Nathan J. Hochman, the former head 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. He represents individuals and organizations involved as targets, subjects, or witnesses in state and federal criminal investigations and related grand jury and pre-trial proceedings, conducts internal investigations, and handles complex civil litigation, arbitrations, trials, and appeals.
Over the past five years, Nathan has achieved notable successes representing clients throughout the world in connection with the US government’s ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute US taxpayers, intermediaries (e.g., bankers, lawyers, accountants), and foreign banks for unreported offshore income and accounts. He has assisted scores of clients with unreported foreign bank accounts in successfully entering and completing the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative program that commenced in 2009. That program offers taxpayers with such unreported offshore accounts lower civil penalties and the potential for criminal amnesty. He has additionally represented intermediaries who have facilitated alleged offshore tax evasion and have been targeted for criminal prosecution by the US Department of Justice’s Tax Division and US Attorney Offices. With respect to foreign banks and in connection with the Department of Justice’s amnesty program for Swiss Banks announced on Aug. 29, 2013, he has represented Swiss banks, acting as counsel and separately as an “independent examiner” of the Swiss bank’s compliance with the requirements of the program.
Notably in 2013 and 2014, Nathan represented US taxpayers who had each been criminally investigated and prosecuted by the Department of Justice for offshore felony tax or bank secrecy act offenses. Each case involved hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars of unreported foreign bank accounts. In each instance, he successfully convinced the US district judges to sentence each client to a term of probation and no imprisonment.
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.
Nathan was previously the Assistant Attorney General for US Department of Justice’s Tax Division. As head of the Tax Division, Nathan oversaw the nation’s largest tax litigation division with over 350 lawyers enforcing federal tax laws through criminal, civil, and appellate litigation in every federal district in the country.
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 7 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 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.
Won dismissal of all criminal charges on Aug. 20, 2014, against a prominent southern California philanthropist, George Molsbarger, in a $50 million Internet sports betting and enterprise corruption case brought by the District Attorney’s Office for Queens County, N.Y. The indictment was originally unsealed on Oct. 25, 2012, and charged Mr. Molsbarger, along with 24 other defendants, with enterprise corruption, promoting sports betting over the Internet, money laundering and conspiracy. The indictment, which as the government acknowledged at the time was not evidence, set forth allegations of a nationwide and international sports betting operation that used the Internet and brought in over $50 million in 18 months from bettors throughout the United States. Mr. Molsbarger was looking at a potential jail sentence of 25 years under the indictment
United States v. Sherman Mazur — Represented the lead defendant in a $30 million stock manipulation indictment. Obtained a full dismissal of all charges against Mazur and eight co-defendants prior to trial through motion to suppress wiretap evidence
United States v. Mary Estelle Curran — Represented widow who pleaded guilty to concealing $43 million from IRS in offshore accounts. Co-authored sentencing memo that resulted in the United States District Judge imposing a sentence of five seconds of probation and chastising government for bringing the case
United States v. Howard Berger — Represented businessman charged with multiple counts of tax fraud, obstructing an IRS audit and lying to IRS agents. A jury trial in federal court resulted in not-guilty verdicts on all counts after less than an hour of jury deliberations
Metabolife investigation — 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
Fortune 500 subsidiary investigation — Represented Fortune 500 subsidiary in complex criminal and civil FBI/FEMA investigation, resulting in no criminal charges or civil case being filed
HUD loan investigation — 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
Pellicano investigation — Represented individual 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)
Ranked, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, California, (2017–2018)
Listed, The Legal 500 US (2016)
Listed, Best Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White Collar (2011–2018)
Listed, Super Lawyers, Southern California, Criminal Defense: White Collar (2012–2014)
Listed, Who’s Who in America (2009–2014)
Listed, Who’s Who in American Law (2009, 2011, 2014)
Listed, Who’s Who in American Politics (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014)
Listed, Who’s Who in the West (2011–2014)
Listed, 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, Los Angeles City Ethics Commission
Board of Visitors, Stanford Law School (former)
Executive cabinet member, Los Angeles United Jewish Fund Legal Division and Young Adult Division (1990–2007)
Executive Board and Board of Directors, Brandeis-Bardin Institute
Executive Board, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
Board of Governors, Cedar Sinai Medical Center
Board of Directors, Jewish Community Foundation
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
Founding Los Angeles member, Wexner Heritage Foundation
Lawyer participant, Constitutional Rights 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