Matthew E. Orso Partner

Matt is co-chair of the Bank Defense & Counseling team for the Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Department. He defends companies and individuals facing government investigations and helps them navigate these inquiries to resolution.

Matt represents corporate and individual clients in multiple industries. He leads large-scale internal investigations and has represented major financial institutions in high-profile enforcement matters involving the DOJ, SEC, supervisory regulators, and other government agencies. Matt provides counsel regarding all aspects of BSA/AML compliance and is a go-to resource for clients on suspicious activity reporting and nondisclosure laws. He also advises companies on proactive compliance initiatives to better position them for future regulatory scrutiny.

In addition to defending financial industry clients in a broad range of enforcement matters, Matt has extensive experience overseeing all aspects of federal equity receiverships. He currently serves as the court-appointed receiver of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. He also advises clients on all aspects of the attorney-client privilege, providing frequent trainings on how best to protect the privilege. Matt has defended elected officials in federal campaign finance investigations, and he defends companies in immigration enforcement matters, providing related counsel on Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance.

Prior to joining the firm, Matt clerked for Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.


Bank Defense and Counseling

Defended a major financial institution in multi-year enforcement actions by the DOJ, SEC, and Multistate Attorneys General.

Led dozens of large-scale, high-profile internal investigations across all business areas of national banks and reported on findings to banking regulators and federal law enforcement. Examples include:

  • Coordinated investigation into employee misconduct at a major financial institution, leading a team in conducting more than 700 employee interviews over a two-month period in response to banking regulator demands.
  • Led investigation for a national bank into money laundering allegations and evaluated internal BSA/AML policies and procedures for compliance with federal law.
  • Led multiple investigations into financial institutions’ check processing functions regarding delayed customer payments and employee misconduct.
  • Coordinated investigations into suspicious activity report (SAR) filing practices for multiple financial institutions.
  • Oversaw internal investigation into bank’s compliance with OCC consent order.
  • Served as lead counsel in defending financial institution against OCC enforcement inquiry including regular discussions with government counsel and coordination of company’s response.

Serve as counsel to a major financial institution advising on all aspects of the attorney-client privilege and protecting against privilege waiver.

Counseled financial institutions on privacy laws pertaining to production of customer information to government agencies.

Serve as counsel to multiple financial institution clients regarding BSA/AML compliance including SAR reporting and nondisclosure laws.

Defense of Federal Law Enforcement Investigations

Advise companies and individuals in responding to federal grand jury subpoenas and preparation of witnesses for trial and grand jury testimony.

Defended a government contractor in the transportation industry in a DOJ and IRS investigation into alleged fraud relating to the disadvantaged business enterprise program.

Defended a sitting Congressman in investigations by the House Ethics Committee, DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office resulting in a declination with no filing of charges or OCE referral.

Representation of corporations in immigration and worksite enforcement matters

Defended a manufacturing company in a joint DOJ and SSA investigation into potential violations of federal immigration laws.

Defended companies in ICE audits across the United States.

Presented to ICE officials on behalf of clients regarding use of electronic I-9 software and compliance with federal regulations.

Counseled clients on immigration compliance and risk minimization initiatives.

Securities Enforcement and Defense

Defense of SEC investigations into:

  • broker dealers regarding reverse churning, discretionary trading issues, and Regulation Best Interest compliance.
  • banks involving representations to the market including calculation of data in quarterly and annual filings.
  • Ponzi schemes involving use of broker dealer and bank accounts in furtherance of schemes.

Responded to SEC requests related to banks’ suspicious activity reports and confidential supervisory information.

Coordinated with SEC counsel regarding coordination of repayment of victims of securities fraud scheme.

Worked closely with SEC counsel while serving as a federal equity receiver related to the SEC’s enforcement against a Ponzi scheme.

Federal Equity Receiverships

Served as court-appointed receiver in an SEC receivership for an $850 million international Ponzi and pyramid scheme with over 1 million victims.

Provided legal counsel and oversight regarding all aspects of the receivership prior to being appointed by the Court to succeed the original receiver.

Served as lead counsel in an FTC receivership involving a nationwide fraudulent debt collection scheme.

  • Saint Louis University School of Law, JD, magna cum laude, Editor in Chief, Saint Louis University Law Journal, 2009
  • University of Dayton, BA, History, with Honors, 2001

Board Member, Federal Bar Association for the Western District of North Carolina

Full Member, National Association of Federal Equity Receivers

  • Hon. Robert J. Conrad, U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 2009-2011
  • North Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina

The rules of professional conduct in some jurisdictions require disclosure of selection methodology for certain public accolades and recognitions. Click here to view available selection methodologies.

Named to "North Carolina Rising Stars," Criminal Defense: White Collar, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2014-2020

Selected for inclusion into the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2020

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