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 Co-Chair

  • Former federal prosecutor and Deputy Criminal Chief with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
  • 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)
  • Listed in Chambers USA 2021 for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations. Clients note: "Anything that happens in southern Ohio, he's the one we call. He's an outstanding lawyer."
  • 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.
  • Honored by Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense: White-Collar; and Environmental Litigation).
  • Listed in Chambers USA 2021 for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations: "extensive experience advising on corporate investigations and governance matters."

Charles A. Bowers

  • Former assistant prosecutor in Erie County, Ohio.
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation.

Jayna M. Cacioppo

  • Concentrates her practice in complex commercial, civil, environmental, and white-collar criminal litigation. 
  • Experienced in handling regulatory investigations by state and federal agencies.
  • Savviness with technology and cybercriminal tactics.
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation. 

Jeanne M. Cors

  • Listed in Chambers USA 2021 for Antitrust: "an expansive practice with notable expertise in criminal antitrust proceedings." 
  • 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).

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. 

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.

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. 
  • 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).

Chad Ziepfel

  • Regularly assists clients with internal investigations. 
  • Repeatedly recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyers "Rising Star" for white collar criminal defense. 
  • Honored by Leading Lawyers for White Collar Crime (2018-Present)

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