Chuck La Bella is Of Counsel to the firm. From November 2010 through January 2016, he was Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section of the United States Department of Justice where he supervised white collar crime investigations and prosecutions throughout the United States. During that period he was responsible for convicting over 40 defendants in what was reported as the largest fraud case in the history of Nevada. During his career as a prosecutor, the cases and investigations he led included violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), the Securities Act, RICO, healthcare acts and a variety of other federal laws.
As a veteran trial lawyer, Mr. La Bella has tried several major cases to verdict. In 23 years as a federal prosecutor, he held some of the most important federal prosecutorial positions in the Southern District of New York, the Southern District of California, and Washington D.C.
During his 11-year tenure in the Southern District of New York, Mr. La Bella held important supervisory positions including: Chief, Public Corruption Unit; Chief, Narcotics Unit; Chief, Organized Crime Unit; and Chief, General Crimes Unit. Mr. La Bella also served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. In that office Mr. La Bella also served as the First Assistant United States Attorney and Chief, of the Criminal Division. In 1998, Mr. La Bella was also called to Washington DC by then Attorney General Janet Reno to serve as the Supervising Attorney of the Department of Justice Campaign Finance Task Force. The Campaign Finance Task Force was charged with investigating the possible illegal infusion of foreign money and the use of ''soft money'' in connection with the recent presidential campaign.
Throughout his career, Mr. La Bella has been the driving force behind large-scale investigations of civil and criminal wrongdoing, involving thousands of potential witnesses and gathering evidence both domestically and internationally. This has entailed the need to execute subpoenas and search warrants on major financial and technology companies, providing him unique knowledge and experience in the inner-workings of governmental investigations.
Following his first stint in public service, Mr. La Bella was in private practice and was involved in leading internal investigations, business litigation and white collar criminal defense. His specialized knowledge in public service and private practice makes him uniquely qualified to guide corporate clients through the investigation of complex and potentially damaging internal issues as well as external threats. Based on his broad experience, he has an exceptional ability to provide crisis management to clients and the wisdom and judgment to develop informal resolutions to difficult and complex problems before they can transform into something worse.
After returning to the Department of Justice as Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section, Mr. La Bella was responsible for the conviction of Las Vegas Home Owners Association crime kingpin Leon Benzer, who was sent to prison for 15 1/2 years, as well as over 40 of his co-conspirators, for their participation in what was widely reported to be the largest fraud case in the history of Nevada. He also was involved in supervising healthcare investigations and prosecutions involving the Department of Justice Healthcare Strike Force in Los Angeles and other major cities.
Court Appointed Receiverships
SEC v. Global Money Management et al., 3:04-cv-00521-BTM WMC (USDC, Southern District of California (San Diego), Mar. 11, 2004). GMM was a San Diego based hedge fund which raised nearly $100 million for an options driven investment program which evolved into a classic Ponzi scheme. GMM was placed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, the assets of its General Partner, L.F. Global Investments, were placed in receivership. The Federal Court appointed Mr. La Bella as Receiver of L.F. Global. He was able to assemble and consolidate the assets of L.F. Global through the receivership and transfer them to the GMM Bankruptcy Estate. The GMM Bankruptcy Estate was able to return $31.7 million to 200 approved investors. This return represented a return of approximately 45% of the investors’ net losses.
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission et al. v. Khanna et al., 3:09-cv-01783-BEN-WVG (USDC, Southern District of California (San Diego), Aug. 17, 2009). The MAK 1 defendants ran a $35-40 million foreign exchange Ponzi Scheme. After Mr. La Bella’s appointment as Receiver, he took over the remaining operations of the firm, seized assets and traced financial transactions worldwide. The Receivership sought and received contempt orders from the District Court when the defendants failed to produce the company’s complete books and records. The defendants had disposed of virtually all the assets but as Receiver, Mr. La Bella was able to identify and “claw back” monies received by investors which represented “profits” on their investments. In fact there were no profits and these funds were simply the money of later investors which were used to keep older investors content. Mr. La Bella was also able to recover funds from a small group of commissioned personnel, which ultimately resulted in a recovery of approximately 27% of the loss suffered by investors.
The People of the State of California, by and through the Commissioner of Corporations v. Sierra Funding Group Inc. et al., GIC785226 (San Diego County Superior Court, Mar. 22, 2002). The Defendant engaged in a comprehensive viatical insurance fraud aimed primarily at senior citizens in which he “sold” non-existent viatical insurance policies. As Receiver, Mr. La Bella took control of the business and assembled available assets, which included the marketing and sale of commercial and residential real estate, and ultimately managed a victim’s claims process which returned $4.1 million to 226 victims, representing a 29% recovery of their losses.