Government Enforcement

The mere threat of an enforcement action can stop a company in its tracks and delay or derail important business initiatives. BuckleySandler is sensitive to the business objectives of our clients and adept at helping a company stay on track when faced with real or potential government investigations or enforcement actions.

Our enforcement practice includes representing corporate clients and individual officers and directors at every stage of government investigations and enforcement actions - including white collar criminal matters - initiated by state and federal agencies including:

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Federal Housing Finance Agency (f/k/a Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight)
  • U.S. Attorneys’ Offices
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • State attorneys general

BuckleySandler’s enforcement practice regularly defends clients against allegations involving a wide array of business contexts in federal and state grand jury investigations, trials, and appeals. In particular, we have represented clients in enforcement matters and related litigation involving a wide range of subject areas including:

  • Consumer financial services
  • False Claims Act, FIRREA and Qui Tam litigation
  • Financial institution fraud
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • Government procurement fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act
  • Options backdating
  • State and federal RICO laws
  • Securities fraud
  • Tax offenses

We have also represented corporations and their executives in connection with Congressional investigations examining industry business practices. We assist clients in responding to informal and formal Congressional inquiries and in preparing for Congressional hearings.

Our Experience

A number of our lawyers have held senior positions at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the FTC.

Our Success

On numerous occasions, we have successfully represented clients in enforcement actions and criminal investigations, obtained victory at trial and on appeal – including in the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of our greatest successes, however, have never become public because we were able to convince an enforcement agency not to take any action against our clients. Other representations have involved high-profile matters where we excel in developing effective legal and factual defenses and formulating and implementing strategies to minimize any collateral consequences – including public and media scrutiny.

Select Representative Matters

  • Representation of Verizon Wireless in a joint CFPB, FCC and Attorney General Settlement (2015). We represented Verizon Wireless in a settlement with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and 51 Attorneys General alleging that Verizon Wireless  permitted third parties to place unauthorized charges on consumers’ wireless phone bills.
  • Representation of American Honda Finance Corporation in a Joint DOJ and CFPB Settlement  (2015). We represented American Honda Finance Corporation in $24 million settlement with DOJ and CFPB in a fair lending matter related to dealer participation practices. 
  • Joint CFPB and Maryland AG Investigation (2015). We represented JPMorgan Chase Bank in a joint CFPB and Maryland Attorney General investigation into allegations that loan officers accepted leads and marketing assistance from a now-defunct title company in exchange for referrals to the title company.  The investigation resulted in a settlement for less than $1 million with no admission of liability. 
  • Flagstar Bank CFPB Mortgage Servicing Investigation (2014). We represented Flagstar Bank in a CFPB investigation into the bank’s default servicing loss mitigation practices, including UDAAP, which resulted in a $37.5 million settlement with no admission of liability. This was the first CFPB enforcement action based on the newly promulgated mortgage servicing rules. We negotiated administrative consent order agreement, without any admission of wrongdoing on the part of the company or its employees, directors, officers or agents.
  • Indirect Auto Lending Investigations (2014). We are representing multiple indirect auto finance companies (both banks and non-banks) in responding to CFPB, DOJ, and New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) investigations regarding whether such institutions may have violated New York State or federal fair lending laws through dealer discretionary pricing.
  • U.S. Bank False Claims Act Investigation into FHA Lending (2014). We represented U.S. Bank in connection with a multi-year False Claims Acts (FCA) investigation of its Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage lending practices initiated by the DOJ, the HUD Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and several U.S. Attorney’s Offices, which resulted in a $200 million settlement with no admission of liability.
  • Representation of Three of the Top 20 Banks in "Operation Chokepoint" (2014). The firm is representing three banks in connection with the DOJ's highly publicized enforcement initiative known as "Operation Chokepoint." The initiative targeted more than 50 banks and payment processors for potential suit under FIRREA.  
  • Represented National City Bank in Joint CFPB and DOJ Action (2012–2014). We represented National City Bank, and its successor-in-interest, PNC, in the very first joint CFPB and DOJ fair lending settlement resolving allegations that National City’s discretionary pricing policies in its mortgage lending business disparately impacted African American and Hispanic borrowers with respect to lending activities undertaken prior to PNC’s acquisition of National City in 2008. The settlement amount was $35 million, without civil money penalties, or forward-looking injunctive relief.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission v. Mark A. Jackson and James J. Ruehlen (2012–2014). We represented of Mark Jackson, former CEO/CFO of an oilfield services company, in an SEC enforcement action being litigated in Houston federal court. In late 2012, the judge granted our Motion to Dismiss and dismissed the Complaint without prejudice. Following the SEC’s filing of an Amended Complaint and extensive discovery including almost 30 depositions, the SEC voluntarily dropped several claims against our client. A favorable settlement was reached just before trial in July 2014. The settlement did not include payment of any money by Mr. Jackson or any restriction on his future employment opportunities.
  • Represented Discover in One of the First CFPB Enforcement Matters (2012). We represented Discover in a joint investigation and enforcement action by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation alleging deceptive sales practices in connection with telemarketing of protection products which offered services such as debt suspension in the event of hardship or celebratory events, debt cancellation in the event of death, identity theft protection, and wallet loss protection. The parties entered into a Consent Order in September 2012 involving remediation of $220 million, with no admission of wrongdoing by the bank. This matter was one of the first enforcement actions brought by the CFPB.
  • United States of America v. John M. Mushriqui, et al. (2010–2012). We represented John M. Mushriqui in the DOJ’s largest criminal prosecution of individuals in the history of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, following the only modern use by the FBI in an FCPA case of tactics such as a sting, an informant, undercover agents, and mass use of audiovisual surveillance.  The case culminated in a four-month trial in fall/winter 2011-2012, in which the Judge dismissed numerous counts against Mr. Mushriqui, including conspiracy to violate the FCPA, and two of five substantive charges of violating the FCPA. After declaring a mistrial, the Judge granted the DOJ's motion to dismiss all charges.
  • Fannie Mae Securities, Derivative, and ERISA Litigation (2004–2012). We represented the former Controller of Fannie Mae in winning the dismissal of, or settling, all investigations and litigation related to the accounting errors alleged in reports by the Company’s regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), now known as the Federal Housing Finance Agency), which resulted in a $6 billion restatement announced in 2004. Subsequent investigations by the SEC, the DOJ, and the Department of Labor were resolved without adverse action. An enforcement action brought by OFHEO was settled on favorable terms without any admission of wrongdoing. A derivative lawsuit was dismissed and an ERISA class action settled on favorable terms. Most importantly, a securities fraud class action was dismissed in November 2012 on summary judgment for lack of evidence of scienter (intent to defraud), completely exonerating our client in the face of highly-publicized allegations.
  • Represented SunTrust Mortgage in a $21 million DOJ fair lending settlement (2012). We represented SunTrust Mortgage in a $21 million DOJ fair lending settlement. The DOJ investigation was initiated by a referral to the DOJ from the Federal Reserve. DOJ alleged that SunTrust charged higher fees and interest rates to more than 20,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers than to similarly situated Caucasian borrowers, allegedly resulting in overcharges that ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars in 34 states and the District of Columbia.
  • In re SCRA Settlement (2011). We successfully negotiated a consent decree for two major national lenders which allegedly failed to comply with SCRA lending requirements and guidelines. Multiple cases settled collectively, without admission of fault, for approximately $23 million.

Related Professionals

Name Title Phone Office
Buckley, Jeremiah S. Partner 202.349.8010 Washington, DC
Burton, Preston Partner 202.349.8065 Washington, DC
Gansler, Douglas F. Partner 202.349.8058 Washington, DC
Hletko, Valerie L. Partner DC: 202.349.8054 Washington, DC
Kasmar, Caitlin M. Partner 202.349.8017 Washington, DC
Klimkiewicz, Melissa Partner 202.349.8098 Washington, DC
Klubes, Benjamin B. Partner 202.349.8002 Washington, DC
Kromer, John P. Partner 202.349.8040 Washington, DC
Krakoff, David S. Partner 202.349.7950 Washington, DC
Kolar, Joseph M. Partner 202.349.8020 Washington, DC
Lawrence, Amanda Partner 202.349.8089 Washington, DC
Louis, Andrew R. Partner 202.349.8061 Washington, DC
Mahler, Aaron C. Partner 202.349.8024 Washington, DC
McGinn, Elizabeth E. Partner DC: 202.349.7968 Washington, DC
Miller, Adam Partner 202.349.7958 Washington, DC
Mitchell, Andrea K. Partner 202.349.8028 Washington, DC
Morrison, Ross E. Partner 212.600.2315 New York, NY
Naimon, Jeffrey P. Partner 202.349.8030 Washington, DC
Olson, Benjamin K. Partner 202.349.7924 Washington, DC
Parkinson, James T. Partner UK: +44 20 3608 1296 London
Previn, Matthew P. Partner 212.600.2310 New York, NY
Quattrone, Robyn C. Partner 202.349.8035 Washington, DC
Randell, Lauren R. Partner 202.349.7953 Washington, DC
Redding, John C. Partner 310.424.3916 Los Angeles, CA
Regan, Christopher F. Partner 202.349.7970 Washington, DC
Reilly, Joseph J. Partner 202.349.7965 Washington, DC
Rogers, Michelle L. Partner 202.349.8013 Washington, DC
Russell, Heather Partner 212.600.2350 New York, NY
Ryan, Kathryn L. Partner 202.349.8008 Washington, DC
Sandler, Andrew L. Chairman & Executive Partner 202.349.8001 Washington, DC
Schilling, Andrew W. Partner 212.600.2330 New York, NY
Sporkin, Thomas A. Partner 202.349.8009 Washington, DC
Stipano, Daniel P. Partner 202.349.8091 Washington, DC
Tucker, Jonice Gray Partner 202.349.8005 Washington, DC
Zalenski, Walter E. Partner 202.461.2910 Washington, DC
Zeldin, Michael F. Special Counsel 202.349.7928 Washington, DC
Jerison, Jonathan D. Senior Counsel 202.349.8015 Washington, DC
Spindel, Frederic T. Senior Counsel 202.349.8070 Washington, DC
Ammons, Paige Counsel 202.461.2968 Washington, DC
Bell, Marshall T. Counsel 202.461.2997 Washington, DC
Halliday, Katherine L. Counsel 202.461.2996 Washington, DC
Kelly, Brian P. Counsel 202.349.7943 Washington, DC
Kim, Amy Davine Counsel 202.461.2906 Washington, DC
LeBlanc, Stephen M. Counsel 202.461.2985 Washington, DC
Madia, Mehul N. Counsel 202.349.7974 Washington, DC
Marcus, Bradley A. Counsel 202.349.8021 Washington, DC
Reynolds, Antonio J. Counsel 202.461.2952 Washington, DC
Ryan, Kathleen C. Counsel 310.424.3932 Los Angeles, CA
Wiles, Ann D. Counsel 202.349.7942 Washington, DC
Williams, John B. III Counsel 202.461.2987 Washington, DC
Abugheida, Ali M. Associate 310.424.3918 Los Angeles, CA
Ariel, Nadav Associate 202.349.8012 Washington, DC
Bailey, Elizabeth R. Associate 202.461.2916 Washington, DC
Bender, Kimberly M. Associate 202.461.2977 Washington, DC
Chang, Eric J. Associate 202.461.2908 Washington, DC
Cheriyan, Daniel Associate 202.461.2917 Washington, DC
Coley, Timothy J. Associate 202.349.8036 Washington, DC
Dempsey, Alex Associate 202.349.8085 Washington, DC
Dhaliwal, A.J. S. Associate 202.461.2932 Washington, DC
Dowell, Thomas A. Associate 202.349.8011 Washington, DC
Eisner, Caroline K. Associate 212.600.2355 New York, NY
Hendele, John M. IV Associate 212.600.2394 New York, NY
Hiraldo, Ignacio J. Associate 202.349.7957 Washington, DC
Hood, Brandy A. Associate 202.461.2911 Washington, DC
Hutten, Benjamin W. Associate 212.600.2333 New York, NY
Karunaratne, Sean B. Associate 312.924.9826 Chicago, IL
Katz, Katherine Brockway Associate 202.461.2963 Washington, DC
Knabe, Kristopher R. Associate 312.924.9825 Chicago, IL
Kotin, H Joshua Counsel 312.924.9855 Chicago, IL
Kumar, Dana Walsh Associate 212.600.2374 New York, NY
Leonhardt, Sasha Associate 202.349.7971 Washington, DC
Linden, Dustin A. Associate 310.424.3998 Los Angeles, CA
Murphy, Bree Counsel 202.461.2971 Washington, DC
Napier, Christopher T. Associate 202.349.7977 Washington, DC
Newman, Matthew E. Associate 202.349.7978 Washington, DC
Pennacchia, Andrew P. Counsel 212.600.2349 New York, NY
Pollet, Jessica L. Counsel 310.424.3905 Los Angeles, CA
Quigley, Lauren E. Associate 312.924.9866 Chicago, IL
Rooney, Mark E. Associate 202.349.8033 Washington, DC
Sakiyama, Scott T. Associate 312.924.9893 Chicago, IL
Shrout, Kate Berlitz Counsel 202.349.7932 Washington, DC
Somers, Edward W. Counsel 312.924.9835 Chicago, IL
Stapleton, Caroline M. Associate 202.461.2904 Washington, DC
Stavrakas, Niki K. Associate 310.424.3922 Los Angeles, CA
Troost, John Associate 202.461.2965 Washington, DC
Viswanatha, Veena Counsel 202.461.2947 Washington, DC
vonBerg, Steven R. Associate 202.524.7893 Washington, DC
Whitehill, Megan E. Associate 212.600.2331 New York, NY
Yankov, Tihomir Associate 202.349.7936 Washington, DC

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