Jason H. Cowley Partner

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Jason Cowley, a former federal prosecutor, is the Chair of the firm’s Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation department and a member of the 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, undertakes 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 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.

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.

Jason is a seasoned litigator. As a prosecutor, Jason personally 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. Jason also directly supervised an additional twenty white-collar fraud trials while leading SDNY’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.

Since joining McGuireWoods, Jason has assisted a variety of businesses and individuals in obtaining favorable outcomes in complex investigations and trials. Some of Jason’s representative matters include:

  • Serving as lead trial counsel for an individual in a complex federal criminal accounting fraud case in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), obtaining a total acquittal on all counts after a multi-week trial.
  • Assisting a corporate client in obtaining a rare deferred prosecution agreement from the Antitrust Division of the Department Justice.
  • Representing the U.S. subsidiary of an international energy and commodities trading firm in defending against a garnishment proceeding brought under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.
  • Representing a large, publicly traded company in responding to an inquiry from the enforcement division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
  • Representing various financial institutions in confidential investigations and inquiries.

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.