Nathan J. Hochman, the former head and Assistant Attorney General of the US Department of Justice’s Tax Division, practices complex civil and criminal litigation, with a focus on white collar criminal defense, tax controversy, securities, and environmental matters. As the deputy chair of the firm’s white collar litigation and government investigations practice, he represents individuals and organizations involved as targets, subjects, witnesses and victims in state and federal criminal and civil investigations, grand jury, pre-trial proceedings and trials, conducts internal investigations, and handles complex civil litigation, arbitrations, trials, and appeals.
Nathan has achieved notable successes throughout the United States and the world representing clients in the US government’s ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute US taxpayers, and intermediaries (e.g., bankers, lawyers, accountants) for unreported offshore income and accounts. He has acted as counsel and an “independent examiner” for Swiss banks under the US Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Program. Through his efforts, over 100 of his clients have successfully entered the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program since 2009, avoiding criminal prosecution and steep penalties and fines. In cases that have proceeded to court, Nathan has obtained sentences well below that recommended by the government; for example, one client was sentenced to “five seconds of probation” after the government argued for 2-3 years in prison in a case involving over $40 million in unreported foreign bank accounts.
Nathan’s practice has spanned from representing the former Sheriff of Los Angeles County in two hotly contested federal criminal obstruction of justice trials to obtaining an acquittal in less than an hour in a federal criminal tax trial involving millions in contested charitable contributions to representing corporations involved in large-scale environmental prosecutions, individuals and companies accused of multi-million dollar Bank Secrecy Act offenses, and the former CEO of a technology company charged with a $98 million conspiracy and wire fraud violations. Nathan is one of the country’s leading experts in white collar criminal defense and tax matters and regularly speaks around the country and world on a wide variety of subjects in these fields. Recently, Nathan has spoken and written in the area of US and global enforcement in the cryptocurrency and blockchain arenas.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Nathan was a partner at another international law firm, where he was chair of the white collar investigations and enforcement practice.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Nathan was in private practice for 11 years in a boutique litigation firm, where he concentrated on representing individuals and organizations in tax controversy litigation, federal and state white collar criminal investigations and litigation, and complex civil litigation.
Before joining the ranks of private practitioners, Nathan served for seven years as an Assistant US Attorney for the Criminal Division of the Central District of California. In that role, Nathan prosecuted over 180 cases in the public corruption and government fraud section, ranging from tax violations, bank fraud, loan fraud, money laundering, and bribery to government program fraud, customs fraud, environmental crimes, arson, narcotics trafficking, bank robbery, alien smuggling, and perjury. He spearheaded the Los Angeles Disaster Fraud Task Force, was the Environmental Crimes Coordinator, tried over 20 jury trials, argued over 20 appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and ran over 30 complex grand jury investigations.
Nathan clerked for United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson in Los Angeles. He has previously been appointed as federal receiver in several cases.
Nathan served as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission for five years, including as its president.
Represented the former Sheriff of Los Angeles County in two federal criminal obstruction of justice trials, obtaining an 11-1 not guilty verdict in the first trial with the second trial’s verdict currently being challenged on appeal
Represented a CEO charged with over $17 million of Bank Secrecy Act violations, securing a sentence of no imprisonment despite the government request for years of jail
Represented a large energy company charged with violations emanating from one of the largest environmental methane releases in the US.
Represented the Fiesta Bowl in investigations conducted by the FBI, IRS, US Attorney’s Office, Arizona State Attorney General’s Office, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, NCAA, BCS, and Federal Election Commission
Represented prominent Southern California businessman and philanthropist in at $50 million Internet sports betting and enterprise corruption case brought by the District Attorney’s Office for Queens County, N.Y., winning pre-trial dismissal of all criminal charges in an over 100 count indictment
Represented the lead defendant in a $30 million stock manipulation indictment, obtaining a full dismissal of all charges prior to trial through motion to suppress wiretap evidence
Represented widow who pleaded guilty to concealing $43 million from IRS in offshore accounts, co-authoring sentencing memo that resulted in imposition of a sentence of “five seconds of probation” and chastising government for bringing the case
Represented investment banker charged with multiple counts of tax fraud involving millions of dollars, obstructing an IRS audit and lying to IRS agents, obtaining full acquittal after a jury trial in federal court resulted in not-guilty verdicts on all counts after less than an hour of jury deliberations
Represented one of the founders of Metabolife in a criminal and civil investigation involving allegedly $90 million tax fraud, resulting in resolution where government conceded over 97 percent of the tax loss
Represented Fortune 500 subsidiary in complex criminal and civil FBI/FEMA investigation involving over $50 million of alleged misrepresentations, obtaining a complete criminal and civil declination from the government
Represented individual accused of more than $5 million in HUD earthquake loan fraud in a criminal, civil, administrative HUD, FBI, IRS investigation, resulting in a one-year probationary sentence, no restitution, no civil case and no debarments
Represented attorney targeted for years by government in celebrity wire-tapping case, resulting in no criminal or civil charges being filed against attorney
United States v. Wesley Snipes — Argued as part of government sentencing team where the district court sentenced Snipes to three years imprisonment on misdemeanor tax convictions
United States v. Texaco, 528 F.3d 703 (9th Cir. 2008) — Argued government’s position on appeal where Ninth Circuit overturned district court’s summary judgment ruling for Texaco and remanded for entry of judgment for the government. The court ruled that the inventory exception in 26 U.S.C. § 1341(b)(2) prevented the company from taking advantage of the favorable tax treatment of Section 1341(a) involving over $100 million.
Kandi v. United States, 2008 US App. LEXIS 20761 (9th Cir. 2008) (unpublished) — Argued government’s position on appeal where Ninth Circuit upheld district court’s granting of summary judgment for the government, concluding that deference was owed to the IRS’ “check the box” regulations for whether an individual and/or his corporation would be responsible for unpaid employment taxes
Palahnuk v. Commissioner, 544 F.3d 471 (2nd Cir. 2008) — Argued government’s position on appeal where Second Circuit affirmed Tax Court ruling for the IRS, holding that the rules governing the calculation of net operating loss for regular tax purposes also apply for the alternative tax net operating loss purposes
United States v. Flowers, 2008 US LEXIS 10943 (9th Cir. 2008) (unpublished) — Argued government’s position on appeal where Ninth Circuit affirmed district court’s sentence that did not include imprisonment, on third government appeal, under deferential abuse of discretion review in criminal tax defier case
United States v. Gardellini, 545 F.3d 1089 (D.C. Cir. 2008) — Argued government’s position on appeal where D.C. Circuit, in a 2-1 split decision, affirmed the district court’s sentence of probation after consideration of 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a) factors in criminal tax case
United States v. Tomko, 05-4997 (3rd Cir. 2009) (en banc) — Argued government’s position on en banc appeal where Third Circuit, in an 8-5 split decision, affirmed district court sentence of home detention in the very home “built by the taxpayers” where original circuit panel vacated sentence as substantively unreasonable
Brown University, 1985, Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude
Stanford Law School, 1988, Juris Doctor
The London School of Economics and Political Science, 1983-1984, Visiting Student
Tokyo University, 1986, Visiting Student
District of Columbia
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
US District Court for the Central District of California
US District Court for the Eastern District of California
US District Court for the Northern District of California
US District Court for the Southern District of California
US Supreme Court
US Tax Court
Clerkship to Judge Stephen V. Wilson of the US District Court for the Central District of California (1988 - 1989)
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Tax, Law360 (2017)
Recommended, Dispute resolution: Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense, The Legal 500 US (2016, 2018)
Ranked, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, California, Chambers USA (2017, 2018)
Recognized, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Los Angeles, The Best Lawyers in America (2011–2019)
Recognized, Southern California, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Super Lawyers (2012–2014)
Recognized, Who’s Who in America (2009–2014)
Recognized, Who’s Who in American Law (2009, 2011, 2014)
Recognized, Who’s Who in American Politics (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014)
Recognized, Who’s Who in the West (2011–2014)
Recognized, Who’s Who in the East (2009, 2010)
Member, California State Bar
Certified specialist in criminal law, California Board of Legal Specialization (2004–2014)
President and Commissioner, Los Angeles City Ethics Commission (2011–2016)
Board of Visitors, Stanford Law School (former)
Executive cabinet member, Los Angeles United Jewish Fund Legal Division and Young Adult Division (1990–2007)
Board of Directors, American Technion Society
Board of Governors, Cedar Sinai Medical Center
Board of Directors, American Jewish University
Board of Directors, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
Co-chair, Legal Division, Los Angeles United Jewish Fund
Executive cabinet member, Los Angeles Jewish Community Relations Committee, Urban Affairs Commission and Government Relations Commission (former)
Founding Los Angeles member, Wexner Heritage Foundation
Recipient, California State Bar Tax Section V. Judson Klein Award (2016)
Recipient, Attorney General’s Medal
Recipient, IRS Chief Counsel’s Award
Recipient, Director’s Award for Superior Performance, US Department of Justice
Recipient, Inspector General’s Award of Excellence
Recipient, Federal Bar Association’s Young Federal Lawyer Award
Recipient, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association’s Prosecutorial Award