Today, corporations and their executives are the focus of increased scrutiny by federal and state prosecutors. Conduct that in the past would have resulted in regulatory sanctions or civil settlements is now being criminally investigated. The DOJ and many state and local prosecutors expect companies to police themselves and their employees and report the results of these investigations to the government. Companies face massive fines, exclusion from federal programs, and civil litigation initiated by government agencies, watchdog groups and consumers.
Corporate executives are vulnerable not only to significant financial sanctions and reputational harm but also jail time.
Our lawyers have an impressive record defending corporate and individual clients in high-profile investigations and prosecutions. Companies and their executives regularly call on us to represent them in complex criminal, regulatory and congressional matters, as well as in the civil litigation that often accompanies such inquiries.
Experienced defense lawyers
Our team includes lawyers who previously served as federal and state prosecutors. With experience in crisis management and media relations, we're your ideal choice if your company or executives have come under the scrutiny of the government.
Manatt lawyers have extensive experience serving clients in healthcare, banking and finance, securities, pharmaceuticals, and media and entertainment. Our corporate investigations and white collar defense team's ability to tap colleagues with such a high level of industry knowledge effectively eliminates an otherwise steep learning curve.
Our goal is to quickly resolve your problems without indictment or agency action. When that is not possible, we can zealously represent you at the trial stage and, if necessary, beyond.
Our skill as courtroom advocates is well-known. We are not afraid to try cases that should be tried—and prosecutors and regulators know that. As a result, we are more often than not able to obtain favorable outcomes for our clients without having to go to trial.
If problems are uncovered, we perform internal investigations efficiently and effectively, and then help you determine whether and how to present our findings to the government, including helping you navigate the difficult issues of voluntary disclosure, privilege and employee indemnification.
And where corporate reforms are needed after a review, we assist you in establishing compliance programs to ensure that problems are avoided in the future.
We understand that minimizing the reputational effects of a government inquiry is one of your key concerns. Our lawyers can work with public relations specialists or directly with the media to minimize harmful publicity or to level the playing field of public opinion on issues that affect our representations.
Corporate compliance and due diligence
With our combination of business and prosecutorial experience, we can help you avoid problems in the first place by working with you to develop corporate compliance programs. We've designed FCPA and anticorruption compliance programs for companies of all sizes conducting business abroad. Our lawyers routinely help clients conduct corruption due diligence on potential acquisition targets. Through our involvement, we have alerted clients to a deal's hidden costs and helped them avoid a likely enforcement action had the deal proceeded without that knowledge.
Who we work with
We work in industries as diverse as:
- Banking and finance
- Media and entertainment
- Consumer goods
- Data security
What we do
- Represent corporations and their executive officers in criminal and civil government investigations and prosecutions
- Conduct internal investigations and counsel clients on the difficult issues of voluntary disclosure, obtaining maximum cooperation credit, privilege and employee indemnification
- Design, advise, and assist in the implementation of compliance programs
- Defend corporations in FINRA and False Claims Act cases
- Due diligence on potential acquisition targets
- A multinational company in a corruption investigation involving the president of an African country.
- A pharmaceutical company in an investigation for FCPA violations in multiple countries.
- Officers of a multinational oil drilling corporation in DOJ and SEC investigations into FCPA violations. No charges were brought.
- Pharmaceutical executives under investigation by federal prosecutors in multiple jurisdictions regarding alleged off-label promotion. The investigation resulted in no charges against the executives we represented.
- A major pharmaceutical company in an SEC investigation alleging channel stuffing and resulting in no charges being brought.
- The former director of the liver transplant program at St. Vincent Medical Center in California, in a criminal case where our client and several of its doctors and nurses were accused of conspiring to accept a liver on behalf of one patient with the intention of transplanting it in another patient. Following a three-week jury trial, and after less than a day of deliberations, the jury acquitted our client on all counts.
- The CEO of a publicly traded real estate company on stock fraud charges. After a four-month trial in Manhattan federal court, our client was acquitted of all charges.
- Private bank executives in an SEC investigation relating to investment advisory services. No charges were brought against the executives.
- The CEO of a health insurer in a New York State Attorney General investigation that resulted in no charges being brought against the CEO.
- The CFO of a New York City contractor in an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance that resulted in no charges being brought against the CFO.
- A financial institution in a New York State Attorney General investigation into alleged fraudulent practices. We convinced the AG's office not to bring any charges against our client.
- A major retailer in a tax fraud investigation by the IRS, ICE and DOJ. No charges were brought.
- An investment firm and a global entertainment company in a FINRA investigation.
Recent internal investigations include:
- A Fortune 500 HMO in an internal investigation relating to potential kickback issues. We proposed various improvements to the company's internal controls and compliance procedures.
- A large health insurer in an internal investigation into allegations of fraud and embezzlement in its Medicare claims department. We conducted an extensive investigation and assisted the client in disclosing the results of the investigation to appropriate law enforcement authorities.
- Two audit committees of financial institutions. The first related to an internal investigation into the activities of its chief marketing officer. We prepared an extensive report and facilitated disclosure of the results to the client's external auditors, the FDIC, the California Department of Financial Institutions and the SEC. The second involved a very sensitive investigation into the activities of a branch manager who was also a member of the bank's founding family. The manager eventually pled guilty to misapplication of bank funds.
- A pharmaceutical company in an internal investigation into its interactions with physicians. We designed a compliance program to address weaknesses in internal controls.
Examples of corporate compliance and due diligence include:
- A multinational company in conducting due diligence into potential FCPA and global anticorruption violations by a target company
- A large pharmaceutical company in conducting M&A due diligence regarding the sales and marketing practices of a target company
- An investment firm in assessing potential FCPA issues in an investment target
Other engagements of our attorneys include the representation of:
- An aluminum manufacturing company and its founder in obtaining a termination letter from the SEC essentially dropping all claims for alleged securities law violations. We were retained in the matter after our client was already subject to a formal SEC investigation, and we counseled the client through the course of the full investigation.
- The former chief of staff to the governor of New York state in response to parallel inquiries by the Albany County District Attorney's Office, New York State Legislature and New York State Commission on Public Integrity into alleged misuse of government resources. No criminal charges were filed, and our client obtained a favorable settlement of ethics charges against him.
- A select committee of the Connecticut General Assembly during the impeachment proceedings against then Governor John G. Rowland. He resigned during the pendency of the inquiry that we led.
- A large health insurer in response to multiple subpoenas issued by the California Attorney General in connection with a wide-ranging investigation of the health insurance industry. As a result of our work, the AG's office appears to have decided not to actively pursue the investigation against our client, even though the investigation our client's competitors continues.
- A federal contractor in a DOD OIG investigation of country of origin.
- A pharmaceutical company in a DOJ and DHS investigation relating to sales and marketing practices and resulting in a deferred prosecution agreement.
- The former general counsel of a failed investment company in an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the SEC. We convinced the agencies that the client was more valuable as a witness than as a target, thereby helping him avoid criminal charges.
- A major healthcare delivery systems company in a False Claims Act qui tam action. We prevailed on summary judgment.
- A California-based community bank in monitoring a high-profile FCPA prosecution of one of its borrowers, a manufacturing company. Our client has a loan outstanding to the borrower, and we are protecting the bank's interests in connection with the government's attempted forfeiture of assets.
- An investment advisory firm in connection with ongoing inquiries by a variety of federal and state agencies into "pay to play" relating to obtaining investments from public pension funds. We facilitated cooperation by producing documents and making individuals available for witness interviews.
- A pharmaceutical company in a multidefendant False Claims Act qui tam matter in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiff is a former employee at HCFA (now CMS).
- The former CEO of a publicly traded company through an investigation by federal prosecutors and the SEC into alleged stock option backdating, resulting in a deferred prosecution agreement, and in a parallel civil class action litigation.
- A corporate officer accused of violating the Export Control Act, securing a favorable plea agreement for our client.
- An executive of an international liquor distributor charged with tax crimes, resulting in a sentence of probation.