Gretchen L. Gurstelle

Tel 612.371.3537
Fax 612.371.3207

Gretchen Gurstelle is a skilled advocate and litigator with experience trying cases to juries and judges in federal and state court. Gretchen's practice focuses on commercial litigation as well as government and internal investigations.

In her commercial litigation practice, Gretchen represents financial institutions serving as corporate trustees and other interested parties in corporate trust and structured products litigation, as well as trust instruction proceedings, creditor-rights litigation, receiverships, and foreclosures. Gretchen also counsels financial institution clients on their obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act. She is a frequent contributor to Money Laundering Watch, Ballard Spahr's blog focused exclusively on money laundering issues. Gretchen also regularly represents companies in complex contract disputes, insurance coverage disputes, and False Claims Act cases.

In her government and internal investigations practice, Gretchen guides clients through all stages of civil, criminal, and regulatory proceedings, from responding to government investigations and conducting internal investigations, to negotiating with government representatives, and litigating any resulting claims or charges. In her white-collar defense practice, she has represented clients facing allegations of federal mail and wire fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, money laundering, theft, embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, and breach of fiduciary duties.

Gretchen is a member of the Office of the Federal Defender Criminal Justice Act panel for the District of Minnesota. She served as a Special Assistant Public Defender in both Hennepin County and Ramsey County, Minnesota. She also served as a clerk for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota.

Representative Matters

Commercial Litigation

  • Representation of indenture trustees in bond defaults and trust instruction proceedings involving nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities, charter schools, private colleges, casinos, and mixed-use real estate developments
  • Representation of protection buyers in disputes involving credit default swaps
  • Represented bank and bank officers in defense of lender liability claims
  • Experience in False Claims Act cases involving Medicare/Medicaid claims, United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Services Agency farm subsidies, and government contract vendors

White Collar Defense/Investigation

  • Successfully resolved a multi-year civil regulatory investigation by the Minnesota Attorney General for a nonprofit organization
  • Represented a residential care facility in a regulatory investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Services resulting in a favorable resolution for the client
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a national governing body of a competitive sport into allegations of inappropriate conduct by a certified coach
  • Conducted an internal investigation into whistleblower allegations raised by a former employee for a Fortune 500 company
  • Represented an in-house accountant in high-profile federal tax fraud prosecution. Participated in extensive negotiations with federal prosecutors, reaching a favorable resolution for the client.
  • Represented a realtor charged in federal mortgage fraud prosecution, achieving a probationary sentence for the client
  • Represented a personal care attendant in connection with a federal investigation into alleged health care fraud. After extensive communications with governmental authorities, no charges were filed against the client.
  • Participated in the representation of a business owner facing federal bank-fraud charges stemming from alleged $80 million Ponzi scheme. Obtained a 53 percent downward departure from the applicable guideline sentence.
  • Co-chaired a jury trial in defense of a client charged with criminal vehicular homicide stemming from a snowmobile collision. The jury acquitted the client on all counts.
  • Represented a client facing federal terrorism charges through jury trial
  • Represented a client facing first-degree homicide charges in North Dakota. Successfully argued contested pretrial motions and jury instructions. Participated in extensive plea negotiations resulting in a favorable plea and sentencing resolution.

Professional Activities

Women's White Collar Defense Association, Chapter Secretary and Chapter Launch Committee

Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Board of Directors, 2014-2019

Federal Bar Association


Frequent contributor to Money Laundering Watch, Ballard Spahr's blog focused exclusively on money laundering issues.

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "Cannabis and the Financial Services Industry," Ballard Spahr webinar, April 10, 2019

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. 2009)

University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.S. 2005)


U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota