Matthew L. Schwartz
Areas of Practice
Columbia Law School, J.D., Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, 2002; Thomas E. Dewey Prize; Head Writing and Research Editor, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems; Finalist, Harlan Fiske Stone Honors Moot Court Competition
Columbia University, B.A., Physics, Philosophy, 2000
Hon. Thomas J. Meskill, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2004-2005 Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2002-2004
United States District Courts: Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
United States Court of Appeals: Second Circuit
Matthew L. Schwartz is a partner in the firm’s New York City office. His practice focuses on government and internal investigations, white collar defense, regulatory compliance, and complex civil litigation. A “buttoned-up assassin in the courtroom” praised by his colleagues for his “laser-like focus and precision,” Mr. Schwartz has a reputation for “possessing the consistent ability to take knotty issues and distilling them to their essence,” (Forbes, December 2014). He has first-chaired numerous jury and non-jury trials and argued more than a dozen federal appeals.
From 2005 to 2015, Mr. Schwartz was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, one of the premier prosecuting offices in the world. There, he was a senior member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, where he led some of the government’s most important and high-profile prosecutions. He conducted numerous investigations in parallel with regulators such as the SEC, CFTC, OCC, Federal Reserve Board, FinCEN, OFAC, and PCAOB; state Attorneys General and other state regulators, such as the New York State Department of Financial Services; and foreign regulators and law enforcement, such as the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Mr. Schwartz has extensive experience in Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering matters, sanctions compliance and export controls, tax fraud, accounting fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and cybercrimes, as well as with various civil enforcement statutes, including the False Claims Act, FIRREA, and the forfeiture laws.
Mr. Schwartz has frequently been recognized for his work. He is a three-time recipient of the Department of Justice’s John Marshall Award – the highest award given by the Department to lawyers – as well as a recipient of the Director’s Award. He was also named 2013 Prosecutor of the Year by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, among other awards.
The significant cases that Mr. Schwartz led while at the U.S. Attorney’s Office include:
- The investigation and prosecution of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, resulting in a $1.7 billion penalty – the largest ever in an anti-money laundering case.
- The investigation of all aspects of the fraud at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, including the six-month long trial of five former Madoff associates and the forfeiture of nearly $9 billion – including in what were, at the time, the two largest forfeitures ever. Mr. Schwartz also oversaw the victim remission process for the Madoff Securities fraud, the largest and most ambitious in the history of the Department of Justice, and coordinated all aspects of the government’s interactions with the SIPA Trustee.
- The investigation and prosecution of two traders in connection with the “London Whale” trades, which cost JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office more than $6 billion.
- The investigation and prosecution of numerous individuals, including a law firm information technology specialist, for insider trading as part of the U.S. Attorney’s broad initiative.
- The investigation and prosecution of what the U.S. Attorney described as “one of the largest, if not the single largest” payment fraud syndicates in the world.
Mr. Schwartz also has extensive civil litigation experience. The significant civil representations he led include:
- The United States Department of the Treasury and the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, in connection with the historic bankruptcy of General Motors. Mr. Schwartz served as the government’s lead in-court lawyer, including during the multi-day hearing that led to the creation of “New GM.”
- Various high-level government officials and agencies in connection with a constitutional challenge to the use of OFAC administrative subpoenas, both in the district court and on appeal, in connection with an important program related to terrorist financing.
- The Environmental Protection Agency in connection with numerous environmental enforcement actions, particularly in the context of bankruptcy. Among the significant corporate bankruptcies that Mr. Schwartz handled for the EPA are Tronox Corporation (which resulted in the recovery of more than $5 billion for environmental agencies), Dana Corporation, Delphi Corporation, and T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition.
- The United States, in a series of matters at the intersection of criminal law (especially the asset forfeiture laws) and bankruptcy. Mr. Schwartz represented the United States in the bankruptcies of Dreier LLP, Adelphia Communications Corp., and Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, among others.
Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Mr. Schwartz was a law clerk to two federal judges and was an associate in the New York office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Mr. Schwartz was also appointed by the Honorable Shira A. Scheindlin to serve as Special Master in In re Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, a consolidation of more than 300 cases alleging securities fraud in connection with technology industry IPOs.
Get Ready for the Next Phase in Cyberattacks, The National Law Journal, October 5, 2015 (click here) (with Michael Gottlieb)
Using the Criminal Law to Combat Insider Banking Misconduct, 35 Colum. J. L. & Soc. Probs. 371 (2002)
With All Due Deference: Judicial Responsibility in a Time of Crisis, 32 Hofstra L. Rev. 795 (2004) (w/ Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin)
Apportioning Discovery Costs Under Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC, ABA Bus. Torts. J. (2004)
First Reactions to the U.K.'s Second Deferred Prosecution Agreement (The New York Law Journal)
One More Money Laundering Problem for Banks to Worry About (American Banker)
FinCEN Employing New Tactics to Combat Money Laundering (New York Law Journal)
Madoff Employees Lied, Prosecutor Says at Trial (In The News)
Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York, 2005-2015