Building on his experiences as a prosecutor, David has spent his career in private practice representing prominent men and women under investigation by the government for alleged business crimes and in commercial litigation, and assisting companies in conducting internal investigations into allegations of wrongdoing.
While many lawyers never see the inside of a courtroom, David has tried well over a hundred felony jury cases on behalf of federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division of the United States Department of Justice, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York City. These trials included two of the Department of Justice’s complex and high-profile cases against supporters of international terrorism.
In private practice, David has continued to ply his trade in the courtroom, with recent successes securing a jury verdict rejecting fraud claims against a client facing civil enforcement proceedings by the SEC, and a jury verdict awarding millions to a client wrongfully cut out of a business deal he helped to create.
David has proven a formidable advocate for his clients at Ifrah Law and several other highly regarded law firms, including Covington & Burling and Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler, representing clients facing investigations and prosecutions involving a wide variety of federal crimes, including wire fraud, bribery, export control violations, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. David’s experiences enable him to recognize what strategy is likely to be most effective for a particular client’s case, and give him the kind of respect and credibility that make him an effective advocate in dealing with government agencies.
David has also been active in professional legal organizations since leaving government. In June 2007, he was elected to the steering committee of the Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section of the DC Bar, and he served as the co-chair of the steering committee from 2009 to 2011. David also served as a member of the steering committee of the Committee on National Security Law, Policy & Practice of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia from 2010 to 2011.
Awards + Recognition
- Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Advancing National Security, Nov 2004
- Alvin J. Feldman Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Area of Corporate and Commercial Law, June 1988
Professional + Community
- Member, ABA Criminal Justice Section
- Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Obtaining a Winning Verdict After a Business Relationship Dissolves
Our client, Learning Annex, is a national leader in the post-secondary education industry. In three decades of business success, it has established many professional relationships. After Learning Annex created a unique strategy to promote the business of a financial self-help guru through free preview seminars and found a perfect partner for the execution of that strategy, those parties then cut Learning Annex out of the deal. Ifrah Law was part of the legal team that helped Learning Annex vindicate its rights.
David Deitch of Ifrah Law was co-counsel in a lengthy jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in which Learning Annex sought to recover the value of the services it had provided under theories of quantum meruit and unjust enrichment. The jury found in favor of Learning Annex and awarded damages of over $14 million, which together with pre-judgment interest totaled over $20 million. The court upheld the verdict on liability, but ordered a new trial on damages. After a retrial of damages in April 2012, a second jury awarded Learning Annex even more: $15.8 million plus interest.
(Learning Annex Holdings, LLC v. Whitney Education Group, Inc., No. 09- Civ-4432 (SAS) (S.D.N.Y.))
Obtaining Dismissal of Fraud Claims Against Online Gambling
In the first class action suit brought by former U.S. poker players, Ifrah Law went all in and won a big pot on behalf of an online poker company and individual poker pros that were defendants.
The suit involved complex fraud issues arising out of claims of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations. These issues resulted from the plaintiff’s demand for return of U.S. player funds held in online gambler accounts after Black Friday. On that day in 2011, the U.S. government shut down the three most popular online poker sites. More than two million citizens were playing our national card game online, and they were confronted by the seals of the FBI and Department of Justice and a notice of domain name seizure as well as blocked access to each player’s account balance.
The lawsuit demanded return of plaintiff’s money under a conversion claim, and also accused the defendants of racketeering, which would have entitled the plaintiffs to three times the damages owed.
In a closely watched argument in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Ifrah Law held all the right cards and won a dismissal of all claims against the poker pro defendants, as well as all RICO claims against the corporate defendants. The
judge’s order was a big win for the individual defendants in this case, but also a victory
for individual defendants in other class action cases pending in New York.
(Segal et al v Bitar et al. 1:11-cv-04521-LBS (S.D.N.Y.))
Clearing SEC Charges Against a Former Securities Broker
When the U.S. government pushed Frederick O’Meally, the former Prudential Securities Inc. broker pushed back – and won.
Ifrah Law partner David Deitch acted as co-lead counsel in obtaining a jury verdict, rejecting claims by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that O’Meally defrauded 60 mutual fund companies. The jury also rejected the SEC’s negligence claims with respect to 54 of the funds and found only that O’Meally was negligent in his conduct with respect to six of the funds.
Mr. O’Meally had fought the SEC for eight years, claiming his innocence and sticking up for his rights. The SEC asserted that the mutual fund companies had tried to prevent O’Meally from market timing on behalf of his clients, and that he had continued doing so through deception involving multiple account numbers and numerous financial advisor identifying numbers used in trades. But after a four-week trial, the jury found that the defendant did not commit any intentional fraud against the mutual fund companies. Evidence at trial showed that O’Meally had not misused these tools and that, in fact, all of his trading practices had been approved multiple times by his supervisors, by Prudential Securities lawyers and compliance personnel, and even by outside regulators.
The O’Meally case was one of the very small number of SEC compliance cases that go to trial each year, and one of an even smaller number of cases in which a jury has completely rejected SEC claims of fraud. While Prudential Securities and a number of other brokers targeted by the SEC negotiated settlements, Ifrah Law was part of the team that helped Frederick O’Meally vindicate his claims that he was innocent of the SEC’s fraud accusations.
(Securities and Exchange Commission v. O’Meally, No. 06-Civ-6483 (LTS) (S.D.N.Y.), No. 13-1116 (2d Cir.) )