Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense

Individuals and businesses today routinely face scrutiny from foreign and domestic government law enforcement agencies, whistleblowers, and aggressive plaintiffs’ counsel. Clients must be able to call on experienced legal advisors who can help them respond to investigations and defend criminal charges and parallel proceedings.

Taft’s Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense team includes many former government enforcement officials. We have a depth of experience that is unique among Midwest law firms. 

Although we believe our best work is done when nobody sets foot in a courtroom — when we dissuade prosecutors from pursuing criminal litigation — our veteran team has extensive first chair trial experience in complex white collar cases across the United States, consistently earning recognition from clients, peers, and opposing counsel. 

Taft attorneys have represented clients in enforcement actions and investigations pending before the U.S. Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, and state attorneys general.

Taft’s representations include work on all phases of criminal matters — from investigation, to trial, to appeal — and any related regulatory proceedings. We also handle internal investigations and routinely assist clients with reviews and audits, corporate compliance programs, and training.

Our team handles:

  • Antitrust violations.
  • Controls reviews and audits.
  • Environmental violations.
  • Government procurement and contracting.
  • Grand jury investigations.
  • Healthcare fraud and anti-kickback laws.
  • False Claims Act, qui tam and whistleblower actions.
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations and audits.
  • PPP investigations.
  • Securities fraud, manipulation, and other regulatory violations.
  • Tax violations.

With heavily coordinated investigations by national and multinational law enforcement authorities, investigators are not seeking only civil fines, penalties, or disgorgement — they are pursuing criminal charges and incarceration for culpable individuals. We understand the high-stakes circumstances our clients face, and we formulate strategies designed to successfully minimize liability.

Individual Team Recognitions

Ralph W. Kohnen
Group Chair

  • Former federal prosecutor and Deputy Criminal Chief with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
  • Repeatedly listed in Chambers USA for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations: "Ralph provides advice on compliance with the FCPA and other anticorruption statutes, as well as representing clients in investigations and prosecutions. 'Ralph is an exceptional lawyer that can help clients to see around corners to avoid potential pitfalls.'"
  • Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer," "Super Lawyer," and a "Best Lawyer" for more than 10 years.
  • Named 2020 Best Lawyers in America "Lawyer of the Year" for Criminal Defense: White Collar (Cincinnati).
  • Widely respected by DOJ prosecutors and investigators and by federal and state court judges.

Jackie M. Bennett, Jr.

  • Former federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana and in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.
  • Served in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr; Principal Deputy in charge of the OIC’s Washington, D.C. operations; Senior advisor to Judge Starr, including the Impeachment Referral of William Jefferson Clinton.
  • Repeatedly listed in Chambers USA for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations: "Jackie defends clients in a range of criminal cases, including those with environmental and financial aspects. He also has extensive experience advising on corporate investigations and governance matters. 'He is an icon in white-collar.'"
  • Honored by Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense: White-Collar; and Environmental Litigation).

Jeanne M. Cors

  • Repeatedly listed in Chambers USA for Antitrust: "Jeanne has an expansive practice with notable expertise in criminal antitrust proceedings. She has complementary experience in white-collar crime work." 
  • Honored as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation.
  • Listed as a Top Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.
  • Rated as an Ohio Super Lawyer Rising Star.
  • Honored by Best Lawyers in America (Antitrust Law).

Jason M. Covert

  • Former white-collar prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section; and enforcement attorney with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
  • Experienced trial attorney who represents individuals and corporations in a variety of litigation matters, including criminal investigations, regulatory enforcement actions, and internal investigations.
  • Extensive experience with the OCC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal regulatory agencies, as well as with cross-border matters.

Peter E. Deegan

  • More than two decades of experience as a federal prosecutor, most recently as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.
  • Served on the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee for White Collar Fraud.
  • Experience leading numerous federal prosecutions.
  • Also served as the Northern District of Iowa's Criminal Chief, General Crimes Coordinator; Assistant U.S. Attorney for both the Northern District of Iowa and the Eastern District of Michigan; and as a Special Assistant U.S. Trial Attorney.  
  • More than two decades of first-chair trial experience. 

Dominick S. Gerace

  • Former federal prosecutor in both the Southern District of Ohio and the Eastern District of Virginia.
  • Served as Deputy Criminal Chief in the Southern District of Ohio, supervising approximately eight other Assistant U.S. Attorneys and overseeing all federal prosecutions in Dayton.
  • Led two financial compliance task forces pursuing money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act, and tax violations in the Eastern District of Virginia.
  • Recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence for his work in the federal investigation and prosecution arising from the August 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.   

Robert K. McBride

  • Former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
  • First-chaired criminal jury trials in U.S. District Court and handled appeals before the Sixth Circuit.
  • Former National Security Prosecutor and the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council Coordinator. 
  • Served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps for 10 years.

John R. Mitchell

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers. 
  • Experienced first-chair trial lawyer, trying cases with RICO, fraud, bribery, public corruption, theft, and money laundering allegations. 
  • Repeatedly listed in Chambers USA for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations: "John enjoys an excellent reputation for his white-collar criminal defense practice. He offers notable skill acting for corporations and individuals in high-stakes trials, as well as investigations into fraud and corruption."
  • Former assistant prosecuting attorney in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, with experience in multiple high-profile homicide, public corruption, and organized-crime cases.

Trent J. Sandifur

  • Former federal prosecutor.
  • Chair, Taft FCPA Group.
  • Former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
  • Former Major and Senior Defense Counsel in the Army National Guard.
  • Rated as an Indiana Super Lawyer.
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation.

David H. Thomas

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers. 
  • Listed in Chambers USA 2022 for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations: "David is well regarded for his white-collar criminal defense practice, which includes advising individuals in cases of bribery, money laundering, fraud and drug trafficking. 'He is a terrific lawyer; I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him.'"
  • Board-certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Advocate.
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" in Criminal Defense: White Collar (Columbus) by Best Lawyers in America (2015, 2018-2019, 2021).

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