company executives in an investigation into insurance sales practices. 
  • A former executive of a bankrupt lending company in an investigation of alleged accounting and bank fraud. 
  • Sixty-two staff members of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus and 100 staff members of the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Caucus in connection with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bonusgate investigation. 

Sometimes a criminal prosecution cannot be avoided, and when that happens, we provide a vigorous and effective defense. Whether we negotiate with prosecutors to obtain a result acceptable to clients or we proceed to trial, our years of experience as prosecutors and trial lawyers serve our clients well. Collectively, we have dozens of white collar trials under our belts, and we are able to handle the most complex and difficult prosecutions.

  • A client’s legal issues can spawn proceedings on multiple fronts:  civil, criminal and regulatory.  For example, clients facing criminal securities fraud investigations must also be prepared to defend against class action suits and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions.  Conrad O’Brien’s attorneys immediately assess the range of potential issues and proceedings and develop a coordinated strategy.  Our clients look to us for representation on all fronts, and we have the expertise and resources to help them navigate through these complex situations.  Conrad O’Brien attorneys also advise and represent our clients in government investigations with respect to coverage issues for pre-claim investigation costs under professional liability, D&O, and other commercial insurance policies.

In the Firm’s recent grand jury and government investigations work, our clients include:

  • Top executives of several pharmaceutical manufacturers in civil litigation, whistleblower lawsuits, and criminal investigations by the Department of Justice and state Attorneys General involving off-label marketing, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, false claims, and violations of FDA regulations. 
  • Individuals and entities involved in public corruption cases in Philadelphia, Harrisburg (the seat of Pennsylvania state government), Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. 
  • Officers of companies investigated by the SEC and state authorities regarding alleged securities fraud, stock manipulation and sale of “swaps” to municipalities. 
  • Several employees of a major mortgage servicer in a nationwide investigation of mortgage foreclosure fraud by the U.S. Department of Justice and numerous state Attorneys General. 
  • Numerous attorneys, physicians, accountants, and businesspersons in various federal probes relating to alleged fraud. 
  • Multiple clients, including immunized witnesses, in a state prosecution and grand jury investigation of alleged public corruption in the Pennsylvania State Legislature.