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A Christmas Story: Our American Client Freed From Brazilian Prison

December 21, 2016

Happy Holidays! We are thrilled to announce that we were able to help free our client — just in time for Christmas and the New Year! After serving over three brutal years in prison, mostly in Brazil awaiting extradition to the United States, we were able to show a Manhattan federal judge why she should give him time served. Our client, an American citizen, had been living and working in Brazil for some time with his wife. While there, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York obtained through the State Department an extradition warrant for him to face financial crimes charges. While awaiting extradition, the Brazilian federal police incarcerated him, and the Brazilian court system held him for nearly three years. Our client wasn’t fighting extradition, but instead was left in diplomatic limbo as the American government squabbled with the Brazilian government over the extradition of our client. Vinoo Varghese, our principal, visited our client at the São Paulo Polícia Federal Jail and met with him to prepare for his defense in New York federal court. While waiting to be extradited, our client endured horrifying living conditions such as freezing temperatures in his cell, solitary confinement 23/24 hours a day, spoiled food, and fierce intimidation by both prison staff and gangs. He suffered severe insomnia, drastic weight loss and lived in constant fear of death. Weekly visits from his loving wife were his only solace. Our client returned to the United States a shell of his previous self, emaciated, and timid. Yet, the battle wasn’t over. He still faced up to another 17 years in jail, but we believed that he shouldn’t be incarcerated another day. So, we put together a sentencing mitigation package that the federal prosecutor said was the best he had ever seen. This package contained letters from numerous friends, colleagues, family members, and others including a Naval Officer, who came and spoke on our client’s behalf at the sentencing hearing. We also submitted reports from Human Rights Watch and The Economist about the deplorable conditions of Brazilian prisons. We were able to convince the judge that our client had suffered enough and she ordered him released and sentenced him to time served. A short while later, he was finally reunited with his wife, just in time for Christmas and the New Year. We are elated that our client is now able to resume his life with his wife as a free man. Our client embracing his wife as a newly freed man! Jailhouse in São Paulo, Brazil where Vinoo visited our client From the Team.

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The Post Consults Vinoo Varghese About Governor Chris Christie & Bridgegate

November 1, 2016

The New York Post consulted our principal, Vinoo Varghese, as a legal expert concerning the allegations against Governor Chris Christie in the infamous Bridgegate scandal and trial. David Wildstein, a former official in Governor Christie’s administration, testified that the Governor knew that the George Washington Bridge (GWB) was closed in retaliation against the Fort Lee, NJ mayor for not endorsing him in his gubernatorial reelection campaign. Wildstein further testified that when told of the GWB closure at the 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial in Manhattan, Governor Christie laughed in response. Amidst the buzz of Wildstein’s testimony, many are beginning to wonder whether the Governor will face charges himself. Vinoo advised the Post about the legal standard for conspiracy and explained why prosecutors may be hesitant to charge Governor Christie. Here’s the specific quote: Legal experts told The Post that Wildstein’s testimony may prompt the public to ask why Christie wasn’t charged. But “it may be [prosecutors] have nothing other than this guy’s testimony,” said Manhattan lawyer Vinoo Varghese, referring to Wildstein. “For all we know, [Christie] may have thought it was a joke.”

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Court Victory Against the IRS

August 24, 2016

A 6-year long ordeal for our client finally ended when a federal jury found him Not Guilty of All Charges last month. In previous newsletters we discussed how this client was tried and wrongfully convicted due to the testimony of a lying government witness. We fought to get him a new trial and succeeded when the federal District Court judge presiding over the case agreed with our view that the verdict was a “manifest injustice.” The government then appealed the judge’s decision granting a new trial to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. We defended our client in the appellate court and won there too. Yet, despite our victories before the District Court and in the Second Circuit, the IRS kept going after our innocent client. Statistically, the IRS wins 99.75% of all cases they bring so they decided to try him again last month. We were there again to fight for him. After three weeks of trial, the jury deliberated less than 2 hours and cleared our client of all charges. Though statistically, we only had a .25% chance of winning, we prevailed and our client finally got the justice he deserved.   Defense team outside the Eastern District of New York Courthouse after our win. From Left: Joseph Caiazzo; Vinoo Varghese; our Client; Dennis Ring; & Katie Lanphere. Articles fromLaw360 about the trial win and our prior appellate victory can be found on our firm’s press page here. Special mentions and thanks are due to co-counsel Dennis Ring, our resident sage, Larry Sharpe, and our forensic accounting expert, David Gannaway.

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New York Law Journal Seeks Vinoo Varghese’s Comments About High Profile Trial

October 20, 2015

The New York Law Journal sought Vinoo’s opinion on the highly-covered 76-day trial in which the government charged three former executives with fraud claiming their actions led to the demise of the white-shoe law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. The judge declared a mistrial yesterday after 21 days of deliberations and the jury deadlocked on most counts against the three. Vinoo described to the New York Law Journal the process of and history behind a judge’s instructions to a jury to continue deliberations when there’s no verdict. He also explained what a mistrial means for the defense and client. Specifically Vinoo told the New York Law Journal: If a jury hasn’t reached a verdict and sends notes declaring that it is deadlocked, the judge can read a so-called “Allen” charge instruction, derived from an 1896 U.S. Supreme Court case, that is basically a push from the judge to reach a verdict…. Some defense lawyers believe that a mistrial is good because you live to fight another day, but the question then becomes, does the client have the stomach for that. This isn’t a simple issue for a defense lawyer. You can read the full article quoting Vinoo on our website’s press page here.

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Vinoo Varghese Named A Super Lawyer

October 19, 2015

We are so pleased to announce that our principal, Vinoo Varghese, has been selected to the 2015 New York Metro Super Lawyers list — an honor only 5% of lawyers receive each year! Vinoo’s profile on the Super Lawyers website can be viewed here. A brief biography of Vinoo is also featured in the Super Lawyers Magazine. Click on the image below to see his page in the digital version of the magazine. A special video providing more details including an explanation of the selection process can be found on our website here. Thank you all for the support you’ve given us with your consistent kind words of encouragement and the trust you’ve given us by allowing us the privilege of defending those you care about. We couldn’t have become as successful without your support and trust.

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Our Victory Against DOJ TAX & IRS

June 28, 2015

We are so pleased to announce that last month we secured another victory for one of our clients — this time against the Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Tax Division and IRS — in a federal appellate court. In January, we had told you that a federal district court judge had granted our retrial motion for our client, who was wrongly accused in a criminal tax case. When our client was arrested in August 2013, the DOJ & IRS issued a joint press release announcing his indictment. Our client, a Peruvian immigrant and owner of a construction company, who in good faith had relied on the advice of his accountant, was charged with tax fraud based mainly on that accountant’s testimony. Undeterred, in 2014, we went to trial and our client took the stand in his own defense. At trial, the judge found our client’s testimony more credible than that of the accountant. The judge, in fact, declared that the accountant’s trial testimony was “patently incredible” — in layman’s terms — the accountant lied and lied often. The judge also concluded that federal prosecutors had made “truly fallacious” and “baseless” arguments in their summations that “inflamed the jury and tainted its deliberations” causing them to “stray from the facts” leading to an unjust verdict. The judge held that the verdict against our client constituted a “manifest injustice” and ordered a retrial under Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in order to “avert a miscarriage of justice.” Despite all these problems, the government decided to appeal the judge’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After oral arguments on April 15, Tax Day, no less, against the DOJ Criminal Tax Division, the Court of Appeals agreed with us, found the government’s evidence “problematic” and affirmed the judge’s decision granting our motion for a retrial. We refused to let an unjust result against our client stand. We didn’t give up when others did, we fought for him, and achieved what the magazine Law360 called a “rare” victory because of the small number of such cases that prevail on appeal. Read more about this great win for our client here.

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Varghese & Associates: 2013 Recap & 2014 Outlook

January 28, 2014

Fighting for the Integrity of the Legal Profession In 2013, we yet again received significant recognition from the press, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York Business, and the New York Law Journal. In December, theNew York Law Journalin a series of articles covered a deeply controversial subpoena issued by the Manhattan District Attorney, summoning us to appear before a grand jury to discuss a privileged interview with a witness, while the DA in anNSA-like maneuver, actually seized privileged attorney-client emails. Never one to back down from injustice, we fought the subpoena and the DA withdrew it. We were allied with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Legal Aid Society. The DA’s subpoena was a wanton act of intimidation with constitutional implications that threatened the role of the criminal defense bar nationwide and the integrity of the legal profession as a whole. We fought them and the DA withdrew the subpoena. Battling Government Overreach 2013 also saw the firm involved in another case of major consequence, defending a city councilman in one of the most important political prosecution proceedings of our time. We have challenged the government’s attempt to bootstrap lawful activity into federal criminal acts, even in the absence of state and federal law. Our firm continues to act on the belief that criminal lawyers are the first responders in the fight for individual freedom. Providing Continuing Legal Education While the year was filled with other crucial proceedings, including the defense of a high-profile insider trading case, and a national security case in Washington D.C., we’ve dedicated ourselves not only to action, but to education as well. We were honored to speak on a landmark webinar on white-collar crime, hosted by the New York Law Journal. We also spoke on a similar panel at Columbia Law School, and at the 2013 Corporate Whistleblowing Forum presented by Thomson Reuters. We were humbled and pleased by the invitations to participate in such high-level discourses. While 2013 was an exciting year, in 2014, we will continue to defend our clients and fight government overreach.

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