Robert J. Becerra

Attorney Profile

Top Rated White Collar Crimes Attorney in Miami, FL

Becerra Law, P.A.
 | 1001 Brickell Bay Drive, Suite 1200
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: 305-375-0112
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2017
Licensed Since: 1990
Practice Areas:
  • Criminal Defense: White Collar (30%),
  • Business Litigation (30%),
  • International (30%),
  • Transportation/Maritime (10%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • Spanish
Attorney Profile

As the founder of his own firm in Miami, Florida, Robert J. Becerra concentrates his practice on civil and white collar criminal litigation involving international trade . He is board certified as a specialist in international law by The Florida Bar, and he has extensive experience in the areas of international trade, export enforcement, embargo violations and money laundering. Mr. Becerra has handled complex cases dealing with the Lacey Act, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, civil forfeitures and Customs seizures.

A 1986 graduate of the University of Miami, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration in international finance and marketing, Mr. Becerra earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, graduated cum laude in 1990. Admitted to practice in Florida, he is also admitted to practice before the U. S. District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, the U.S. Court of International Trade,  the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd and 11th Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Becerra's background in litigation and international trade law led to him being selected by The Florida Bar to sit on a trade compliance and business law panel at the organization's International Litigation, Arbitration & Transactions Conference in 2016.

The esteem in which Mr. Becerra is held by his fellow professionals is evidenced by his receipt of an AV Preeminent* peer-review rating through Martindale-Hubbell and a "10.0 Superb" peer-review rating through Avvo. He has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. A member of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, Mr. Becerra is an active participant in several other legal organizations as well, including the Federal Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

 
Practice Areas
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Criminal Defense: White Collar (30%): White Collar Crime, Criminal Law - Federal

Business Litigation (30%)

International (30%)

Transportation/Maritime (10%): Admiralty & Maritime Law, Transportation Law

Focus Areas

Criminal Defense: White Collar: White Collar Crime, Criminal Law - Federal

Transportation/Maritime: Admiralty & Maritime Law, Transportation Law

Selections

Selected to Super Lawyers for 4 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2017

Certificates and Credentials

Florida Bar Board Certified

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About Robert Becerra

Admitted: 1990, Florida

Professional Webpage: www.rjbecerralaw.com

Honors and Awards:

  • Listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" 2015-2018 editions under "Criminal Defense: White-Collar", 2018
  • America's Most Honored Professionals, American Registry, 2011
  • Who's Who in American Law, Marquis Who's Who, 2009
  • Named, "Super Lawyer" Super Lawyers Magazine, 2014-2017
  • Named, "Top Lawyer," Criminal Law/Criminal Defense, South Florida Legal Guide, 2012-2017
  • Ranked AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5*, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Rated 10.0, “Superb” by Avvo, a lawyer rating website
  • Listed among "South Florida's Top Rated Lawyers," Criminal Law, 2012, 2013

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in International Law

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Treasurer, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2017
  • Florida Bar International Law Section, Member of Executive Council, 2016
  • Member, Florida Bar International Law Certification Committee, 2016
  • Member, Executive Council, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2016
  • Member, Organization of Women in International Trade, Chair, Silent Auction Committee, 2012
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1997
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1994
  • Supreme Court of the United States, 1994
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1991
  • U.S. Court of International Trade, 2015
  • U. S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 1991
  • U. S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1991
  • Florida, 1990
  • Member, American Bar Association, Criminal Justice and Litigation Sections
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Dade County Bar Association, Federal Courts Committee
  • Florida Bar International Law Section, Co-Chair, International Litigation, Arbitration and Business Transactions Conference, 2015-2017
  • Member, International Law Section, Florida Bar, International Litigation and Arbitration Conference Executive  Committee, 2013-2014
  • Member, Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Assistant Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • Panelist in Technical Program for the International Precious Metals Institute's 2017 annual conference in Orlando, Florida, Panelist, Staying out of Trouble and Keeping the Feds Away From Your Import Shipments, International Precious Metals Institute, 2017
  • I was the featured presenter in a seafood industry sponsored webinar discussing criminal enforcement in the seafood industry, Presenter, Comply or Die: Criminal Enforcement in the Seafood Industry, Seafoodsource.com, 2017
  • Blog co-authored on the Becker & Poliakoff Customs and International Trade Law Blog hosted by Jennifer Diaz, Esq., regarding criminal convictions and sentences of defendants who imported counterfeit toys from China., co-author, Florida Companies Convicted and Sentenced , 2013
  • "The Demurrage Dilemma", author, Journal of Commerce, 2007
  • Contributing Author to the Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2005 edition (chapter 18, "Intellectual Property"), for the Committee on Business and Corporate Litigation for the American Bar Association
  • Presenter, "Managing Criminal Exposure under the FCPA and Other Laws Impacting International Trade", March 15, 2012, Florida Bar, International Law Section Continuing Legal Education webinar - The webinar reviewed and highlighted the criminal laws most likely to ensnare the companies and executives involved in international trade, such as exporters, importers of food, drugs, and other regulated products, and logistics companies
  • Author, "Threats of Criminal Action for Advantage in a Civil Dispute: Legal and Ethical Consequences," 3rd Annual International Litigation Update: Hot Topics in International Litigation, published by the Florida Bar's International Litigation and Arbitration Committee
  • Quoted, "U.S. Targets Drug Execs", The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2011 - How U.S. authorities are stepping up enforcement of a little-used law known as the "responsible corporate officer doctrine" to hold executives personally and criminally responsible for violations of food & drug laws
  • Moderator, "How Should Counsel Use Trade Agreements in Commercial Disputes?" 11th International Litigation and Arbitration Conference, Miami, March 1, 2013
  • Quoted, "1906 law pre-empts claims over interstate shipping," Daily Business Review, July 1, 2013
  • Quoted, "Shutdown could stymie shipping, stall food inspections," Local10.com, October 8, 2013
  • Co-author, "Criminal Liability for Corporate Officers-The Resurrection of the Park Doctrine in Food and Drug Cases," Practical Trade & Customs Strategies, Thomson Reuters, April 15, 2013
  • Moderator, "International Trade and Customs Law 2013," The Florida Bar International Law Section's Annual International Litigation & Arbitration Conference, Miami, February 28, 2014
  • Presenter, "Criminal Enforcement in the Seafood Industry and The Park Doctrine," Seafood Expo North America, Boston, Massachusetts, March 17, 2014
  • Presenter, "When the Government Comes Knockin'; Handling Visits from Uninvited Regulatory Officials," Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, 2014 seminar series, March 19, 2014
  • Author, "A Review of the Adequate Forum Factor in Forum Non Conveniens Analysis in Florida's State and Federal Courts", International Law Quarterly, Summer 2014, Florida Bar International Law Section
  • Panelist, "Advanced Seafood Safety and Compliance and Federal Regulators", Seafood Expo North America, Boston, Massachusetts, March 16, 2015
  • Panelist, import/export "Emerging Entrepreneurs" event sponsored by Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF), discussing the legal issues presented when conducting import/export business, Weston, Florida, March 19, 2015
  • Author, "The Black Market Peso Exchange and the Small Exporter", International Law Quarterly, Winter 2015, Florida Bar International Law Section
  • Panelist, "International Trade Compliance for the Business Lawyer", International Litigation, Arbitration & Transactions Conference, Florida Bar International Law Section, February 26, 2016​

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • Obtained federal court settlement for auto parts distributor/importer whereby Customs and Border Protection returned all seized auto parts to the auto parts distributor/importer which had been alleged to be counterfeit., 2017
  • Obtained favorable settlement for auto exporter in civil forfeiture case in New Jersey state court involving the State of New Jersey's seizure of the exporter's funds for the purchase of luxury vehicles for export to China., 2016
  • In representing a London vehicle importer, obtained both a settlement and a civil theft judgment against a Florida automobile broker who failed to deliver vehicles after being paid by the London importer., 2016
  • In a Florida lawsuit between an exporter and a trucking company, I represented the trucking company. The exporter alleged that the trucking company had either lost or stole about $170,000 worth of its cargo. The trucking company filed a motion for summary judgment against the exporter. On the eve of the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, the exporter filed a dismissal of all its claims against the trucking company., 2015
  • Robert J. Becerra of Becerra Law, P.A.  settled a civil forfeiture case in federal court in the Middle District of Florida which resulted in the federal government returning to Becerra Law’s client, an automobile exporter, 21 BMW vehicles worth over one million dollars, without the exporter having to pay any funds or storage costs to the  federal government. , 2014
  • Won not guilty verdict for clients, a cell phone exporter and its purchasing manager, in a federal criminal money laundering trial involving exports to Colombia and wire payments through the Black Market Peso Exchange., 2014
  • Lower court dismissed $60 million fraud case against client/defendant in Miami Court in favor of forum in Venezuela. Plaintiff took appeal. Appellate court affirmed dismissal of case in favor of court in Venezuela, 2014
  • Represented importer whose goods, cellular phones, were seized by US Customs. After government refused to return goods, I sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court in Miami demanding the return of the goods. Settlement was entered into by the parties whereby all goods were returned to my importer client without payment of any monies, costs or fees to the government., 2013
  • Client was Venezuelan national accused in civil action in Miami Dade Circuit Court of stealing up to 60 million dollars from defunct Venezuelan brokerage house in Caracas. I filed motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens, arguing that case belonged in Venezuelan courts.  Plaintiff, a Venezuelan national, claimed that because he was an asylum applicant in USA, Venezuelan courts would deprive him of due process and be unfair. After remand from an appellate court,  I convinced the Miami court to dismiss the case anyway in favor of a Venezuelan court. Case against my client was dismissed., 2013
  • Represented Shipper of computer parts from Florida to Dominican Republic. Defendant, an ocean carrier, had container with shipper's goods stolen from its warehouse/truck yard. Lawsuit filed and resulted in confidential settlement., 2013
  • Represented shipper of computer goods that were shipped from Florida to Colombia. When container was opened in Colombia it was found that much of the cargo was missing and replaced with sacks of concrete. I filed a lawsuit for shipper against trucking company, Ocean Transportation Intermediary and ocean carrier. Case was settled prior to trial in favor of Shipper, 2013
  • Represented Indian exporter of cosmetic products. Exporter sold container loads of petroleum jelly to U.S. importer. U.S. importer failed to pay exporter's invoices, and then claimed poor quality as the reason. After lawsuit in Miami state court, case settled with importer returning product to exporter, plus $60,000 payment., 2012
  • Settled civil case between joint venture partner and joint venture entity which extracted client from joint venture in its totality, without any surviving restrictions in return for substantial settlement payment, 2012
  • Represented client charged in New York State Court with Enterprise Corruption, money laundering and illegal bookmaking in regard to an internet sports betting network. Worked out plea deal with prosecution dismissing all charges and allowing client to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, which is less than a misdemeanor under New York law., 2012
  • Obtained 50% reduction in sentence in federal criminal export violation case for client's cooperation after guilty plea where government requested only a 20% reduction, 2012
  • Convinced State Attorneys' Office to dismiss charges against client, a manager of a company, accused by her employer of stealing company funds. Also convinced Department of Economic Opportunity (unemployment compensation)  to reinstate her unemployment benefits over employer's objection at unemployment compensation appeal hearing, 2012
  • Represented client in high profile criminal fraud case involving the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Client sentenced to bottom of Guideline Range although government claimed he was mastermind of scheme to defraud, 2011
  • Represented consignee of goods shipped from Africa which were stolen. Obtained favorable settlement from ocean carrier., 2011
  • Obtained a below Federal Sentencing Guidelines sentence of probation with home detention for a client convicted of tax evasion, 2011
  • Client and Chinese supplier were engaged in litigation over  bills unpaid by client  amounting to the millions for product imported into the US. After months of litigation, entered into settlement providing for terms allowing over 10 years to make installment payments and a discount of over 33% from amount owed on invoices., 2011
  • Client had monies seized from bank account in Miami by federal government. After requesting judicial forfeiture proceedings and negotiating with government, it agreed to return almost all of the seized funds., 2011
  • Client was sued for violating Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed case after I filed a motion to dismiss for failing to plead with the particularity required by Supreme Court precedent, 2011
  • Represented a cheese importer who imported adulterated cheese from Nicaragua and then violated a hold on that cheese by the Food & Drug Administration. Importer then attempted to fool Customs and FDA into thinking the cheese was being re-exported when in fact it was already sold nationwide.  After a guilty plea, obtained a sentence for the principle that was a minor fraction of that requested by the government., 2010
  • Obtained a misdemeanor plea agreement and sentence for a client that is an importer of food ingredients in a very high profile case. The case involved dog food ingredients from China which were tainted, resulting in the deaths of thousands of dogs and cats. The government originally indicted the client with 26 FDA misdemeanors and a felony wire fraud conspiracy. Through negotiation, a plea agreement was reached whereby the client pled guilty to two misdemeanors and the felony wire fraud conspiracy was dismissed along with 24 other misdemeanors, and the government agreed in the plea agreement to a probationary sentence and fine. Client was sentenced to probation and a fine., 2010
  • Obtained a $310,000 attorney's fee award against a Coffee import/export company in Miami, 2010
  • Robert J. Becerra had a client, an exporter of machinery, that had $50,000 seized out of its operating account by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who alleged that the monies were traceable to narcotics money laundering. Becerra, through negotiations with ICE, was able to convince them that the Client was an innocent owner of the funds, having received them for payment on an export of goods. ICE agreed to return all the money back to the Client., 2009
  • Robert J. Becerra a case brought by his client, a U.S. importer, against a Chinese manufacturer of Christmas lights for breach of contract and warranties, won an appeal in the Third District Court of Appeal taken by the defendant of an order denying their motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, 2009
  • Represented a seafood wholesaler in a lawsuit brought against another seafood wholesaler in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for the conversion(theft) of a container load of frozen fish imported from Brazil. Becerra obtained a jury verdict in his client's favor in a very circumstantial case, resulting in a Final Judgment for his client $110,000., 2009
  • Robert J. Becerra had a client that was importing scrap gold into the U.S. from Panama. Customs claimed the scrap gold was really jewelry, requiring a different duty rate, and therefore seized the scrap gold for forfeiture. Becerra filed a petition for remission of the forfeiture, showing that any alleged misdeclaration was a mere mistake and requesting return of the scrap gold. Customs granted the petition, returned the more than $170,000 worth of scrap gold, in return for a payment of duty at the jewelry rate., 2008
  • Robert J. Becerra represented a defendant in a federal criminal case involving a sting operation brought by the government. The defendant accompanied a crew of robbers from New York to Miami for the purpose of robbing drugs from a drug dealer which was portrayed by an undercover law enforcement officer. When the defendants arrived at the undercover officer's offices, they were arrested. Client was charged with drug trafficking charges, robbery charges and firearm possession charges. Client went to trial and obtained not guilty verdicts on the drug trafficking and gun possession charges, but was convicted on the robbery charges. This  resulted in only a two year sentence for Becerra's client, when co-defendants, who were convicted at the same trial of the drug and robbery charges, all received sentences of 15-20 years., 2006

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Certificate of Appreciation, National Association of Purchasing Management, S. Fla. Chapter, 2011

Educational Background:

  • University of Miami, B.B.A., Majors: International Finance and Marketing, 1986

Industry Groups

  • International Trade
  • Transportation
  • Office Location for Robert J. Becerra

    1001 Brickell Bay Drive
    Suite 1200
    Miami, FL 33131

    Phone: 305-375-0112

     

    Robert J. Becerra:

    Last Updated: 10/18/2017

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