Contributor

Baruch Weiss

Contributor

Practice Areas

Baruch possesses considerable investigative and trial skills, derived from his extensive prior government service. As an Assistant United States Attorney, SDNY, Baruch handled securities fraud, bank fraud, health-care fraud, money laundering, public corruption, tax evasion, RICO and terrorism cases. Baruch also served as the assistant general counsel for enforcement at the Treasury Department, and as the acting deputy general counsel at Homeland Security. In those positions he gained significant experience in the areas of the USA PATRIOT Act, anti-money laundering, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), customs and export enforcement, transportation security, and immigration enforcement. His practice areas also include Sarbanes-Oxley and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Client Work

Baruch recently won a historic victory in the foremost First Amendment case prosecuted by the Justice Department, the so-called “AIPAC Espionage Act case,” brought against two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The prosecution constituted, in the words of the editorial page of The Washington Post, a “dangerous aggrandizement of the government's power” in its efforts to impose secrecy in the name of national security on private citizens. For years, the case had been the subject of numerous editorials and opinion pieces in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other major newspapers.

Devising a bold and innovative legal strategy, Baruch and his colleagues mounted a successful attack on the prosecution both in the district court and US Court of Appeals. The judge presiding over the case commended counsel for “zealously and very effectively” pursuing the defense with “vigor.” After counsel obtained a series of adverse judicial rulings making the case virtually impossible to win, the US Justice Department, after ten years of investigation and prosecution, dropped the case shortly before trial.

Baruch has also represented individuals, national and international corporations, and a foreign government within his various practice areas.

* Represents a significant financial entity in a complex SEC investigation
* Represents a European CEO in a criminal FCPA investigation
* Represents a subject of a criminal insider trading investigation
* Represented the corporate officer of a meatpacking company indicted as part of one of Homeland Security's largest immigration-fraud investigations
* Conducted a number of extended internal investigations on behalf of international companies suspected of doing business with embargoed countries
* Resolved potential criminal state licensing issues on behalf of an international energy corporation
* Represented a high-level employee of a NASDAQ company in a stock option backdating case
* Represented an individual involved in an investigation conducted by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security

Government Experience

Department of Homeland Security, 2003-2006
Acting Deputy General Counsel; Associate General Counsel
Baruch served as acting deputy general counsel and oversaw all of the department’s legal issues and its 1,400 attorneys. Baruch also served as associate general counsel supervising the chief counsels of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Transportation Security Administration (TSA); Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS); and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). His areas of responsibility included criminal law, immigration enforcement, immigration services, customs enforcement, customs trade, aviation security, transportation security, and CFIUS.

Department of Treasury, 2002-2003
Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement
Baruch managed the legal work of more than 250 attorneys, including the chief counsels of Customs; Secret Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; and the Asset Forfeiture Fund. He oversaw legal matters relating to customs enforcement, customs trade, criminal law, and national security; supervised the drafting of USA PATRIOT Act regulations governing financial institutions; and worked extensively on issues of money laundering and terrorist financing. He also worked closely with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

US Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, Criminal Division, 1984-2002
Senior Trial Counsel; Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney; Acting Chief of Major Crimes; Chief of General Crimes
Baruch handled a wide range of cases, including white-collar (securities fraud, bank fraud, wire and mail fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, public corruption), terrorism and international crime.
He was the prosecutor in the $1.4 billion securities-fraud investigation of Prudential Securities Inc. The case was recently recognized as a “landmark” for establishing the precedent for the government's appointment of an independent expert as a company's director to monitor corporate compliance. See, “The Corporate Monitor: The New Corporate Czar,” Michigan Law Review; 2007 (Vol. 105, p. 1713, 1717), authored by Vikramaditya Khanna and Timothy L. Dickinson.
Other notable cases include:

* Four-month trial of boxing promoter Don King for insurance fraud
* $100 million bank-fraud prosecution of a Colombian coffee exporter
* Tax-evasion trial of principal of New York brokerage firm
* Bank-fraud and money-laundering trial of the former executive director of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission

As deputy chief appellate attorney, Baruch drafted and edited criminal appellate briefs for the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, arguing regularly before the court.

Baruch was also responsible for a variety of important terrorism cases. He prosecuted the extradition of the political head of Hamas, and handled appeals from the first 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial and the Manila airline bombing trial.

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