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, 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.
- Accountants Defense
- Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption (FCPA)
- Bank Defense and Counseling
- Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering Counseling and Defense
- Commercial Litigation
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Financial Services Litigation
- Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation
- International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration
- International Investigations & Enforcement
- Law Enforcement Policy and Practice Reviews
- Securities Enforcement & Regulatory Counseling
- Trade Secrets
Harvard Law SchoolJD
Notes Editor, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy2004
The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillBA
Member, New York City Bar Association
Member, North Carolina Bar Association
Visiting Lecturer, Duke Law School
- Co-author, Impacts of Sanctions and Export Controls on Supply Chains, Global Investigations Review, The Guide to Sanctions: Fourth Edition, September 29, 2023
- Author, DOJ Announces Safe Harbor Policy for Mergers and Acquisitions, Subject to Inquiry, October 6, 2023
- Author, Departments of Justice, Commerce and Treasury Issue Tri-Seal Compliance Note on Voluntary Self-Disclosure of Potential Violations, Subject to Inquiry, July 31, 2023
- Author, U.S. DOJ and Partners Increasing Enforcement of Sanctions and Export Controls, Subject to Inquiry, March 6, 2023
- Co-author, "Impacts of Sanctions and Export Controls on Supply Chains", Global Investigations Review, The Guide to Sanctions: Third Edition, June 2022
- Author, New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions, Subject to Inquiry, April 8, 2022
- Author, Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions, Subject to Inquiry, March 24, 2022
- Author, DOJ Launches “Task Force KleptoCapture” in Response to Russian Invasion, Subject to Inquiry, March 9, 2022
- Author, U.S. and Allies Significantly Expand Sanctions and Related Restrictions on Russia and Belarus, Subject to Inquiry, February 28, 2022
- Author, Department of Justice Announces National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, Subject to Inquiry, October 15, 2021
- Author, Sanctions and Export Compliance Strategies for Supply Chains, Subject to Inquiry, August 12, 2021
- Contributor, "Part III: Sanctions in Practice – Impacts of Sanctions and Export Controls on Supply Chains", Global Investigations Review's The Guide to Sanctions: Second Edition, July 13, 2021
- Author, "Securing corporate convictions: differences between the US and UK", Financier Worldwide Magazine, April 2021
- Author, "Corporate internal investigations – what you need to know if your business is international", Financier Worldwide Magazine, March 2021
- Author, DOJ Accelerates Enforcement Efforts Against Cybercriminals Who Engage in Ransomware Attacks, Subject to Inquiry, February 5, 2021
- Author, "Crime fighting across borders: what every corporation needs to know", Financier Worldwide Magazine, February 2021
- North Carolina
- New York
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
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Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Woodward/White, Inc. 2024
Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2021, 2022, 2023
Named to “Legal Elite,” Criminal, Business North Carolina, 2023
- Hon. James C. Dever III, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 2005-2006