Michael P. Robotti

New York

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, public corruption, 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—including crypto scams and theft—and anti-corruption. Additionally, Mike assists businesses presently seeking to enter New York’s cannabis market with preparing their compliance plans and licensing applications. 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

  • Representation of large financial institution in DOJ investigation into AML program.
  • Pool counsel for employees of large financial institution in internal investigation.
  • Representation of technology company in SEC and DOJ securities fraud investigation.
  • Pro bono representation of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP in Hoke County Board of Education v. State of North Carolina (Leandro), challenging North Carolina’s failure to provide at-risk students a sound basic education as required by the State Constitution.
  • Representation of individual in DOJ grand jury investigation.
  • Representation of multiple companies responding to third-party DOJ subpoenas.
  • Representation of company and multiple individuals in civil RICO lawsuit.
  • Representation of multiple individuals who were the victims of theft of cryptocurrency.

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

Mike devotes his pro bono practice to LGBT issues and advocacy. Mike is a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.

Judicial Clerkships

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

Professional Activities

Criminal Justice Act Panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

LGBT Bar Association of New York, Member

The National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, Member

Federal Bar Council, Member

New York City Bar Association, Member

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

Speaking Engagements

"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


New York

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