Fritz E. Berckmueller

Attorney Profile

Top Rated White Collar Crimes Attorney in Cleveland, OH

Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP
1405 East Sixth Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
Phone: 877-698-2527
Fax: 216-241-0816
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2016, 2022
Licensed Since: 2006
Practice Areas: Criminal Defense: White Collar (70%), Business Litigation (10%), Business/Corporate (10%), Securities Litigation (10%)
Attorney Profile

Fritz Berckmueller leads Calfee’s White-Collar Defense and Investigations practice, where he focuses on helping corporate clients and individuals navigate criminal investigations and inquiries and other related matters, by both federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), among others.

Fritz has extensive experience in each of the following areas:

  • FCPA and other bribery and corruption matters, both foreign and domestic
  • Securities fraud and False Claims Act (“FCA”) investigations
  • Securities fraud class actions, shareholder derivative actions, and proxy challenges
  • Economic Espionage Act and criminal trade secret theft investigations and prosecutions
  • Treasury and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) investigations regarding sanctions lists
  • Department of Commerce and the Export Administration Act
  • Whistleblower claims
  • FINRA insider trading inquiries

Additionally, he has significant experience conducting internal corporate investigations for boards and audit committees on governance and other issues.

Fritz has defended individuals and corporations against criminal investigations and in criminal actions in courts across the country over charges of securities fraud, copyright infringement, public corruption and theft of trade secrets/economic espionage. He also assists clients in developing policies, providing training and conducting due diligence in many of these areas, including FCPA and other anti-corruption and bribery laws.

Fritz also regularly represents businesses and business partners in arbitration and in state and federal courts regarding commercial disputes such as breach of contract, fraud, breach of duty, tortious interference, misappropriation of trade secrets and civil conspiracy.

He writes and speaks regularly on issues relating to securities fraud, shareholder derivative actions, corporate compliance and internal investigations.

Formerly at a firm in Chicago, Fritz joined Calfee in 2006 and became a partner in 2010.

Practice Areas
  • 70%Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • 10%Business Litigation
  • 10%Business/Corporate
  • 10%Securities Litigation
Focus Areas

White Collar Crime

Selections

4 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2016, 2022

About Fritz E. Berckmueller

Admitted: 2006, Illinois

Professional Webpage: https://www.calfee.com/professionals-fritz-e-berckmueller

Verdicts/Settlements

  • Conducted internal investigation of ethics and legal compliance issues for not-for-profit company.
  • Represented national financial institution in responding to SEC subpoenas.
  • Conducted internal investigation of revenue recognition and other accounting practices for privately held high-tech company.
  • Represented a national investment bank in investigation by a self-regulatory organization relating to compliance and conflict of interest issues.
  • Conducted internal investigation of corporate ethics for publicly traded company.
  • Represented accounting officer of publicly traded manufacturing company in shareholder derivative and class actions, all alleging securities fraud based on accounting issues; obtained complete dismissal of class and derivative claims.
  • Represented officers and directors of publicly traded medical equipment manufacturer in related securities fraud class action, ERISA class action, and shareholder derivative actions alleging fraud and breaches of fiduciary and other duties in regard to regulatory compliance programs.
  • Represented national financial institution in class "strike suit" involving disclosure and fiduciary duty claims.
  • Represented hedge fund in one of the largest ever proxy challenges.
  • Represented publicly traded company in oil and gas industry in FCPA investigation by SEC, resulting in close-out letter, with no further action, from SEC.
  • Represented accounting officer of publicly traded manufacturing company in SEC enforcement action alleging securities fraud based on accounting issues.
  • Represented officer of investment advisory firms in securities fraud class actions and related SEC investigation.
  • Defended a felony trade secret theft prosecution in the Eastern District of Michigan.
  • Current representation of multiple corporate clients in DOJ criminal investigations in various jurisdictions nationally., 2021

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • Federal Bar Association, Member; Board Member of the Northern District of Ohio Chapter, 2021
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section and White-Collar Crime Committee, 2021

Newsletters

  • On June 1, 2020, and for the third time in three years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its guidance to federal prosecutors on evaluating corporate compliance programs. The document, titled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” was first published in 2017 and is a key reference material for compliance officers and professionals. This most recent update serves as a reminder of DOJ’s heightened focus on compliance during investigations. Specifically, the update underscores the importance of continuous risk assessments and encourages the use of data analytics to assess the efficacy of a corporation’s compliance function and as part of a corporation’s ongoing monitoring of third-party relationships., DOJ Highlights the Use of Data Analytics and a Deeper Scrutiny of Third-Party Relationships in Corporate Compliance Programs, Compliance, Regulatory Services
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) continues its focus on corporate criminal investigations. In recent months, DOJ announced penalties from two investigations that were each in the billion-dollar range. While perhaps out of the norm, these recent resolutions are a stark reminder of DOJ’s continued focus on corporate criminal investigations. Accordingly, companies of all sizes involved in DOJ investigations should be mindful of the updated cooperation credit guidance in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), False Claims Act (FCA) and Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) investigations. And for those further along in discussions, DOJ’s recent guidance on evaluating corporate inability to pay claims is equally important. , Recent High-Dollar Penalties and Expanded Guidance Highlight DOJ’s Continued Focus on Corporate Criminal Investigations, White-Collar Investigations And Litigation
  • Both the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) have recently released multiple sets of guidance re-emphasizing the importance they put on corporations implementing, maintaining and enforcing effective compliance programs. Here we focus on four recent initiatives in varied substantive arenas which we think demonstrate that the DOJ and OFAC continue to expect companies to maintain robust, broad-based programs, and consider the implementation of such programs in deciding whether and how to award “cooperation credit,” something which can be of immense value in difficult situations., Feds Focused on Promoting Corporate Compliance, Compliance, Corporate Compliance

Representative Clients

  • Invacare Corporation

Educational Background

  • J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 2000
  • B.A., Washington and Lee University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1997

Honors/Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation (2020-2021), Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America©, 2021
  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star – Ohio (2021), Local Litigation Star – Ohio, Benchmark Litigation, 2021

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio, Inc., President of the Board of Directors, 2021
  • Citizenship and Education Foundation of Edison Local Schools, Board Member; Past Elected Member of the Board of Education of Edison Local Schools, 2021
  • Boy Scouts of America, Lake Erie Council, Board Member, 2021

Industry Groups

  • Banking
  • Financial Services
  • Government
  • Insurance
  • Private and Family-Owned Businesses
  • Public Companies
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Office Location for Fritz E. Berckmueller

1405 East Sixth Street
Cleveland, OH 44114

Phone: 877-698-2527

Fax: 216-241-0816

Last Updated: 2/11/2021

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