Press Release
March 1, 2017

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer Joins Holland & Knight as Head of Global Compliance and Investigations Team

MIAMI (March 1, 2017) – Holland & Knight has announced that Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, will join the firm as a partner in its Miami office. Mr. Ferrer will lead the firm's Global Compliance and Investigations Team, which focuses on corporate compliance and government investigations within the firm's White Collar Defense Practice.

As head of the nation's third largest U.S. Attorney's Office, Mr. Ferrer oversaw approximately 500 lawyers and professional staff. He successfully prosecuted a wide range of financial crimes, including healthcare fraud, complex investment and security fraud, identity theft and Ponzi schemes. Mr. Ferrer also focused on fighting public corruption, environmental crimes, and drug and human trafficking.

"Willy Ferrer is one of the most respected government officials in South Florida. He has an impeccable reputation in our profession," said Steven Sonberg, managing partner of Holland & Knight. "We are proud that he has chosen to continue his remarkable career at Holland & Knight."

The move to Holland & Knight reunites Mr. Ferrer with John Hogan, who currently serves as head of the firm's Litigation Section. They previously worked together at the Department of Justice while Mr. Hogan was chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

"We are thrilled to have Willy join our white collar and litigation practices," said Mr. Hogan. "His 23 years of public service have given him tremendous insight into the Department of Justice and strong connections at all levels of government. Willy's excellent trial skills and knowledge of the real-world aspects of criminal law make him an extremely powerful advocate for clients."

"Over my many years in the South Florida community, I've been very impressed by the caliber and professionalism of Holland & Knight attorneys, many of whom I count as friends," said Mr. Ferrer. "The firm has an outstanding reputation in the profession and also embodies a culture that is deeply committed to giving back to the community. I look forward to contributing to its continued success."

At Holland & Knight, Mr. Ferrer's practice will focus on international and domestic investigations for corporate clients, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters. He will utilize the firm's strong Latin America Practice to assist clients in the region. He will represent companies and individuals facing enforcement actions, complex litigation and other compliance issues. Mr. Ferrer will also use his considerable background in the areas of healthcare and financial services regulation to advise companies on compliance with federal and state laws.

About Wifredo A. Ferrer

Mr. Ferrer was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2010 to serve as the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Southern District of Florida. He is the longest serving United States attorney in South Florida since the 1970s. Some highlights of his office's achievements include:

  • Securing full restitution for the defrauded investors of Scott Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme
  • Participating in the extradition and prosecution of international drug traffickers, such as Joaquin Guzman Loera ("El Chapo") from Mexico and Guy Philippe from Haiti
  • Becoming a nationwide leader in healthcare fraud prosecutions, charging 658 healthcare fraud cases and 1,230 defendants
  • Creating a South Florida Identity Theft Strike Force to aggressively attack rampant identity tax refund fraud and charging more than 600 defendants
  • Convicting the former mayor of Sweetwater, Fla., for using his elected position to facilitate a fraud scheme
  • Convicting and obtaining lengthy prison sentences for terror group operatives and disrupting the plans of other violent extremists
  • Securing a record settlement of over $250 million with more than 500 hospitals to resolve False Claim Act allegations related to the implantation of cardiac devices
  • Creating the Violence Reduction Partnership, a community-based, holistic approach to violence reduction that focuses on enforcement, prevention and the successful reentry of returning citizens into South Florida neighborhoods

In 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Mr. Ferrer to serve on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, where he helped shape national law enforcement policies. He was reappointed to the committee by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in 2016. Additionally, Mr. Ferrer was recognized by the Hispanic National Bar Association with its 2015 Latino Lawyer of the Year Award.

Mr. Ferrer's distinguished career in public service also includes working as deputy chief of staff and counsel to former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and serving as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida and as an assistant county attorney for Miami-Dade County.

Mr. Ferrer received his J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was editor of the Law Review and president of his class. He earned his A.B. degree from the University of Miami, where he graduated first in his class.

About Holland & Knight's White Collar Defense Practice: Holland & Knight's White Collar Defense Practice includes 15 former federal prosecutors, two former U.S. attorneys, a former Judge, two former Securities and Exchange Commission trial counsel, and two of Florida's former statewide prosecutors. The group has tried hundreds of criminal and civil cases and negotiated for clients with all of the federal law enforcement and investigative agencies.

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