White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations


Ulmer & Berne’s White Collar and Corporate Investigations attorneys successfully represent and defend corporations and individuals, including high-level executives, in a wide variety of complex federal and state investigations and prosecutions, regulatory matters, internal investigations, and related civil proceedings. Our lawyers have a strong background and tradition in solving problems and delivering excellent results for clients.

The defense of white collar criminal prosecutions and investigations requires experience and sophistication. Correctly and quickly assessing the risk of criminal exposure and available options is the difference between possible heavy criminal penalties and jail time or greatly reduced consequences, such as non-prosecution agreements, amnesty in criminal cartel cases, immunity, cooperation agreements, favorable plea agreements, and deferred prosecution agreements. Many times, the best results for our clients are achieved discretely, without publicity or fanfare, when we have convinced a federal or state prosecutor or regulatory enforcer to stand down and not charge or pursue an enforcement action against our client. Other times, the best results for our clients are achieved by defending at trial, where our lawyers excel. Knowing what to do, when to do it, and how prosecutorial decisions are made makes all the difference in defending white collar cases.

Our lawyers include former prosecutors for the U.S. Department of Justice, state Attorney General’s offices, and other regulatory agencies and associations, including the EPA, SEC, and FINRA. In their former careers with the government, our lawyers were responsible for building large, complex white collar cases from scratch and overseeing them through conclusion, from the investigative and grand jury phase, through plea agreement and indictment, through conviction, sentencing and appeal. Our lawyers have an understanding and appreciation for criminal and enforcement functions, including how and why prosecutorial and enforcement decisions are made. Our lawyers now use their finely honed skill set, including drawing upon their considerable law enforcement and government contacts, to vigorously defend corporations and individuals in a wide array of white collar areas, including:

  • Antitrust (including criminal cartels)
  • Anti-Money Laundering
  • Conspiracy (criminal and civil)
  • Economic espionage acts (trade secrets)
  • Environmental violations and compliance
  • Financial crimes
  • Financial litigation services (including broker-dealer matters)
  • FINRA
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters (SEC and DOJ investigations)
  • Forfeiture (criminal and civil)
  • Grand jury
  • Health care fraud
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Public corruption
  • Procurement fraud
  • Racketeering (RICO)
  • Securities fraud and litigation
  • Tax fraud and related offenses

Corporate Investigations

Criminal acts that occur in the corporate context require a prompt response. Our attorneys direct and conduct investigations at the request of company owners and executives, in-house counsel, and boards of directors. We prepare and execute swift investigative plans that ensure the integrity of the process and the evidence gathered. Our objective is to identify the source of criminal conduct and purge it.

Our attorneys are experienced in crafting compliance programs and in conducting preventive audits. In many cases, having a compliance program and conducting effective compliance audits may eliminate or mitigate internal and external risk. We draw on the wealth of experience within our firm to provide subject matter knowledge across a range of industries so that the compliance programs we prepare meet our clients’ specific needs.

When even the most robust preventive measures fail, we respond to the internal and external threats corporations encounter. We respond when rogue employees use company resources to enrich themselves. We also respond when external bad actors penetrate corporate security and put trade secrets, data and other competitively sensitive information at risk of exposure. Our attorneys quickly triage threats posed to our clients and work to eliminate them.

Press Release Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the promotions of five of its attorneys to partner. They include Daniel Gottesman, Richard Hamilton, Jr., Jesse Lipcius, Brad Sobolewski, and Ulmer’s General Counsel, Kenneth Zirm. In addition, Ulmer also elevated associate Evelyn Holmer to counsel. Lipcius is based in...

Jennifer Lawry AdamsKathryn Hickner Ulmer & Berne is pleased to announce that Kathryn Hickner has joined Jennifer Lawry Adams as co-chair of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group. As Counsel, Ms. Hickner brings more than a decade of legal experience in the health care industry to Ulmer & Berne’s Cleveland...

“Michael Nathan Ungar | Ulmer & Berne LLP” Cleveland Jewish News January 15, 2015 Perennial Super Lawyer Michael Nathan Ungar considers settlement of a dispute embroiling Case Western University among his most memorable cases of 2014. Read the full article »

Ulmer & Berne LLP has been ranked within the top 10 percent of all law firms by The BTI Consulting Group, one of the nation’s leading legal industry research firms, in their recently published 2015 BTI Litigation Outlook report. The firm was selected as a “Litigation Powerhouse” and is named...

Ulmer & Berne LLP was named 2014 Ohio Firm of the Year by Benchmark Litigation at the second annual Benchmark Litigation US Awards held at the Essex Hotel in New York City on January 29, 2014. The US Benchmark Awards were based on a six-month research period involving extensive interviews...

Representative Experience

  • Represent corporation, its owners, and its employees in federal, criminal antitrust grand jury investigation initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
  • Represent prominent individual and corporation in lawsuit brought by Cuyahoga County involving alleged violations of the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act, civil conspiracy, theft of public funds, civil liability for criminal acts, and fraud.
  • Represent individual in federal proceedings involving criminal and civil forfeiture related to a Ponzi scheme and related federal and state class action litigation involving claims of fraudulent money transfers.
  • Represent individuals in SEC and U.S. Department of Justice investigation involving alleged Ponzi scheme.
  • Represent corporation and individual in enforcement action brought by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Represented individual in a matter involving state investigation of possible homicide.
  • Represent individual in a matter involving criminal investigation conducted by Veteran’s Administration Agency.
  • Represent prominent financial institution whose agent stole significant sum of money (roughly $1 million) from the financial institution’s client.
  • Represent individuals in IRS investigations involving federal tax laws, both criminal and civil.
  • Represent international corporation in a matter involving recovery of money swindled from the client by an unscrupulous stock transfer agent.
  • Represent prominent company whose trade secrets were stolen by a competitor.
  • Defended health care fraud grand jury investigations and investigative demands involving large health care organizations, physician practices and other healthcare providers.
  • Defended investigation by the Ohio Department of Insurance into fraudulent sales acts and practices by an insurance brokerage firm, resulting in no finding and closure of the case.
  • Defended investigation by the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Securities and FINRA into embezzlement claims made by a bank against a registered representative, resulting in no finding and closure of the cases.
  • Defended investigation by the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Securities concerning unfair, deceptive, abusive and fraudulent sales activity by a registered representative, resulting in no finding and closure of the case.
  • Defended the chief financial officer of a large insurance company in a federal criminal tax and insurance fraud prosecution, resulting in a significantly reduced term of imprisonment.
  • Defended a corporate compliance executive in a federal investigation and prosecution by the Ohio Environmental Crimes Task Force, U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Justice, resulting in a guilty plea to a criminal information and a very short term of imprisonment.

Representative Experience Government

  • While with the U.S. Department of Justice, investigated, prosecuted, and tried federal, criminal antitrust cases involving the Sherman Act, both international and national, against corporations and their high-level executives, including cases involving price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation.
  • While with the U.S. Department of Justice, led prominent FCPA and money laundering investigation involving alleged corruption in Iraq in connection with the Global War on Terror.
  • While with the U.S. Department of Justice, investigated and prosecuted corporations and individuals for numerous federal crimes, including conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, obstruction of justice, perjury, false statements, interstate transportation of stolen property, immigration, identity theft, bank theft, theft of public funds, and felons in possession of firearms.
  • While with the U.S. Department of Justice, led prominent, industry-changing investigations (both criminal and civil) and criminal prosecutions in the magazine distribution industry.
  • While with the U.S. Department of Justice, led three separate investigations in the historic air cargo price-fixing investigation and prosecutions, including prosecuting culpable, high-level executives of Air France.
  • Directed the Criminal Division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
  • Supervised numerous Medicaid Fraud investigations and national settlements that resulted in millions of dollars in fines and penalties being paid to the State of Ohio.
  • Created the Special Prosecutions Unit in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for the purpose of assisting county prosecutors in complex and resource-intensive criminal prosecutions, including capital murder, financial crimes and public corruption.
  • Appointed special prosecutor in charge of a joint task force investigation of theft in office by a long-tenured public official, resulting in indictment, conviction and incarceration.
  • Directed public corruption investigations concerning the misappropriation of state and local funds, price-fixing in public contracts, kickback schemes and other violations of Ohio law by public officials.