Michael is an experienced white collar defense lawyer who has handled a broad range of engagements and has unique expertise in high-stakes, high-profile matters. He joined Ellerman Enzinna Levy after more than twenty years as a partner at some of the country’s preeminent law firms and has represented corporate and individual clients in many of the
most prominent white collar matters of the past two decades, including his representation of central players in the complex and overlapping investigations of Enron, the collapse of FTX and the banking crisis that ensued, the financial and accounting scandals of Fannie Mae, the downfall of MF Global, alleged tax abuses on Wall Street and around the world, the NFL’s “Spygate” scandal, the unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles, the murders of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and many others. He has conducted internal investigations for Fortune 100 and other companies as well as their audit committees and has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies, high-ranking public officials, civic leaders, and prominent corporate executives in major criminal cases and congressional, SEC, and other governmental investigations involving alleged violations of fraud, securities, tax, antitrust, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), money laundering, environmental, healthcare, False Claims Act, obstruction of justice, and other criminal statutes.
Many of his representations have involved simultaneous investigations being conducted by multiple prosecutors, regulatory agencies, and congressional committees, often in the glare of media and political attention, and many of them involving an international scope. He has a particular expertise, developed over years of practice, in representing high-ranking executives and companies in investigations relating to highly-complex financial, tax, and accounting issues, and SEC Commissioners have publicly relied on Michael’s comprehensive analysis of the books and records and internal accounting controls provision of the Exchange Act.
Chambers USA notes that the “fantastic” and “very talented” Michael Levy offers “great judgment” and is a “smart, client-focused and energetic individual” who is “experienced and resourceful,” “incredibly responsive,” “a master at representing individuals and groups in complex white-collar cases,” and “an insightful attorney who inspires clients’ confidence.” The New York Times has profiled Michael’s diverse career and work in connection with the “Spygate” investigations by the National Football League and Sen. Arlen Specter (“A Legal Journey From Enron to the N.F.L.”). He has been quoted as an authority on white collar defense and government investigations in numerous US newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Reuters and has appeared on “ABC World News,” CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg Television, “Good Morning America,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”
Earlier in his career, Michael served as a federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, working as an Assistant US Attorney in Washington, DC, investigating and trying a wide range of public corruption and other cases. He also served as a White House Fellow and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Michael teaches on the faculty of Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, is an Adjunct Professor teaching White Collar Crime at George Washington University Law School, and has been published in the Yale Law Journal and other scholarly publications. Following law school, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, Michael clerked for US District Court Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer and US Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Successfully defended Thomas Lund, the former Executive Vice President and head of Fannie Mae’s Single Family business, against securities fraud charges filed by the SEC in the Southern District of New York. After three years of litigation, the SEC discontinued its case against Mr. Lund without obtaining any of the relief sought in its Complaint.
Representation of a major fintech company in a grand jury investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York of alleged anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act offenses. After a multi-year investigation, no charges were filed.
Representation of a major global financial institution before the Department of Justice in connection with the use by US clients of offshore accounts in Switzerland to avoid taxes. The client paid the lowest penalty per US assets under management of any large Swiss bank.
Representation of a global, multi-billion dollar manufacturing company in investigations conducted by the DOJ, SEC, and foreign authorities into allegations of defrauding customers and end-users.
Representation of the former CFO of MF Global, Inc. in investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of Illinois, SEC, CFTC, and multiple congressional committees involving the alleged misuse of approximately $1.6 billion in customer segregated funds.
Representation of Admiral Michael Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in congressional investigations and testimony relating to the murders of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Representation of Lehman Brothers in multi-year investigations by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (Senate PSI) into allegedly abusive equity derivative and stock lending transactions with offshore counterparties designed to avoid US dividend withholding taxes. Lehman’s role in the development, marketing, and execution of these dividend arbitrage transactions was the focus of several front-page articles in the Wall Street Journal.
Representation of key bankers and other professionals employed both in the US and abroad by a major US financial institution in separate government investigations into a multi-billion dollar derivatives trading loss in Europe and the alleged hiring of the children of foreign government officials in Asia.
Representation of the senior executive in charge of government affairs for Toyota North America in criminal and civil investigations by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Los Angeles Regional Office of the SEC, the Inspector General of the United States Department of Transportation, and the United States Congress into statements made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and investors relating to unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles.
Representation of a partner in KPMG’s National Tax practice group in a grand jury investigation by the DOJ Tax Division into alleged tax fraud relating to sale-leaseback transactions for tenant leasehold improvements to accelerate depreciation deductions. The client was acquitted of all charges.
Representation of a former congressman in a two-year grand jury investigation conducted by the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice. No charges were brought.
Representation of Matt Walsh, the former videographer for the New England Patriots, who found himself in the spotlight in connection with the “Spygate” investigations by the National Football League and Sen. Arlen Specter. Mr. Levy negotiated an unprecedented indemnification agreement with the NFL that provided legal and financial protection for Walsh prior to his disclosure of evidence to the NFL Commissioner and his meeting with Sen. Specter regarding the Patriots’ violations of NFL rules. Mr. Levy’s careful counsel and crisis management skills helped Walsh successfully navigate intense public pressure from the NFL, Sen. Specter, and the national media.
Representation of numerous high-ranking Enron executives in connection with the multiple prosecutions and investigations related to that company. Leading a large team of attorneys and other professionals, Michael represented clients in investigations conducted by the DOJ’s Enron Task Force, SEC, New York County District Attorney, CFTC, FERC, IRS, Department of Labor, Enron Bankruptcy Examiner, and the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Enron Corp., involving issues ranging from broad allegations of accounting fraud and insider trading to technical allegations relating to commodities trading and ERISA.
Representation of a major international financial services company in a federal grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of New York relating to mortgage fraud allegations.
Representation of a US subsidiary of a major international investment bank in a federal grand jury investigation of alleged corruption in the stock lending industry.
Representation of many Fannie Mae executives in connection with investigations of Fannie Mae’s FAS 91 and FAS 133 accounting conducted by the DOJ, SEC, OFHEO, and the Special Review Committee of Fannie Mae’s Board of Directors.
Representation of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of a Fortune 100 company in an internal investigation of a whistleblower complaint alleging improper accounting treatment.
Representation of US and non-US executives and board members of multiple public companies being investigated by the DOJ, SEC, and foreign law enforcement agencies for alleged improper payments made to foreign officials in Asia, South America, Europe, and Africa in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Representation of a major US corporation in a two-year grand jury investigation of alleged cartel activity in Europe by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. Without entering the Amnesty Program, no charges were brought against the company or any of its executives.
Representation of Koch Industries in a major environmental criminal case in Corpus Christi, Texas, alleging violations of the Clean Air Act.
Representation of executives of a large financial institution in criminal and civil False Claims Act investigations by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the DOJ, and an Inspector General.
Representation of one of the country’s largest government contractors in an investigation by the House Oversight and Reform Committee into a multi-billion dollar sustainment contract with the Department of Defense.
Representation of one of the country’s largest mortgage loan servicing companies in an investigation by the House Financial Services Committee into loan servicing practices during the coronavirus pandemic.
Representation of one of the largest meatpacking companies in the country in an investigation by House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis into worker protection in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic
Representation of one of the twenty largest companies in the country in preparing its CEO to testify in a contentious hearing before a full committee of the House.
Representation of a number of senior leaders in a wide variety of investigations conducted by the Office of the Inspector General for a range of government entities.
Counseling the Board of one of the largest enterprises in the United States in connection with a DOJ criminal investigation of prior conduct by its current CEO.
J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A., Yale University
District of Columbia
Ellerman Enzinna is pleased to announce that on February 1, 2022, Michael N. Levy has joined the firm as a partner.
The firm’s name is now Ellerman Enzinna Levy PLLC.