Jason Cowley, a former federal prosecutor, is a member of the firm’s Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation department and its Securities Enforcement and Litigation practice group. He principally represents financial institutions (including investment funds), corporations, and executives in criminal investigations and trials, regulatory enforcement proceedings, and complex civil litigation. He also conducts internal investigations, transactional diligence, and advises on compliance matters. Jason has a particular expertise in matters involving securities and commodities fraud, cross-border enforcement issues, anti-money laundering issues, and criminal and civil asset forfeiture.
Prior to joining McGuireWoods, Jason served for over 13 years in the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York and, prior to that, the Eastern District of North Carolina. In the Southern District of New York, he held key leadership positions, serving for over three years as Co-Chief of SDNY’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force and as Chief of SDNY’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit. As a prosecutor, Jason tried over a dozen jury trials and briefed and argued multiple appeals before both the Second and Fourth Circuits of the United States Court of Appeals.
As a Chief of SDNY’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Jason supervised a team of approximately twenty senior prosecutors. He oversaw the investigation and prosecution of various white collar offenses, including insider trading, accounting fraud, corporate embezzlement, investment advisor fraud, market manipulation, hedge fund and private equity fund overvaluation, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In this position, he worked with a variety of domestic and foreign regulatory entities, including the SEC, CFTC, FERC, FINRA, PCAOB, NYSE, and the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority. Notable matters that Jason supervised include:
Jason also served as a line assistant in the Task Force where he conducted numerous investigations and tried multiple securities fraud cases to verdict, many of which included substantial cross-border components.
During his tenure as Chief of the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit, Jason was the Office’s principal advisor on money laundering and asset forfeiture issues and oversaw the investigation and prosecution of various money laundering offenses, Bank Secrecy Act/AML violations, and sanctions violations involving the illicit transfer of funds through the U.S. financial system. In this role, he worked with a variety of regulatory entities, including FinCEN, OFAC, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the New York Department of Financial Services. His work included overseeing various efforts to recover and return funds stolen from crime victims and working with other components of the Department of Justice to design and implement large-scale victim remission programs, including a program for the victims of the Madoff Ponzi Scheme. He also served as a line assistant in the unit and litigated numerous civil asset forfeiture actions involving assets located both domestically and abroad.
Additionally, during his time at SDNY, Jason investigated and prosecuted multiple individuals and entities for tax offenses involving hidden assets maintained by U.S. taxpayers at foreign financial institutions, including Swiss banks. These cases included the prosecutions of U.S. taxpayers, Swiss bankers and asset managers, as well as corporate-level charges and resolutions. As part of this work, he and his colleagues successfully obtained the guilty plea of Switzerland’s then-oldest bank and a deferred prosecution agreement with one of Switzerland’s largest banks for conspiring with U.S. taxpayers to commit tax offenses.
Prior to joining SDNY, Jason served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina for four years, prosecuting various federal crimes ranging from FDA-related offenses and environmental crimes to violent crimes and firearm offenses.
As a federal prosecutor, Jason was involved in several matters involving national security related issues and held Top Secret/SCI clearance.
Before joining the Department of Justice, he practiced as an associate in the Washington D.C. office of another international law firm.
Jason served as a law clerk for the Honorable James C. Dever III of the United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Jason attended UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar and served as president of the UNC Class of 2001.
Member, New York City Bar Association
Member, North Carolina Bar Association
Visiting Lecturer, Duke Law School
Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2021
McGuireWoods Contributes to Global Investigations Review's Guide to Sanctions
August 10, 2021