Michael J. Leotta conducts internal investigations and represents corporations and individuals in matters involving criminal law, securities law and financial institution regulations, with a focus on the Bank Secrecy Act and related anti-money laundering (AML) rules, insider trading, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
He represents clients in investigations and examinations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and state prosecutors; domestic and international financial regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the New York Department of Financial Services, and the UK Financial Conduct Authority; and Congressional committees.
Before joining WilmerHale, Mr. Leotta served for nine years in government, including in the White House Counsel’s Office under President Barack Obama, as an Assistant US Attorney prosecuting fraud and public corruption, and as Appellate Chief and Ethics Advisor under Rod Rosenstein at the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
Mr. Leotta currently serves as a national vice chair of the American Bar Association’s White Collar Crime Committee and as a co-chair of its Financial Institution Fraud/Money Laundering and Patriot Act Subcommittee.
Mr. Leotta has recently conducted internal investigations on behalf of global financial institutions, US broker-dealers, domestic and foreign defense contractors, a hospital company, and a university. He has represented companies and individuals in investigations by the DOJ, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the SEC, the CFTC, FinCEN, FINRA, state financial regulators and Congress on a number of topics, including allegations of : Bank Secrecy Act/AML program violations, securities fraud and insider trading, government contracting fraud, illegal access to computers.
He represents broker-dealers in SEC and FINRA examinations relating to all aspects of securities law, including the Bank Secrecy Act and AML regulations, Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, the Market Access Rule (Rule 15c3-5 of the Securities Exchange Act), SEC Regulation M, and the Vendor Display Rule (Rule 603(c)), among others.
He has represented individuals who are subjects or witnesses in internal corporate and criminal investigations and prosecutions, including federal and state government officials, attorneys, technology company employees, a journalist, and a defense contractor.
Mr. Leotta has also counseled companies on compliance matters, including compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act/AML regulations, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and statutes applicable to media companies.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Leotta served in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland for more than eight years, as an Assistant US Attorney prosecuting fraud and public corruption, Appellate Chief, and Ethics Advisor. His government service culminated in a detail to the White House Counsel’s Office as Deputy Associate Counsel.
As Ethics Advisor, Mr. Leotta advised the US Attorney, Assistant US Attorneys and staff on financial disclosures, conflicts of interest, and other ethics rules. During his detail to the White House Counsel’s Office, Mr. Leotta helped manage a team of 12 attorneys vetting President Obama’s Executive Branch nominees.
Mr. Leotta is national vice chair of the American Bar Association’s White Collar Crime Committee and co-chair of its Financial Institution Fraud/Money Laundering and Patriot Act Subcommittee. He is a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
He has previously served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Bar Association, Maryland Chapter, as assistant treasurer to the campaign of Congressman John P. Sarbanes, as treasurer and on the Board of the Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellowship, Inc, and as the president and on the Board of the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Maryland.
- Representation of a global financial institution and its personnel in a FINRA investigation of its AML controls related to branches along the southwest border;
- An internal investigation and representation of a global financial institution in a criminal investigation of customers charged with Iraqi-dinar fraud and money laundering;
- An internal investigation and representation of a US broker-dealer in response to parallel DOJ and SEC investigations of a customer charged with running a Ponzi scheme;
- An internal investigation and representation of a US broker-dealer in response to an SEC investigation of potential cherry-picking by a registered representative;
- An internal investigation and representation of a global financial institution in response to the criminal prosecution of a customer for foreign corruption, embezzlement and money laundering;
- Representation of an international online broker-dealer in an SEC examination of its compliance with Section 5 of the Securities Act, and its AML compliance, related to transactions in low-priced securities;
- Representation of a foreign defense contractor in a joint SEC and DOJ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation related to business in Brazil and Colombia;
- Representation of a renewable energy company facing a Congressional document request relating to the Department of Energy loan-guarantee program.
- JD, Harvard Law School, 1997
- BA, Psychology, University of Maryland at College Park, 1994
- District of Columbia
CLERKSHIPS : The Hon. Francis D. Murnaghan, US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1997 – 1998
GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE :
- Executive Office of the President, The White House, Deputy Associate White House Counsel
- Department of Justice, United States Attorneys’ Offices, Assistant US Attorney, District of Maryland.
Rate : $$$$