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Specific Jurisdiction Through the Lens of New York Activity of Foreign Banks - 12.17.2018

In the past few years, the Supreme Court has issued a number of decisions emphasizing that the Constitution’s limits on personal jurisdiction have real teeth. In this article, we discuss Chief Judge Colleen McMahon’s recent decision in Nike v. Wu, which applied certain general principles of specific jurisdiction to the New York activities of a group of foreign banks against whom discovery was sought in the Southern District of New York in connection with a judgment enforcement proceeding.

1MDB Scandal Tests Justice Department on FCPA and Corporate Prosecutions - 12.04.2018

The Justice Department’s prosecution of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case illustrates how despite early predictions otherwise, Trump administration enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is alive and well. In this article, we discuss the 1MDB case and examine the extent to which the Justice Department will adhere to the Administration’s declared intent not to “employ the hammer of criminal enforcement to extract unfair settlements” from corporations where there is cooperation and evidence of a strong compliance structure.

Morvillo Abramowitz Welcomes Christopher B. Harwood, Leader of SDNY Civil Frauds Unit - 11.26.2018

NEW YORK – November 26, 2018 – Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC announces today that Christopher B. Harwood, Co-Chief of the Civil Frauds Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, will join the firm as a partner, effective January 1, 2019. Chris will focus his practice on representing individuals, financial institutions, companies, and boards in high-stakes civil litigation, including False Claims Act, Bank Secrecy Act, and FIRREA matters, as well as in criminal and regulatory cases. 

As Co-Chief of the Civil Frauds Unit, Chris supervised approximately 40 attorneys in all aspects of their civil enforcement work, from investigation through trial. Over the course of his eight years in the Southern District of New York, Chris also personally litigated a wide range of civil enforcement matters, including cases brought under the False Claims Act, FIRREA, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the Bank Secrecy Act. These cases involved financial fraud, healthcare fraud, federal programs and grant fraud, consumer fraud, and money laundering, and resulted in more than $2.3 billion in recoveries for the United States. In addition to litigating and supervising civil enforcement matters, Chris litigated defensive civil matters, prosecuted criminal matters, served as the Office’s coordinator of parallel (civil/criminal) proceedings, and was also the Office’s Civil Healthcare Fraud Coordinator. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris,” said Elkan Abramowitz. “He is a preeminent attorney with broad trial experience. He was known to be a measured leader by his colleagues in the Civil Division, where his practice focused on important issues relating to financial and healthcare fraud, as well as Bank Secrecy Act violations.” Robert J. Anello said, “Chris undoubtedly will be a significant addition to our outstanding civil litigation practice, headed by Edward M. Spiro and Judith L. Mogul.”

Notable matters that Chris handled at the U.S. Attorney’s Office include:

  • The first large-scale mortgage-fraud case arising out of the financial crisis to be brought under the False Claims Act, which settled for more than $200 million and served as the blueprint for numerous other mortgage-fraud actions across the country
  • Three subsequent mortgage-fraud cases against three of the country’s largest banks that resulted in a combined recovery of more than $1.8 billion
  • An action against another of the country’s largest banks for failing to implement an effective anti-money laundering program and file timely suspicious activity reports, which settled for $70 million
  • An action against the former chief compliance officer of an international money services business for Bank Secrecy Act violations, in which Chris obtained victories on multiple issues of first impression
  • False Claims Act cases against a major pharmaceutical company and a national pharmacy chain for paying kickbacks to doctors and patients, which settled for $54 million and $50 million, respectively
  • Two successful False Claims Act cases premised on the novel theory that the defendants—recipients of federal grant funds—provided material support to designated terrorist organizations
  • A series of coordinated civil/criminal cases against three companies and their executives for billing the government millions of dollars for after-school tutoring services that they never provided
  • A coordinated civil/criminal action against a prominent academic researcher for misappropriating federal grant funds.

“I’m very excited to join the team of exceptional lawyers at Morvillo Abramowitz,” Chris said. “I look forward to drawing on my experiences as a civil and criminal prosecutor to assist the firm’s clients.” 

At Morvillo Abramowitz, Chris will join a group of partners boasting ten alumni of United States Attorney’s Offices, including two Criminal Division Chiefs, a Chief Appellate Attorney, a Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney, a Chief of the Securities Fraud Unit, and a Chief of Health Care Fraud Prosecutions. In addition, as previously announced, Telemachus P. Kasulis, former Co-Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, will join the firm as a partner on the same day as Chris. 

“Chris’s enormous talent and deep experience handling cutting-edge civil litigation matters will be a tremendous asset to both our corporate and individual clients,” said Jodi Misher Peikin.

Prior to joining the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, Chris was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia. While at the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, Chris handled a full docket of defensive civil litigation, including cases arising under the First Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Privacy Act. Chris conducted civil trials during his stints in both the Southern District of New York and D.C., as well as appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

Chris previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Norman H. Stahl of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and to the Honorable Joseph L. Tauro of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He also practiced at Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP. Chris currently teaches a course on legal writing and oral advocacy at Columbia Law School, and is a frequent speaker on civil enforcement matters. 

Chris received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2003, where he was an editor of the law review. He received his B.A. from Cornell University in 2000.

How Institutional Dynamics Have Shaped Insider Trading Law - 11.21.2018

The past decade has brought multiple significant decisions in insider trading law, but has not substantially clarified the line between legal and illegal trading. In this article, we address how some degree of this lack of clarity can be traced to certain institutional dynamics at play in the courts issuing the relevant decisions. In particular, we look at both the Second Circuit’s uniquely strong preference for avoiding en banc review and the Supreme Court’s general preference for narrow decisions, and assess the ways in which these dynamics have shaped and may continue to shape insider trading jurisprudence.

Constitutional Questions in Corporate Internal Investigations - 11.19.2018

In recent years, the Department of Justice has made clear that when companies seek leniency they are expected to turn over incriminating information about current and former employees. In this article, we discuss recent criminal prosecutions in the SDNY and District of New Jersey in which the defendants claimed violations of their constitutional rights because corporate internal investigations became intertwined with federal criminal investigations.

What Will Justice Kavanaugh Mean for Criminal Tax Defendants? - 11.15.2018

Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s recent appointment to the Supreme Court, practitioners need to consider how he will impact the Court’s jurisprudence for many years to come. Regardless of what they think about Justice Kavanaugh’s record on other issues, criminal defense lawyers are likely to view his approach to the imposition of sentencing as somewhat of a mixed bag. In this article, we note that while Justice Kavanaugh has articulated concerns that the post-Booker regime has brought too much unpredictability to sentencing, his decisions have demonstrated deference to district judges, who frequently give defendants convicted of tax offenses the benefit of substantial downward variances.

Morvillo Abramowitz Partner Benjamin S. Fischer Quoted in Law360 - 11.09.2018

On November 9, 2018, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Benjamin S. Fischer was quoted in a Law360 article entitled, “Ex-Platinum Insider Dodges Upcoming $1B Fraud Trial.” The article discusses former Platinum Partners executive Joseph Mann, who recently secured a deferred prosecution deal with the government in a criminal case involving securities fraud allegations. To read more on this topic and review Ben’s comments, please click here.

Defending the White Collar Case: In & Out of Court - 11.08.2018

On Thursday, November 8, 2018, partners Elkan Abramowitz and Judith L. Mogul will participate on two seperate panels entitled, “Parallel Investigations & Admin Law” and "International Discovery & FCPA," at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ 2018 White Collar Seminar. This seminar will address the ever-increasing power of federal prosecutors, and bring together the white collar defense bar to learn from each other, to improve their skills, and to ensure they are well-positioned to provide their clients the best defense possible.

 For more information about this program, please click here.

Marketing & Business Development Coordinator Position Opening - 11.08.2018

The person in this position will support the Director of Marketing & Business Development with a variety of marketing, business development, and promotional activities.

To view the full job description, please click the link on the right under Resources.

To apply, please contact Alison Abend at

Top SDNY Securities Fraud Prosecutor Joining Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello - 10.22.2018

NEW YORK, October 22, 2018 – Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC, announces today that Telemachus P. Kasulis, former Co-Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, will join the firm as a partner, effective January 1, 2019. Tim will focus his practice on representing individuals and organizations in high-stakes criminal, civil, and regulatory matters, and on internal corporate investigations. During his eleven years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tim investigated and prosecuted cases involving insider trading, accounting fraud, market manipulation, investment adviser and broker-dealer fraud, Ponzi schemes, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, murder, and obstruction of justice.

“We are delighted to welcome Tim,” said Elkan Abramowitz. “He is an exceptional attorney with wide-ranging trial experience and a well-deserved reputation for excellence.” Robert J. Anello said, “Tim’s high-level government background will enhance our already deep bench and add to our commitment to provide our clients with the finest lawyers in the country.”

As a supervisor of the Task Force, Tim oversaw a team of approximately 20 senior prosecutors and all aspects of their work from investigation through trial. Notable matters Tim supervised included: the insider trading trial of a professional gambler who received tips from the chairman of a Fortune 500 company; the trial of two pharmaceutical company executives for honest services fraud; the trial of two hedge fund portfolio managers and a political intelligence analyst who misappropriated and traded on government health care secrets; the trial of a portfolio manager who overstated the value of illiquid fund assets under management; the accounting fraud trial of an executive who manipulated a critical non-GAAP company metric; charges against individuals for hacking major New York law firms; charges against partners at a Big Four accounting firm for their role in a scheme to misappropriate confidential information from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB); charges against the director of fixed income at the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) for steering billions of dollars of trades in exchange for bribes; and insider trading charges against a sitting United States Congressman.

Prior to supervising the Task Force, Tim served as Co-Chief of the Southern District’s General Crimes Unit, where he trained and supervised dozens of the Southern District’s newest prosecutors. He also conducted ten trials and argued nine appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. His notable matters included the insider trading trial of Chief Information Officer and former Central Intelligence Agency employee David Riley and the prosecution of David Murcia Guzman (DMG) – referred to in the press as the “Bernie Madoff of Colombia” – and several confederates for running an international money laundering enterprise.

“I am delighted to join Morvillo Abramowitz and continue to work on complex, high-stakes white collar and regulatory matters,” Tim said. “During my time at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, I had the pleasure of working with incredibly smart and dedicated lawyers. I have no doubt that I will be able to replicate that collegial environment at my new home.”

At Morvillo Abramowitz, Tim will join a group of partners boasting ten alumni of United States Attorney’s Offices, including two Criminal Division Chiefs, a Chief Appellate Attorney, a Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney, a Chief of the Securities Fraud Unit, and a Chief of Health Care Fraud Prosecutions.

“Tim is well-known for being both a great trial lawyer and a great leader, and his experience at the SDNY will be invaluable to our clients,” said Brian A. Jacobs.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tim served as a law clerk to the Honorable Joseph M. McLaughlin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also practiced at Davis Polk & Wardwell and has taught Advanced Trial Advocacy at Fordham Law School. He is a member of the New York City Bar’s White Collar Criminal Law Committee and a frequent speaker on white collar and securities enforcement issues.

Tim received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2002, where he was an editor of the law review. He received his B.A. from Yale College in 1998.




Morvillo Abramowitz Partner Brian A. Jacobs Quoted in New York Times - 10.22.2018

On October 22, 2018, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Brian A. Jacobs was quoted in a New York Times article entitled, “Bill Cosby, Appealing Conviction, Hires 12th Firm and 20th Lawyer.” The article discusses the high-profile case of Bill Cosby who is appealing his conviction of sexual assault, and the possible reasoning behind and effects of clients switching lawyers. To read more on this topic and review Brian’s comments, please click here.

Rethinking Corporate Monitors: DOJ Tells Companies to Mind Their Own Business - 10.15.2018

Since about the early 2000s, corporate monitors have become a go-to weapon for the Justice Department in its battle against business crime. Imposition of such monitors often results in the disruption of companies’ activities and expenditures of millions of corporate dollars – that might otherwise go to benefit shareholders. In line with its more business-friendly approach, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice has signaled a retreat from such intrusion on businesses’ operations. Last Friday, Brian A. Benczkowski, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, delivered a speech at New York University School of Law revealing this change in the Department’s approach to the use of corporate monitors. [...]