Criminal Defense

The Gibbons Criminal Defense Team is widely recognized as one of the best in the region. Team members, who include former Assistant U.S. Attorneys, rely on a wealth of both prosecutorial and defense experience in defending the interests and rights of companies and individuals, including foreign governments, multinational and domestic corporations, business executives, and medical, legal, and accounting professionals, in a wide variety of criminal, quasi-criminal, civil, administrative, and regulatory matters, many international in scope, at all levels of the federal and state judicial systems. The Team is often able to avert criminal proceedings by conducting comprehensive internal audits and investigations or developing corporate compliance programs beforehand, and by aggressively advocating for clients before the relevant law enforcement or regulatory agencies. Gibbons attorneys have also had substantial success investigating and referring for prosecution matters in which clients have been victimized by, or otherwise had an interest in, the wrongful actions of third parties, and in monitoring the ensuing public investigations or prosecutions on clients’ behalf. When criminal or administrative charges have been filed against a client of the firm, Gibbons has successfully represented those clients for purposes of grand jury and other subpoena compliance, through pretrial proceedings, at trial, and, when necessary, for sentencing and on appeal.

While our experienced trial lawyers are known for their trial experience and are certainly not afraid to go to trial, they often use that leverage for clients’ benefit and do not reflexively accede to prosecutors’ or regulators’ demands, understanding the inherent value to clients of avoiding the criminal process – and its inherent uncertainties – to the greatest extent possible and obtaining closure as quickly as possible. Thanks to our recruitment focus on judicial clerks, our Criminal Defense attorneys are exceptional researchers and brief writers who never rely on boilerplate but explore and, ultimately, make creative legal arguments (in pre-indictment, trial, and especially appellate contexts), often yielding outstanding results. The firm has investigated and defended against allegations of business, accounting, securities, bank, insurance, tax, healthcare, and government contract fraud and has been involved in many high-profile investigations and prosecutions of alleged political and union corruption, at home and abroad.

Other areas in which the group is active include:

  • Antitrust/bid rigging
  • Violations of:
    • Federal Election Campaign Act
    • Arms Export Control Act
    • State and federal RICO statutes
  • Cable piracy
  • Environmental enforcement
  • Regulatory offenses arising under the jurisdictions of:
    • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
    • Federal Election Commission (FEC)
    • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
    • Department of Defense (DOD)
    • United States Customs and Border Protection (CPB)

In addition, our attorneys regularly represent medical, legal, accounting, and other professionals in matters pending before professional licensing boards, as well as public sector employees in disciplinary proceedings brought by government agencies.

Areas of Focus

Post-Conviction and Appellate

As one would expect from a firm headed by John J. Gibbons, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and one of the nation’s preeminent attorneys, the firm is often retained to represent the interests of convicted or otherwise sanctioned companies and individuals through all stages of the federal and state post-conviction and appellate processes, including sentencing. The firm has an extremely active practice in many of the federal circuits, especially the Third Circuit, where Gibbons attorneys have prevailed in a number of cutting-edge appeals, covering such areas as abatement of conviction, expert testimony, voluntary waiver of death penalty appeal, forfeiture, double jeopardy, sentencing guidelines, and many others. The firm is also among the premier appellate practitioners in the Supreme Court of New Jersey and the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, where Gibbons attorneys have argued and won scores of precedent-setting appeals in numerous areas of criminal law and procedure, including searches and seizure, eyewitness identification evidence, admissibility of confessions, rules of evidence, discovery, scope of numerous statutes, juvenile rights, protection of battered and pregnant women, public office forfeiture, and the death penalty. Our civil appellate practice, covering such subject matters as the First Amendment, corporate oppression, immigration, freedom of information, and gay and lesbian rights, has also yielded extraordinary victories, and great accolades inside and outside the legal community. Finally, we have recently become increasingly involved in U.S. Supreme Court litigation both as amici curiae in important criminal cases and as counsel of record.

Internal, Regulatory, and Audit Committee Investigations

Comprising experienced defense attorneys and former government attorneys from various investigative agencies – including the United States Attorneys offices and state prosecutors’ offices – Gibbons represents corporations and individuals in both civil and criminal investigations and enforcement proceedings, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Attorneys General of New Jersey, New York, and other states, and many regulatory agencies, including the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), among many others. We have handled significant investigations on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, pharmaceutical companies, telecommunications and financial services firms, government contractors, and nonprofits. Gibbons offers a multidisciplinary and client-oriented approach to internal investigations that seeks to ferret out the truth without unduly burdening the corporate entity, ultimately seeking to bring to justice those who may have committed corporate wrongdoing, as well as recommending internal reforms aimed at preventing future defalcations or compliance problems.   Our unique approach focuses on the legally relevant issues and seeks to broaden any given investigation no further than necessary. Meanwhile, our vast experience representing senior executives in connection with internal, audit committee, securities regulatory, and government investigations leaves us particularly sensitive to the considerations that will be in the minds of those whom we are investigating. Among the types of cases as to which we have performed internal investigations are the following:

    • Financial reporting and disclosure obligations
    • Accounting improprieties
    • Executive compensation/corporate looting
    • Misappropriation of funds
    • Insider trading of securities and other suspicious market trading
    • Adequacy of internal controls and other compliance matters
    • Anti-kickback, off-label promotion, and other inappropriate marketing of pharmaceuticals
    • Retaliation for whistle-blowing
    • Foreign and domestic bribery and corruption
    • Non-compliance with government procurement regulations
    • Tax treatment

We understand the duties of public company boards of directors and audit committees and the changing nature of the relationship between outside auditors and their audit clients. We bring insight and efficiency to the internal investigation process by:

    • Knowing how to plan the investigation at its inception
    • Appreciating the special concerns of outside auditors and the importance of structuring their role in an investigation
    • Bringing a common sense approach to issues associated with preservation of the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine
    • Carrying out an investigation in an organized manner
    • Maximizing cooperative work with forensic accountants, forensic information technology experts, and private investigators
    • Knowing how to counsel an audit committee or other persons supervising an investigation

Stages of the Investigation We have extensive experience representing clients through all critical phases of a regulatory investigation, including: (i) defense of on-the-record testimony; (ii) effective and comprehensive review of electronic and documentary evidence; (iii) the Wells process; (iv) negotiations with regulators; (v) the criminal process, including grand jury; and (vi) trial. We employ the unique skills of our defense team in an investigation as appropriate and draw on the strengths of our former federal prosecutors, former SEC staff, white collar criminal litigators, and corporate/transactional lawyers with broad knowledge of corporate governance, Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, securities reporting obligations, and corporate finance. In short, we approach each internal, regulatory, or other investigation with the goal of minimizing the litigation, regulatory, and criminal risks associated with each matter.

Selected Board Committee Representations and Internal Investigations Examples of our experience conducting internal investigations and other board of director special counsel engagements include:

    • Investigation for the audit committee of a publicly traded bank holding corporation of alleged financial improprieties by the corporation’s chief executive officer
    • Investigation for the audit committee of a publicly traded healthcare services company of alleged misappropriation of corporate funds by the corporation’s chief executive officer
    • Investigation for a special committee of the board of an international maritime company of possible violations of law associated with inconsistent documentation arising out of the purchase and sale of vessels
    • Investigation and advice in connection with an inquiry made by the American Stock Exchange following the vote to remove two incumbent directors at an annual meeting of stockholders
    • Investigation of alleged fraud by a senior executive of a nonprofit healthcare provider in the submission of bills for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement in anticipation of a potential review by the U.S. DOJ
    • Investigation of whether an employee submitted fraudulent credentials to a large nonprofit healthcare provider, thus implicating Medicare and Medicaid billing
    • Various investigations of employee embezzlement, on behalf of a large public hospital, an international chemical company, and numerous other clients
    • Investigation for a special litigation committee of the board of directors of a Fortune 50 company into executive compensation issues
    • Various investigations on behalf of international pharmaceutical companies of pricing and marketing practices
    • Investigation for the manufacturer of weight-loss products of suppliers of raw materials