Services | Litigation
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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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 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 & Exchange Commission v. O’Meally, No. 06-Civ-6483 (LTS) (S.D.N.Y.), No. 13-1116 (2d Cir.) )
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Securing Dismissal of a False Claims Qui Tam Suit
Jeff Ifrah successfully represented global health care leader Merck in a False Claims Act qui tam suit and got the case dismissed.
The suit involved a whistleblower that worked for a health care buying company (a group purchasing organization that purchases supplies and drugs). Terminated from the buying group, the employee alleged she was retaliated against because of issues she raised about the buying process.
The case was brought before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and 18 drug companies were named as defendants in an alleged bribery scheme. Jeff represented Merck, which was one of the named defendants. He filed a successful motion to dismiss the complaint, based on the former employee’s alarming lack of specificity in her claim.
Not only was our motion to dismiss successful, it was efficient: Jeff won the dismissal roughly one year after Merck and the other defendants were originally served.
(United States ex rel. Fitzgerald v. Novation LLC, et al., S.D. Tex., No. 3:03-CV-01589))
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Defending a Healthcare Provider Against Claims of Fraud
Our client, a prominent anesthesiologist, employed a medical services billing specialist to submit insurance claims for his practice and surgery center. The terms of the specialist’s contract stated that she would receive 18% of each claim she filed using a specific step-by-step submission and follow-up process.
After the billing specialist was terminated for not following the established submission procedures, she sued the doctor to retain her full commission on outstanding claims she had worked on prior to her dismissal, including those that hadn’t yet been paid. In addition to this contract dispute, she also accused our client and his surgery center of fraud, alleging that they funneled money into a “secret account” to avoid paying her commission under the contract.
Although there was very little basis for the fraud claim, the court allowed it to move forward. Jeff understood the importance of attempting a settlement on the contract claim, so he analyzed the agreement and claims reports and devised a methodology for valuing the claim. When the plaintiff refused to settle, Jeff and the client pursued mediation with confidence, understanding both the fair value of the case and specific details of the parties’ contract. During mediation, the plaintiff’s side raised several arguments that demonstrated their lack of familiarity with the contract. Jeff’s thorough understanding of certain provisions allowed the defendant to quickly address and dismiss the arguments. As a result, the plaintiff ended up settling for much less than she originally claimed.
While the settlement terms are confidential, our client was thrilled with the final result, not only with the amount and the dismissal of the fraud claims, but also in terms of how well the matter was handled.
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