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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

Successfully Negotiating the Sale of Assets During a Government Investigation

When a company that is under investigation for money laundering decides to sell its assets, what was once a straightforward sales process becomes a complex negotiation. That is what happened with our client, a provider of diagnostic testing equipment.

Ifrah Law and Michelle Cohen represented the company in its sale of radiology and cardiology diagnostic services equipment, which involved numerous challenges. Understandably, the buyer was concerned about the ongoing criminal investigation, and Michelle worked closely with them to address their concerns about representations and warranties and possible post-sale seizure from the government. Additionally, since there were bank liens on some of the assets, Michelle worked with the bank’s outside counsel to arrange a prompt payoff, obtain a satisfactory pay-off letter and secure a release of the liens in order to close the deal. Michelle also worked with the buyer to create a creditor payment plan that would payoff unsecured creditors and obtain releases from them in order to address the buyer’s concerns about unsecured creditors seeking relief from the buyer. Finally, she created an employee fund (funded by the buyer) to pay for uncompensated leave time.

These complicated issues were resolved in less than two weeks, as a result of Michelle’s skilled negotiations with all parties. The buyer was represented by Delaware’s largest law firm.

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Obtaining a Reversal of Conviction and Sentence Reduction for Securities Fraud

Ifrah Law represented a former Homestore.com executive, Stuart Wolff, who was indicted for securities fraud. During a six-year battle with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the trial and appellate teams worked together to secure a reversal of the client’s conviction and a new trial.

In the months leading up to the second trial, the defense team, which included Jeff Ifrah of Ifrah Law, leveraged irregularities with discovery to obtain dismissal of all charges related to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Homestore’s former accounting firm. As a result, the sentence on remand was reduced by 70 percent relative to the sentence imposed after the first trial.

Jeff Ifrah was the only attorney Mr. Wolff retained from the beginning of the case to its conclusion. Mr. Ifrah began managing the legal team after the first trial, continued through the appellate process, and also in the team’s preparation for trial on remand.

Jeff Ifrah was responsible for formulating and executing the strategy that resulted in the 70 percent reduction of Mr. Wolff’s sentence.

(U.S. v. Wolff, Case No. 2:05-cr-00398 (U.S. District Court, Central District of California))

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Upholding the Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age

As Jae Shik Kim was departing the U.S. from Los Angeles International Airport, a Department of Homeland Security agent confiscated his personal laptop. Following the seizure, and a review of data it found on the laptop, the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that our client was involved in a conspiracy to evade U.S. trade restrictions on Iran. Our team acted quickly and strategically to clear Mr. Kim and uphold the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unwarranted searches and seizures.

We filed a motion to suppress any supposed evidence gleaned from the laptop on the grounds that the seizure was illegal. The DOJ argued that a laptop was similar to any other container that could be searched at the border without a warrant. The judge rejected prosecutors’ arguments. As a result of our successful motion, the government was forced to abandon its case and we secured a victory against the DOJ. In this matter, it was shown that the government was searching for evidence of a crime committed years earlier and there was no suspicion of current illegal activity.

With the judge’s ruling, a strong statement has been sent to the government. This type of intrusion concerning our personal electronic devices without the proper documentation will not be tolerated. Further, the Fourth Amendment has been upheld, and the government has been warned against attempting to use its power at U.S. borders to circumvent basic rights.

(United States of America vs. Jae Shik Kim, Karham Eng. Corp., Crim. Action No. 13-0100)

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