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Criminal Law


Varnum's criminal law attorneys provide a much broader array of services than simply criminal defense. In light of the passage of legislation which has extended the bounds of criminal law beyond its traditional quarters, more companies and executives today require expert advice and representation in the area of criminal law. This might include preparing compliance programs for new statutes governing corporate responsibility, environmental law and health care. It could involve responding to requests for information and documents from the SEC and other regulatory agencies. Finally, in the unlikely event that a company or executive is the subject or target of a criminal investigation in these or other areas, it might involve criminal defense representation.

Our team has the knowledge and background to help clients manage these changing dynamics. The team combines the talents of attorneys with experience in the regulatory areas where criminal penalties have expanded. The team is led by former Justice Department prosecutor Ron DeWaard and includes other former prosecutors with criminal litigation experience. The team also includes corporate, labor and environmental attorneys who are specialists in their fields.

As a team, these attorneys work together to provide services such as internal investigations, compliance programs, victims’ rights representation, representation during investigations and traditional criminal defense.

For more information, please contact either your Varnum attorney, or Ron DeWaard at 616/336-6480 or


If an organization is under government investigation or has somehow become involved in an investigation, the team provides representation and consultation to protect the organization's interests. This could include a situation in which the organization or one of its executives is specifically under investigation or where the organization has been the subject of a seizure, search warrant or subpoena.

Compliance Programs

The team assists organizations in setting up procedures and audits that promote compliance with various regulatory requirements, as well as the newly instituted requirements of legislation, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The team also provides consulting with regard to the various compliance issues raised by regulations and legislation that can potentially result in criminal penalties.

Victims' Rights Representation

The team represents companies and individuals who have been victims of fraud or other criminal activity. This type of representation often includes the filing of civil litigation in conjunction with providing liaison assistance with federal law enforcement for the purposes of either initiating an investigation or coordinating the civil litigation efforts with a law enforcement investigation.

Internal Investigations

The team counsels organizations, directors or officers who have discovered or have reason to believe that their employees or executives have been involved in criminal activity. This includes conducting an internal investigation protected by attorney-client privilege or working with in-house counsel or human resources personnel, including providing advice on self-reporting and advice related to a concurrent investigation by an outside agency.

Criminal Defense

The team provides traditional criminal defense in both federal and state courts for those clients who have been charged with criminal acts in a white-collar crime.

Substantive Areas of Representation

The team has experience and has provided representation or advice on criminal matters in these and other areas:

  • Fraud
  • Michigan wage and hour law
  • Embezzlement
  • IRS matters
  • Money laundering
  • Extortion
  • SEC matters
  • Environmental
  • United States customs matters
  • Health care
  • ICE matters
  • Sarbanes-Oxley matters
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