Michael Ferrara

Counsel

Education

  • J.D., Stanford Law School, 2003
  • With Distinction
  • B.A., Boston College
  • Magna Cum Laude

Clerkships

  • Hon. Michael Chertoff, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Hon. John Gleeson, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Fellowships, Leadership & Recognition

  • The Henry L. Stimson Medal, New York City Bar
  • Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Federal Prosecutor Award, Federal Law Enforcement Foundation
  • Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Ensuring the Integrity of Government, U.S. Department of Justice

Bar and Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • New York

Michael Ferrara is Counsel at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP. A decorated former federal prosecutor, Michael has extensive experience as a trial and appellate lawyer across a career of public service that includes over a decade as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York.

Michael maintains a broad-based white-collar practice, representing companies, boards of directors, and individuals in connection with white-collar criminal defense, government investigations, and complex civil litigation. Michael leverages his extensive public sector experience to help clients navigate responding to criminal prosecutions and regulatory enforcement proceedings; and conducts internal investigations and provides counsel on compliance to help them avoid such prosecutions and proceedings in the first place. His particular expertise in complex fraud, corruption (including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), and cybercrime – combined with his familiarity and comfort with intricate, multinational settings – equips him to deliver compelling results for clients as they face their most critical legal challenges.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Southern District of New York, Michael investigated, prosecuted, and supervised a wide range of cases; including matters involving securities fraud, insider trading, money laundering, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, bank and wire fraud, cybercrime, international drug trafficking, and terrorism. During his tenure, he served as Co-Chief of both the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit and the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit, supervising two units of approximately 25 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, investigators, and other personnel in investigating and prosecuting a wide array of white-collar, cyber, and national security offenses. Michael also served as a member of the office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, in which role he tried and convicted professional gambler Billy Walters for insider trading.

Other high-profile representative cases that Michael supervised or led include the prosecution of Billy McFarland, the founder and CEO of Fyre Media Inc. and Fyre Festival LLC, for defrauding over 80 investors and causing over $26 million in losses; the Panama Papers investigation, resulting in charges against four defendants for their roles in the alleged decades-long tax scheme; the first-ever securities fraud conviction predicated on a Bitcoin Ponzi scheme; FCPA resolutions with Russian telecom company Mobile TeleSystems PJSC and its subsidiary, resulting in $850 million in penalties; and sanctions-evasion and fraud charges against Türkiye Halk Bankasi A.Ş., or “Halkbank,” for its alleged participation in a multi-billion-dollar Iranian sanctions-evasion scheme. Michael also supervised charges against nine Iranians in U.S. v. Rafatnejad for allegedly hacking the computer systems of hundreds of American universities, companies, and other victims; obtained the conviction after trial of Usama bin Laden’s son-in-law and al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghayth; and supervised the capital prosecution of Sayfullo Saipov for the alleged 2017 terrorist truck attack in Tribeca.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Michael served as a Trial Attorney in the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. In that role, he investigated and prosecuted a wide array of federal corruption crimes, including bribery, honest-services fraud, obstruction of justice, and extortion. Most notably, Michael led investigations of dozens of public officials and lobbyists that stemmed from the Jack Abramoff scandal, including investigations of a Congressman; several congressional staffers; and officials across the Departments of Justice, Transportation, and Labor. Michael was also briefly detailed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.  

Across his 14 years in government, Michael was counsel in eleven federal criminal jury trials, one federal bench trial, and over twenty misdemeanor bench trials; briefed over forty and argued nine appeals before U.S. Courts of Appeals; and supervised other Assistant U.S. Attorneys in all aspects of appellate advocacy as Deputy Chief of the Appeals Unit in the Southern District of New York.

Michael has received significant recognition for his public service, both from within the government and from beyond. He is the recipient of the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, the Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team, the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation’s Federal Prosecutor Award, and the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Ensuring the Integrity of Government. Most recently, Michael was honored with the Henry L. Stimson Medal, awarded by the New York City Bar to outstanding Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Michael completed clerkships for the Honorable Michael Chertoff of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and for the Honorable John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Michael graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School, where he was Managing Editor of the Stanford Law Review, Perspectives Editor of the Stanford Technology Law Review, and a member of the Moot Court Board. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Boston College.