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White Collar Defense and Government Investigations


Varnum's White Collar Criminal Defense and Government Investigation Practice Team assists businesses and individuals in defending and resolving government investigations of alleged violations of federal or state law implicating criminal and civil liability. These government investigations are frequently instituted through the issuance of grand jury subpoenas or civil investigative demands, investigating such issues as health care fraud, environmental crimes, securities and insider trading violations, as well as inquiries from the Internal Revenue Service.

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

Experience and Investigative Skills

Developing a strategy at the outset is critical to best position the subject of the investigation. Led by a former assistant United States attorney, Varnum's team has the experience and investigative skills to critically examine witnesses and evidence, which is essential for conducting a credible investigation, identifying violations of law and to defend the subject of the investigation. Having insight into the "prosecutor's perspective" permits us to successfully shepherd the client through the process.

Internal Investigations

Many times an internal investigation should be conducted to best position the client with respect to the government's inquiry. During an investigation, we will interview key employees, review and analyze critical evidence to determine whether violations have been committed, as well as determine whether there are any gaps in the company's compliance plans. Conducting an investigation not only helps the company identify and remedy potential problems, it also demonstrates to the government the company's commitment to resolving any potential problems.

Always client focused, our goal is to achieve the most efficient and favorable resolution for the clientbe it a declination of prosecution, defending the business or individual in court, or a settlement.



Environmental Crimes and Investigations

Conducted a nationwide internal investigation for a large automotive supplier and secured declinations of criminal prosecution in multiple grand jury investigations being conducted by two United States' Attorneys' offices, the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

Defended and resolved multiple investigations and actions by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, including alleged violations of the Sand Dunes Protection and Management Act, Wetland Protection Act and the Resource Conversation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Represented corporate officers in grand jury investigation relating to alleged violations of Clean Air Act.

False Claims Act Litigation and Health Care Fraud

Represented regional hospital system in response to Department of Justice Health Care Fraud Task Force investigation of alleged false claims submitted for Medicare payments.

Defended large medical group relating to qui tam allegations for false claims submitted to the federal government for payment of health benefits.

Represented nonprofit organization in response to civil investigative demand relating to False Claims Act investigation for alleged submission of false claims to government for Medicaid payments.

Handled and resolved False Claims Act case against nursing home for health care fraud.

Represented clients in defense Office of Inspector General actions for exclusion of participant from federal programs.

Securities and Exchange Commission and Banking Investigations

Significant experience defending and resolving securities and banking investigations, from representing public companies in an SEC and FINRA investigation of insider trading, to representing investment companies in an investigation of securities violations, to representing corporate officers and individuals in connection with insider trading allegations.

Represented financial institutions in response to FDIC investigation of banking regulatory violations.

Attorney General and Other Regulatory Investigations

Represented client in multi-district attorney general and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation relating to consumer fraud allegations.

Secured non-prosecution of funeral home in investigation by Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) relating to alleged misuse of pre-paid funeral contract trust funds.

Represented corporation in grand jury investigation of alleged anti-trust violations.

Internal Investigations

Represented large public university involving allegations of cover-up and failure to comply with the federal Clery Act involving the death of a student. Performed extensive investigation, developed significant report and handled disclosure of findings to trustees, public and Department of Education. The investigation was the largest of its kind at that time.

Represented national professional services firm in internal investigation following alleged fraud by an executive. Varnum provided the client with an immediate investigation protocol and developed a strategy focused on asset recovery and preservation of insurance claims. Worked with the firm’s forensic accounting team, conducted witness interviews, terminated the employee, and counseled the client on crisis communications and law enforcement reporting matters.

Represented church in allegations of child sexual assault after church was accused of responsibility for sexual assault of a minor child during a Sunday school program. Varnum worked with the client on a strategy and performed an exhaustive investigation including witness interviews and policy analysis.

Represented major city school district in an internal investigation involving the alleged misuse of public funds involving school construction projects.

Represented large metropolitan airport in an internal investigation involving alleged misuse of public funds.

Represented national publicly-traded waste disposal company in internal investigation following charges of alleged toxic chemical dumping.

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