The regulatory enforcement presence of the government at both the federal and state level has never been stronger. Government prosecutors and regulatory agencies scrutinize all types of business conduct in the marketplace. Legislative bodies and regulatory commissions have toughened penalties, while law enforcement employs an increasing array of tools, statutes and ever-stronger regulatory and criminal sanctions.
Phillips Lytle’s White Collar Criminal Defense & Government Investigations Team has extensive experience in counseling clients prior to any regulatory or criminal intervention, as well as in negotiating with agencies or prosecutors when the need arises. The team includes seasoned trial counsel who represent clients facing criminal or administrative investigations, regulatory enforcement proceedings, and criminal and related civil litigation, all of which often proceed on parallel tracks. Our team’s broad experience allows us to represent clients facing regulatory enforcement problems, and our team’s deep bench positions us to counsel clients facing multiple governmental investigations and proceedings at the same time.
Our experience includes matters involving:
CRIMINAL TRIAL DEFENSE
We represent companies and individuals named as targets, subjects or witnesses in federal and state grand jury investigations and prosecutions. Our attorneys work to avoid criminal proceedings and have a wealth of experience working with prosecutors to avoid indictment or, where warranted and consistent with a client’s goals, to arrange a result acceptable to our clients. We work diligently with clients who are experiencing regulatory difficulties to help them come into compliance and avoid criminal proceedings. When criminal proceedings in federal or state court are unavoidable, we defend the case aggressively, move to dismiss where possible and prepare for trial to seek a favorable jury result. Our attorneys have extensive experience with jury trials and pre-trial and dispositive motions and litigation, including motions to dismiss and to suppress. If the need for separate counsel for certain individuals arise, we have strong working relationships with Buffalo’s other premier criminal defense attorneys and can establish a strong joint defense team.
GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIONS AND SUBPOENAS
We regularly handle matters for businesses and individuals faced with civil investigations or subpoenas from state and federal agencies, including the New York State Attorney General’s office, individual U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, among others. Our team’s deep experience responding to civil investigations and subpoenas gives us the background to resolve clients’ legal issues efficiently and effectively, but also means that we understand acutely what is at stake for our clients. Clients facing state and federal regulatory investigations may face financial penalties, industry suspensions and bars, or other limits on their ability to conduct business as they see fit. We have experience resolving government investigations in ways that permit our clients to continue to operate their businesses with minimal repercussions from the investigation.
Clients often turn to us to respond to investigations conducted by the New York State Attorney General. These typically involve matters involving New York’s consumer fraud statutes, federal debt collection statutes, and prevailing wage issues, as well as various other statutes and regulations. Depending on the circumstances and our role, our efforts often involve negotiations or litigation, as well as coordination with media and governmental relations specialists. We regularly assist clients who are mere witnesses as well as those who become targets of an investigation.
CORPORATE AND INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
For companies of all kinds, especially those in highly regulated industries like defense industry work, banking, financial services, and health care, an effective internal investigation can be an important tool to assess a company’s compliance with relevant laws and regulations, to respond effectively and efficiently to governmental investigations or threatened investigations, and, where necessary, to work with legal and regulatory authorities to resolve potentially significant legal problems. Our attorneys have extensive experience in conducting internal investigations for our clients. For example, members of the team regularly assist clients in addressing federal contracting concerns and we are routinely involved in extensive document reviews in multijurisdictional proceedings. The team has also dealt with the regulatory fall-out of government investigations with numerous federal agencies. In addition, other practice areas at the firm can assist with regulatory counseling, when necessary.
FALSE CLAIMS ACT
Our team has broad experience in the area of government proceedings involving the False Claims Act. We also have experience addressing debarment and other ancillary consequences that may arise out of a False Claims Act investigation or prosecution.
New York State has ramped up its own statutory framework (State Finance Law Article 13) that allows whistleblowers, local government and agencies to pursue claims against vendors and others who submit false filings. We also have represented corporate clients against such claims.
Due to their complexity, anyone can run afoul of federal and New York State tax laws. Our tax practitioners are experienced at spotting potential problems and confronting difficulties. We regularly handle administrative, civil and criminal matters involving the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, as well as the IRS.
HEALTH CARE FRAUD
Our experience in meeting regulatory demands for health care clients puts us in an excellent position to defend against regulatory and criminal enforcement. Our attorneys have recently defended against indictments involving Medicaid fraud, as well as other related matters.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY MATTERS
Phillips Lytle has extensive experience representing clients dealing with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as other local, state and federal agencies. We provide advice and handle parallel investigations, work to resolve matters other than on a criminal basis, and litigate both civil and criminal proceedings in federal and state court.
GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIONS AND SUBPOENAS
We regularly handle matters for businesses faced with an investigation by or a subpoena from the New York State Attorney General, the DOJ, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, or the FBI. These typically involve New York’s consumer fraud statutes, federal debt collection statutes, and prevailing wage issues, as well as various other federal and state statutes and regulations. Depending on the circumstances and our role, our efforts often relate to litigation, negotiations and coordination with media and governmental relations specialists.
THEFT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND BUSINESS LOSS INVESTIGATIONS
We have investigated and litigated against employees, former employees and competitors engaged in alleged criminal activity to the detriment of our business clients. Our efforts often include the proper confidential gathering of evidence prior to the involvement of law enforcement. This allows our clients to evaluate the quality of the evidence, the alleged misconduct, and the potential risks and rewards associated with pursuing criminal or civil remedies against a wrongdoer. Our experience allows us to properly preserve evidence consistent with criminal procedural and constitutional protections to avoid the risk of having a harm go unaddressed.
LOBBYING ACT VIOLATIONS
Phillips Lytle has advised clients regarding compliance with the provisions of the New York State Lobbying Act, which regulates contacts with state legislators and agencies and other public officials. We are able to represent clients who are subject to investigation and prosecution pursuant to the Lobbying Act by the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
CRIMINAL APPEALS IN FEDERAL AND STATE COURT
Our attorneys are experienced in the preparation and handling of criminal appeals in both federal and state courts involving all aspects of criminal practice, including pre-trial motions, motions to suppress and Fourth Amendment issues, trial issues and sentencing issues.