James Y. Garrett

Some lawyers practice law. Jim Garrett has made law.

He relishes a legal challenge and never gives up.

In a 36-year career as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, he thrived on finding solutions and developing narratives that resonated with juries.

Take into consideration a ground-breaking case Jim inherited as a new assistant U.S. Attorney in 1979. Jim found during trial prep that the charges in the indictment had a crucial flaw: They were based on a theory of interstate commerce that couldn’t be proven.

Jim uncovered evidence to support a different theory, convinced the judge to give a jury instruction on the new theory, and persuaded the jury that the circumstantial evidence justified a conviction. Routine? Hardly. The conviction ultimately was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in an opinion that expanded the Interstate Commerce Clause.

The determination and resourcefulness exhibited in achieving a groundbreaking conviction in his first case were hallmarks of Jim’s career as a federal prosecutor, in which he handled a succession of challenging criminal investigations and prosecutions.

After a brief pause from the legal industry to explore new avenues as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, Jim returns to his passion of practicing law, proving – once again – that he never gives up.

Practice Areas

  • Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • General Business and Business Litigation

Representative Experience

Jim relies on his vast and varied prosecutorial experience in conducting insightful internal investigations and providing top notch representation for businesses and individuals in white collar matters arising in jurisdictions throughout the country. His experience includes grand jury investigations dealing with allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, bribery, money laundering, public corruption, tax evasion, and a variety of additional offenses, in settings ranging from banking, health care, manufacturing, construction, mergers and acquisitions, mortgage-backed securities and even interstate shipping on domestic waterways. The investigations involved large financial and commercial entities, federal agencies, local governments, investment promoters, professionals and small businesses.

Major cases included:

  • The largest fraud in Western District of Pennsylvania history involving accounting and tax fraud, with subsequent money laundering, resulting in a $685 million loss to financial institutions
  • Investment fraud, including Ponzi scheme and fraudulent tax shelter involving 1,200 victims
  • Health care fraud by various providers and by a hospital administrator,
  • Defense procurement fraud, including a scheme to misuse Navy research funds by officers of a not-for-profit
  • Bribery and corrupt dealings involving public officials,
  • False billing/kickback schemes, including fraud in the post-9/11 Pentagon reconstruction, and a RICO scheme victimizing Pittsburgh hospitals
  • Conspiracies to evade taxes and/or obstruct the operations of the IRS and other government agencies, and schemes to misapply assets and launder funds by business executives and fiduciaries.

Admitted to Practice

  • State Bar of Colorado – authorized to practice temporarily pending admission
  • State Bar of Pennsylvania

Education

  • Swarthmore College
  • The University of Pennsylvania Law School

Honors

  • Senior Litigation Counsel, United States Department of Justice, 2006-2015
  • Director Awards from the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, March 2013 & February 1990
  • Gold Award for Excellence, Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board, May 2012
  • Western District of Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Agency Directors Award for Outstanding Performance, November 2008 & 2006
  • Chief Inspector's Award for Lifetime Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, June 2006