Mr. Russell’s practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense and complex commercial litigation. He has handled business litigation for telecommunication providers, engineering firms, insurance companies, and oil and gas companies.
Mr. Russell has conducted internal investigations for, and otherwise represented, numerous public and private companies and their boards and committees. For these clients, he has handled matters such as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, corporate and accounting fraud, securities fraud, health care fraud, environmental violations, tax fraud, lending practice violations, and public corruption. Mr. Russell also represents executives and directors of such entities.
Mr. Russell regularly represents clients in court and before the United States Department of Justice, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Oklahoma Securities Department, and other federal and state agencies.
As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Russell personally investigated, charged, and tried to verdict a wide range of white-collar crimes, including securities fraud, corporate and accounting fraud, public corruption, tax fraud, health care fraud, and money laundering. Mr. Russell was the Appellate Coordinator for the Criminal Division from 1998 through 2000. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Mr. Russell was a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s Tax Division in Washington, D.C.
As a defense attorney, Mr. Russell has obtained favorable rulings for many of his clients. For example, in 2005, Mr. Russell obtained an acquittal for a client in the Eastern District of Virginia in a fraud-against-the-government case. In 2006, Mr. Russell successfully represented the former chairman of an insurance company and third-party administrator charged with health-care fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
In 2010, Mr. Russell defended a retired bank president on charges of conspiracy and misapplication of bank funds. The jury acquitted the former president on two of the three conspiracy charges and the only count of misapplication of bank funds. Mr. Russell successfully advocated for a reduction in the federal guideline sentence from a potential of 46 months’ imprisonment to a sentence of probation on the only remaining count. In addition, Mr. Russell successfully reduced the restitution requested by the government from approximately $1.2 million to $100,000.
In 2012, Mr. Russell was co-lead defense counsel for Continental Resources, Inc., a publicly-traded oil and gas company, which was charged with a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in federal court in North Dakota. The district court’s opinion dismissing the criminal charges against Continental has been relied upon by many previously-convicted companies to obtain post-conviction relief from sentences for similar violations.
In addition to these cases, Mr. Russell is regularly involved in high-profile and complex criminal and civil litigations. In many white-collar criminal cases, a victory before indictment is often confidential, and the public is never aware of the case. In the past several years, Mr. Russell has led the defense of eight cases in which the government declined to initiate criminal proceedings, notwithstanding the threat to do so. Half of the cases involved potential violations of federal criminal tax laws. The other cases involved potential federal False Claims Act, wire fraud, and money laundering violations. At the state court level, two cases declined by the state involved potential drug distribution charges.