A former Assistant United States Attorney, Mike Robotti uses his strong prosecutorial background to handle internal and government investigations, white collar defense and complex litigation. Mike counsels corporations and individuals across a range of industries against allegations of misconduct, including money laundering, securities fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) violations and other financial crimes. He serves as Co-Leader of the firm's Anti-Money Laundering Team.
Mike is a lawyer who advises financial institutions and businesses on their anti-money laundering (AML) obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), as well as other compliance requirements, with a particular focus on issues involving cannabis, cryptocurrency and anti-corruption. Mike has authored several articles and spoken on several panels regarding these topics. Mike also is a regular contributor to Money Laundering Watch, Ballard Spahr's blog devoted to criminal and regulatory money laundering issues.
As a member of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for nearly eight years, Mike served as deputy chief of the International Narcotics & Money Laundering section and as senior trial counsel for the Business and Securities Fraud section. Mike was a member of the trial team that prosecuted Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera—the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, the world’s largest drug cartel. For his work on that case, in 2019, he received the Attorney General’s David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service, the Department of Justice’s highest honor. He also led the investigation and prosecution of Genaro García Luna, a former Mexican cabinet official, who allegedly protected the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for bribes.
Representative Matters in Private Practice
- Representation of large financial institution in DOJ investigation into AML program.
- Representation of technology company in SEC and DOJ securities fraud investigation.
- Pool counsel for employees of three large financial institutions in separate internal investigations in response to SEC inquiries.
- Pool counsel for employees of large private equity fund in internal investigation in response to SEC inquiry.
- Representation of accounting firm in internal review of compliance policies and procedures.
- Representation of large financial institution in response to SEC subpoena.
- Representation of two technology companies in separate internal investigations related to theft of trade secrets.
- Pro bono representation of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP before the North Carolina Supreme Court in Hoke County Board of Education v. State of North Carolina (Leandro), successfully challenging the State’s failure to provide at-risk students a sound basic education as required by the North Carolina Constitution.
Representative Matters at U.S. Attorney's Office
Prior to joining the firm, Mike was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, where he investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of criminal cases. The following examples are representative of his experience as a federal prosecutor.
- United States v. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera: Prosecutor on three-month federal trial of drug kingpin and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, the world’s largest drug cartel, who was convicted of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, multiple drug conspiracy offenses, firearms offenses, and money laundering. One of the primary authors of the government’s brief on appeal, which resulted in Guzman Loera’s conviction being affirmed unanimously.
- Corporate Compliance Investigations: Lead prosecutor on investigations into several large corporations for their alleged failure to maintain adequate corporate compliance programs, including the failure to maintain an adequate anti-money laundering program under the BSA and the failure to maintain an adequate anti-diversion program under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
- United States v. Rivera, et al. Prosecutor on three-month federal trial that led to the conviction of the two leaders of a Brooklyn-based gang known as TF Mafia for racketeering, involving predicate acts of murder, sex trafficking, sex trafficking of children, interstate prostitution, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, witness tampering, and firearms charges, among other substantive charges.
- United States v. Garcia Luna: Lead prosecutor on the team prosecuting Genaro Garcia Luna, the former Mexican Secretary of Public Security, a cabinet-level official charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise for providing protection to the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes.
- United States v. Lambus: Lead prosecutor on the investigation that dismantled a Queens-based gang known as POV City, which led to the conviction of 10 gang members on drug trafficking charges; successfully argued the government’s interlocutory appeal of the district court’s wiretap suppression order.
Pro Bono Experience
Hon. Reena Raggi, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, September 2012 – September 2013
Hon. Allyne R. Ross, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, October 2010 - September 2011
Criminal Justice Act Panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Criminal Justice Act Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
LGBT Bar Association of New York, Member
The National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, Member
Federal Bar Council, Member
New York City Bar Association, Member, LGBTQ Rights Committee
Recognition & Accomplishments
Attorney General’s David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service, 2019 (DOJ’s highest honor)
Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Director’s Award, 2020
Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Award, 2019
True American Hero Award, 2019
Executive Office of the United States Attorneys Director’s Award for Superior Performance, 2018
"Up-in-Smoke: A Cannabis Industry Guide to Managing Regulatory and Banking Relationships," Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS)
"State of Cannabis: Understanding the Regulatory and Enforcement Framework in the U.S. and Canada," Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS)
Panelist, “The Legal Marijuana Industry: An Update on Federal Policy Reform,” Kahner Global Cannabis Private Investment Summit
Presenter, “FinCEN’s Proposed AML Regulations for the Real Estate Industry,” Real Estate Services Providers Council
Presenter, “Compliance and the New York Cannabis Market,” West LegalEdcenter
Guest Lecturer, "United States v. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera," New York University School of Law
Co-author, "Do NY's Cannabis Marketing Regs Violate 1st Amendment?" Law360, July 2022
Co-author, “Real Estate and Money Laundering: FinCen Issues Advanced Notice of Regulations for the Real Estate Industry,” The Real Estate Finance Journal, Spring 2022
Co-author, “Smoke & Mirrors: The New York Cannabis Law’s Illusory Lease Mandate,” Business Crimes Bulletin, November 2021
Co-author, “Joint Defense: The Need for Prospective New York Cannabis Companies to Implement Strong Compliance Programs Now,” New York Law Journal, October 2021
Co-author, “Joint Defense: Steps Cannabis Companies Can Take Now to Protect Themselves against Criminal Enforcement Actions in the New York Cannabis Market,” New York Law Journal, October 2021
New York University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2008)
Order of the Coif
Florence Allen Scholar
Boston College (B.A., summa cum laude, 2004)
Arts & Sciences Honors Program
Political Science Honors Program
Highest Distinction in Major
Supreme Court of the United States
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York