Litigation

White Collar Defense

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White Collar Defense

As the government expands the scope of statutes like RICO, The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and The Money Laundering Control Act in its investigations and prosecutions, white collar defendants are increasingly subject to higher monetary penalties and added jail time. Clients at the top of their fields come to Ifrah Law because of our ability to successfully manage, navigate, and negotiate high profile federal investigations.

With a focus on government investigations, complex litigation, and white collar defense, Ifrah Law operates on the leading edge of matters involving the intersection of business and the internet. The firm represents companies and their senior executives in criminal and civil matters throughout the United States and also serves as a trusted business advisor to emerging industry clients doing business online.

Our attorneys include a former Chief of the Organized Crime Section at the Department of Justice and a former assistant U.S. Attorney, a former special assistant U.S. Attorney, and a number of highly trained veterans from some of the nation’s largest and most respected law firms. Our collective experience includes the litigation and resolution of disputes across a broad array of industries on issues ranging from cybersecurity and computer fraud to money laundering and asset forfeiture. As a result, we have established relationships and credibility with federal prosecutors and investigators in such agencies as the Justice Department, the FTC, SEC, and DOD, among others.

Founder Jeff Ifrah is a frequent speaker, author, and commentator on white collar crime issues and the co-author of the book “Federal Sentencing for Business Crimes,” the only complete treatise on the topic.  For eight consecutive years Jeff Ifrah has been recognized by Chambers & Partners as a leader in the field of White Collar Crime & Government Investigations. Partner James (“Jim”) Trusty brings to the team 28 years of experience as a prosecutor in complex, multi-district white collar litigation, especially in matters involving RICO, computer fraud and money laundering:  for seven years he served in the DOJ’s Criminal Division, most recently as Chief of the agency’s Organized Crime Section.

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Case Studies

Ifrah Law Achieves Swift Removal of Payment Processing Client from OFAC List in Highly Unusual Government Action

In September 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it had designated Ifrah Law’s client, a legitimate international business, as a transnational criminal organization. Our client had conducted its business for decades without incident, providing payment processing solutions for direct mail, eCommerce, gaming, charitable, and other customers.

The OFAC designation of a legitimate business was the first of its kind, having been previously limited to terrorist and organized crime entities, such as the Yakuza, MS-13, and Saddam Hussein. The designation indicated that OFAC was expanding its authority under its legal mandate. Given the novelty of this designation, the company contacted Ifrah Law based on our background and extensive experience representing payment processors: understanding their business was critical to our ability to combat the Government’s misperceptions about the payment processing business.

First, we began an internal investigation. As the OFAC designation was a surprise to the company, and the Treasury Department had no obligation to explain the basis for the designation, we needed to determine why our client had been targeted.

We also needed to address the reverberating effects of the designation on our client. An OFAC designation results in the prohibition of U.S.-based businesses including banks from working with a designee. Our client lost the ability to pay employees, vendors, and general expenses and eventually was forced to close its operations.

Ifrah Law achieved some of the swiftest ever removals from OFAC’s SDN list, including all of the 12 individuals named. One year after the initial listing, OFAC finally signed an agreement to remove our client’s companies, officers and employees from the SDN List. We continue to represent this client in actions concerning the financial situation of the now defunct company, and to ameliorate the damage caused by the listing on both individual and corporate reputations. Our work on this case was featured in The American Lawyer.

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Ifrah Secures Release for International Client Jailed for Alleged Arms Control Violations

When an international businessman was taken into custody at the U.S.-Canada border and jailed for four months without bail, the Ifrah team was brought in to challenge the government.

A businessman from a prominent political family in Pakistan was indicted for violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), statutes traditionally used against professional exporters seeking to evade licensing requirements so the government does not detect their efforts to sell state secrets or military-grade weaponry to parties and governments with anti-U.S. sentiments. He was also charged with making false statements about his intended use for legally purchased firearm accessories because he was not only an avid hunter but a licensed firearms retailer in his home country. Ifrah Law attorneys quickly filed a number of ground-breaking motions on our client’s behalf. One of the motions also sought bail for the client based on the weakness of the government’s case and notwithstanding the existence of an ICE detainer, a status which usually eliminates the possibility of release.

The Court expressed concern about the government’s ability to meet its burden of proof, and strong displeasure with the government’s case: “(T)he older I get,… the more distressed I am about the inability of government authorities to exercise common sense and practicality…. (W)e’re all in this together under one of the most sacred documents in our whole concept of jurisprudence, the Constitution of the United States, to treat people fairly and justly, not to win at any cost or put the screws to somebody so we can put the screws to them.”

After the defense investigation uncovered that U.S. law enforcement had destroyed physical evidence, the Court granted bail and ultimately the U.S. Attorney agreed to dismiss the IEEPA and AECA charges. Our client chose to plead guilty to the false statement charge and a sentence of time served in order to go home immediately. He had been in jail and away from his family for nine months, during which time he missed the birth of his first child.

Well-crafted motions and aggressive investigation led to the extremely rare circumstance of a foreign citizen charged with weapons violations being released from pretrial detention, and the ultimate dismissal of the more substantial felonies in the case.

(United States v. Durrani, No. 1:17-cr-00024 (W.D.N.Y))

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Successful Challenge to Denial of Top Secret Security Clearance

A renewal for a Top Secret security clearance became career threatening for an Ifrah client’s CFO when the renewal application was denied due to foreign influences concerns. As the CFO of a defense contractor whose continued employment was a condition for the company’s line of credit, maintaining a security clearance was critical for both the CFO and the company. After the Statement of Reasons was issued, the CFO submitted his own letter challenging the decision but it was denied. The CFO then retained Ifrah Law who, on behalf of the client, drafted a written response and successfully mitigated the security concerns. This resulted in the withdrawal of the Statement of Reason and the ultimate renewal of the CFO’s security clearance.

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