On behalf of the White Collar, Government Investigations & Special Matters Group at Cranfill Sumner LLP, I want to extend our gratitude and thanks to our colleagues, co-counsel and business partners after another successful year of commitment and service to our clients and the legal profession. I would also like to take this opportunity to spotlight some of the Group’s notable and high-profile cases, as well as our growing group of world-class litigators.
I am proud to report that our lawyers continued to be at the center of many of the most significant enforcement priorities of the United States and foreign governments. We have been extremely active in 2021, representing companies and business leaders in high-stakes prosecutions and investigations spanning five continents. We continue to broaden the scope of industries and professionals we represent in a myriad of crises, cross-border enforcement, and parallel civil and regulatory disputes. From national security and money laundering prosecutions to antitrust and toxic environmental litigation, we are most proud to answer the call when our clients confront life-altering crises or face bet-the-company litigation.
Here are a few exemplary matters we are honored to have been involved in this year:
- Representation of whistleblower Mark Coffey, former chief compliance officer of registered investment advisor firm who exposed alleged $2 billion international conspiracy to launder money from Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PDVSA”) through major U.S. financial firms for the benefit of Venezuelan kleptocrats.
- In United Kingdom, representation of a high-profile individual in a cross-border #MeToo investigation.
- Representation of a dietary supplement manufacturer in a fraud prosecution following government’s seizure of more than $14 million from client bank accounts.
- Representation of an accounting firm in a complex, multi-billion dollar financial crimes and public corruption investigation.
- Representation of a national retailer in a criminal antitrust grand jury investigation.
- Representation of municipality in a multi-agency environmental regulatory enforcement action concerning discharge of “forever chemicals” into drinking supply.
- Representation of physician and medical practice in a health care fraud and medical licensing enforcement action concerning more than $175 million in liabilities.
- Representation of international cargo vessel owner in multi-jurisdictional environmental crimes prosecution.
- Representation of an accounting firm in an investigation concerning alleged financial fraud by religious organization exceeding $10 million.
- Obtained rare writ of prohibition from appellate court precluding enforcement of a discovery order in a criminal state agency investigation.
- Representation of an educational institution in federal litigation concerning application of Title IX regulations to PPP recipients.
- Representation of a large health care institution in an alleged retaliation claim by False Claims Act qui tam relator.
I also would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our expanding team of world-class litigators and former high-ranking DOJ officials. Our Group member biographies are below, and I encourage you to learn more about their unique backgrounds and skillsets. In early January, we will also announce the addition of another seasoned federal litigator coming to us from the New York Bar.
Any investigation. Any indictment. Any hour. We are honored to be of continued service in any business’s or family’s most critical times of need.
Patrick Mincey: Patrick is the Chair of our firm’s White Collar, Government Investigations and Special Matters Group. He has an international practice and actively represents clients in investigations and prosecutions across the globe and throughout the United States. Patrick has extensive experience representing clients with billions of dollars in exposure, as well as executives and high-net-worth individuals facing significant prison terms. His matters concern a range of issues including high-level finance and money laundering, national security and geopolitical crises, health care fraud, antitrust, cybersecurity, and toxic environmental regulatory crimes and enforcement. Patrick represents select qui tam relators and other whistleblowers in ultra-high value referrals brought under the False Claims Act, SEC Office of the Whistleblower, FinCEN Anti-Money Laundering Act and similar federal programs. He is licensed in the state and federal courts of North Carolina, New York and the District of Columbia.
Zac Bolitho: Zac uses his unique blend of experience as a federal prosecutor, high-ranking U.S. Department of Justice official, and award-winning law professor to represent companies and individuals in criminal prosecutions, government investigations, internal investigations, regulatory compliance matters, and constitutional litigation. From 2017-2018, Zac served on the staff of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He was ultimately promoted to Associate Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff, serving as one of the Deputy Attorney General’s principal advisers, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the entire U.S. Department of Justice. As a former AUSA, Zac has tried numerous federal cases to verdict.
Jason Harris: Jason is Chair of the firm’s Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group. He represents clients including blue water shipping vessel owners, officers and crew in criminal and regulatory investigations and prosecutions brought by the United States Coast Guard and Department of Justice. These often include MARPOL and APPS enforcement. Jason’s representative matters have taken him across the United States and around the world to international commercial destinations such as Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, Denmark, England, the Netherlands and Costa Rica.
Stephen Bell: Stephen has a wide-ranging practice focused on representing parties in complex, multi-agency criminal and commercial litigation matters in state and federal courts and other administrative bodies. He represents companies and high-net-worth individuals in class actions and multi-district litigation, securities litigation and arbitration, government whistleblower actions and representation of qui tam relators, and defense of white collar offenses and government investigations. Stephen also acts as outside counsel to a number of businesses in both North and South Carolina. Stephen is admitted to the state and federal bars of North Carolina and South Carolina as well as the U.S. District Court and Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Levi Huston: Levi has extensive experience in investigations brought by numerous state and federal agencies, often involving allegations of criminal corporate negligence which has resulted in death, personal injury or toxic exposure. Levi has spent countless hours in investigations “in the field” following after hours emergency calls from clients being raided by various agencies. His sweeping experience ranges from large industrial complexes in OSHA investigations to blue water shipping vessels during United States Coast criminal environmental maritime investigations and Port State Control Examinations.
Russ Racine: Russ represents corporate and individual clients in a range of industries, with a particular focus on intellectual property and professional liability in state and federal courts across North and South Carolina. Russ is a former prosecutor and has extensive experience in state level white collar crime including embezzlement, breach of trust, financial transaction card crimes, and obtaining property by false pretenses. In addition, Russ represents clients accused of dealing in counterfeit goods and other property crimes. Russ has also defended union representatives accused of embezzling funds from unions. In 2020, he was elected to the Business North Carolina “Legal Elite Hall of Fame” in Intellectual Property.
Melanie Huffines: Melanie defends domestic and international clients facing criminal and regulatory investigations, and has experience in a range of litigation concerning corporate fraud, negligence, cybersecurity and corporate espionage. Melanie serves on the Board of Directors of the Charlotte International Arbitration Society.