Wifredo A Ferrer

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Wifredo A. "Willy" Ferrer, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, is a Miami litigation attorney and Chair of Holland & Knight’s Global Compliance and Investigations Team. Mr. Ferrer focuses his practice primarily on internal corporate investigations, corporate compliance and training, and white collar criminal defense. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Ferrer counsels and defends corporate and individual clients in a wide array of criminal and regulatory matters, including allegations involving: bribery and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); complex fraud and financial transactions; violations of the securities laws; healthcare and medical practice matters; false claims; cybercrime; and government contract fraud.

Mr. Ferrer also counsels and represents corporate and individual clients in compliance and due diligence matters. He conducts FCPA training for business leaders, develops corporate FCPA policies and compliance programs, and devises due diligence protocols.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Ferrer served nearly seven years as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Ferrer was nominated as a U.S. Attorney by President Barack Obama and received unanimous confirmation from the U.S. Senate in April 2010.

In his role as a U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer oversaw some of the most complex and significant prosecutions handled by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In an effort to be proactive in fighting crime, Mr. Ferrer created numerous task forces, which strengthened connections between his office and various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Mr. Ferrer also has traveled abroad to build partnerships, most recently participating in a summit in Colombia on bilateral efforts to combat organized transnational crime.

Under Mr. Ferrer's leadership, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida handled more than 11,000 cases and charged more than 18,000 defendants for their alleged roles in criminal schemes. The office prosecuted a wide range of financial fraud, including investment and securities fraud, as well as fraud against the U.S. government and the Medicare program. Mr. Ferrer also oversaw cases involving international and domestic terrorism, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, public corruption, violent crime and human trafficking.

In addition, Mr. Ferrer supervised civil investigations and settlements under the False Claims Act. He coordinated the efforts of the office's Asset Forfeiture and Civil Divisions to focus on obtaining restitution for crime victims and the government. During Mr. Ferrer's tenure, the office routinely was among the national leaders in total forfeiture collections and restitution obtained for victims.

As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer has appeared before the U.S. Senate. In 2010, he testified on mortgage fraud before the U.S. Senate Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Two years later, Mr. Ferrer testified on healthcare fraud before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

Prior to serving as a U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer was Chief of the Federal Litigation Section for the Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office from 2006 to 2010 and an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 2000 to 2006.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer worked in the Public Integrity and National Security Section, the Economic and Environmental Crimes Section, the Major Crimes Section and the Appellate Division of the office. In this role, he handled and tried numerous high-profile matters, including international money laundering, healthcare fraud, narcotics, international human rights abuses, immigration and firearms offenses.

Before becoming an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer served in various roles with the federal government. He gained experience as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and later as Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel to the late Attorney General Janet Reno.

Early in his career, Mr. Ferrer worked as an attorney at a Miami law firm, in addition to three years in private practice. After graduating from law school, Mr. Ferrer served as a law clerk for the Honorable Stanley Marcus in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2019
  • President's Award, League of Prosecutors, 2017 
  • Power Leaders in Law - Newsmakers, South Florida Business Journal, 2017
  • Distinguished Leaders in Law Honoree, Daily Business Review, 2017
  • Equal Justice Leadership Award, Legal Services of Greater Miami, 2017
  • Latino Lawyer of the Year, Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), 2015
  • Top Government Attorney, Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend magazine, 2014, 2015
  • Alumni Award of Merit, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2014
  • U.S. Attorney General's Medal, 2000

Memberships

  • Lawyers Advisory Committee, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., Campaign Committee
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Attorney General's Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, 2014-2016
  • The Florida Bar
  • Cuban American Bar Association
  • Dade County Bar Association
  • University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Editor