Nathan Hochman is the chair of Bingham's White Collar Investigations and Enforcement Group. He practices complex civil and criminal litigation, with a focus on white collar criminal defense and tax controversy matters. He represents individuals and organizations involved as targets, subjects, or witnesses in state and federal criminal investigations, internal investigations, and related grand jury and pre-trial proceedings, trials, and appeals. He also represents clients in state and federal tax controversy, tax litigation, arbitrations and complex civil matters.
Over the past five years, Nathan has achieved notable successes representing clients throughout the world in connection with the United States government's ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute United States taxpayers, intermediaries (e.g., bankers, lawyers, accountants), and foreign banks for unreported offshore income and accounts. He has assisted scores of clients with unreported foreign bank accounts in successfully entering and completing the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative program that commenced in 2009. That program offers taxpayers with such unreported offshore accounts lower civil penalties and the potential for criminal amnesty. He has additionally represented intermediaries who have facilitated alleged offshore tax evasion and have been targeted for criminal prosecution by the United States Department of Justice's Tax Division and United States Attorney Offices. With respect to foreign banks and in connection with the Department of Justice's amnesty program for Swiss Banks announced on Aug. 29, 2013, he has represented Swiss banks, acting as counsel and separately as an independent examiner of the Swiss bank's compliance with the requirements of the program.
Notably in 2013, Nathan represented three U.S. taxpayers who had each been criminally investigated and prosecuted by the Department of Justice for offshore felony tax or bank secrecy act offenses. Each case involved hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars of unreported foreign bank accounts. In each instance, he successfully convinced the United States district judges to sentence each client to a term of probation and no imprisonment.
Prior to joining the firm, Nathan was the assistant attorney general for the tax division of the U.S. Department of Justice. As head of the Tax Division, Nathan oversaw the nation's largest tax litigation firm with over 350 lawyers enforcing federal tax laws through criminal, civil and appellate litigation in every federal district in the country.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Nathan was in private practice for 11 years in a boutique litigation firm, where he concentrated on representing individuals and organizations in tax controversy litigation, federal and state white collar criminal investigations and litigation, and complex civil litigation.
Before joining the ranks of private practitioners, Nathan served as an assistant United States attorney for the criminal division of the Central District of California. In that role, Nathan prosecuted over 180 cases in the public corruption and government fraud section, ranging from tax violations, bank fraud, loan fraud, money laundering, and bribery to government program fraud, customs fraud, environmental crimes, arson, narcotics trafficking, bank robbery, alien smuggling, and perjury. He spearheaded the Los Angeles Disaster Fraud Task Force, was the environmental crimes coordinator, tried over 20 jury trials, argued over 20 appeals before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and ran over 30 complex grand jury investigations.
Nathan clerked for United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson in Los Angeles. He is a certified specialist in Criminal Law in California and has previously been appointed as federal receiver in several cases. (Certification by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.)
Awards & Honors
• Best Lawyers,Criminal Defense: White Collar (2011-2014)
• Super Lawyers, Southern California, Criminal Defense: White Collar (2012-2013)
• Who's Who in America 2011
•Attorney General's Medal
•IRS Chief Counsel's Award
•Director's Award for Superior Performance, U.S. Department of Justice
•Inspector General's Award of Excellence
•Federal Bar Association's Young Federal Lawyer Award
•Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association's Prosecutorial Award
•Phi Beta Kappa, Brown University
•Featured speaker,Insider Trading, USC Gould School of Law's Corporate Fraud Seminar, Los Angeles (March 2014)
•Panelist,The Tax Man Cometh: Recent Investigations and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), ABA 28th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, Miami (March 2014)
•Speaker,Department of Justice Criminal Tax Roundtable, The 30th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and the Third Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy, Las Vegas (December 2013)
•Panelist,Money & Time: Sentencing Trends in Criminal Tax Cases,Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Philadelphia (November 2013)
•Keynote Speaker,Ethical Issues in Keeping Your Client from a Tax Indictment, New Jersey Lawyers' Continuing Legal Education Program, Fairfield, N.J. (November 2013)
•Speaker,Private Public Partnerships to Combat Tax Evasion and Money Laundering - The U.S. Perspective,Cambridge University 31st International Symposium on Economic Crime, Cambridge, England (September 2013)
•Speaker,FCPA: Compliance and Internal Investigations, Bingham Program, Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, Calif. (March 2013)
•Speaker,Department of Justice Criminal Tax Hot Topics, ABA Tax Section Webinar (March 2013)
•Panelist,Department of Justice Criminal Tax Roundtable, 29th Annual ABA National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, Las Vegas (December 2012)
•Speaker,U.S. Tax Enforcement and the Voluntary Disclosure Process, 28th Annual UCLA Tax Controversy Institute, Los Angeles (October 2012)
•Speaker,Government Investigations: In-house Preparation and Response, Litigation Management Supercourse, Scottsdale, Ariz. (April 2012)
•Speaker,IRS Criminal Investigation Update and Voluntary Disclosures: Still Possible?, 27th Annual UCLA Tax Controversy Institute, Los Angeles (October 2011)
•Speaker,Inter-Hactivism: Wikileaks, Anonymous and the Future of Sensitive Information, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (August 2011)
•Speaker,How to Successfully Defend Yourself, Your Client and Your Company Against a Federal Investigation, Trial and Conviction, Beverly Hills Bar Association, Beverly Hills, Calif. (February 2011)
•Panelist,White-Collar Defense Roundtable,California LawyerMagazine Roundtable, San Francisco (January 2011)
•Panelist,Obtaining and Use of Foreign Evidence at Trial, ABA National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, San Francisco (December 2010)
•Speaker,Understanding International Tax Enforcement Issues in 2010-2011, Knowledge Congress Webcast Series (November 2010)
•Speaker,The CPAs Role in a Criminal Tax Case, California Society of CPAs Hollywood/Beverly Hills Group, Los Angeles (July 2010)
•Speaker,When the Feds Knock on Your Door, Network of Trial Law Firms Conference: A New Decade of Challenges for In-House Counsel, Scottsdale, Ariz. (April 2010)
•Panelist,Developments in Tax Related Money Laundering, Forfeiture and Restitution, ABA 26th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, San Francisco (December 2009)
•Panelist,Ethics: Economic Substance Doctrine's Impact on Tax Planning, California State Bar Taxation Section, San Diego (November 2009)
•Speaker,Referral and Prosecution Declinations: Finally Someone Agrees - It Is Just A Civil Matter, 26th UCLA Annual Tax Controversy Institute, Los Angeles (October 2009)
•Panelist,Role of Tax Intermediaries - OECD Perspectives-Plus, Panelist,Off Shore Compliance Initiatives - Current and Future Trends, University of San Diego School of Law - Procopio International Tax Institute, San Diego (October 2009)
•Panelist,Case Study on Penetration of Financial Institutions in the USA, Cambridge University International Symposium on Economic Crime, Cambridge, England (September 2009)
•Keynote speaker,Tax Enforcement in an Uncertain World, USC Gould School of Law 2009 Tax Institute, Los Angeles (January 2009)
•Panelist,Current Trends in Tax Prosecutions, 29th Advanced Criminal Law Seminar, Aspen, Colo. (January 2009)
•Panelist,Tax Division's Civil and Criminal Enforcement Efforts; Panelist,Diversity; Judge,ABA Tax Law Challenge, ABA Tax Section Meeting, New Orleans (January 2009)
•Panelist,IRS and DOJ Enforcement; Panelist,Obtaining of Evidence Abroad, ABA 25th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, San Francisco (December 2008)
•Keynote speaker,Closing the Tax Gap, Stanford Law & Policy Review Conference, Stanford, Calif. (November 2008)
•Keynote address, Los Angeles County Bar Tax Section and California CPA Society Meeting, Los Angeles (November 2008)
•Panelist,Abuse of Tax-Exempt Organizations; Panelist,Federal Tax Procedure, 2008 Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar and California Tax Policy Conference, San Francisco (November 2008)
•Tax Division's International Civil and Criminal Enforcement Efforts, BNA Tax Management International Tax Meeting, Washington, D.C. (October 2008)
•Keynote address, UCLA 2008 Annual Tax Controversy Institute, Beverly Hills, Calif. (October 2008)
•Panelist,Civil and Criminal Enforcement Actions of the Tax Division, NYU Annual Institute on Federal Taxation, New York (October 2008) and San Diego (November 2008)
•Tax Division's International Civil and Criminal Enforcement Efforts, IRS International Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. (October 2008)
•The Intersection of Death, Taxes, Property and Politics: A Case Study in the Ratification of the SixteenthAmendment, Department of Justice, Constitution Day, Washington, D.C. (September 2008)
•Criminal Tax Enforcement Trends and Techniques, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Senior Leadership Meeting, San Francisco (August 2008)
•Terrorists' Abuse of Non-Governmental Organizations and Charities, FBI/IRS Meeting, Va. (August 2008)
•Current Civil and Criminal Enforcement Trends in Tax Enforcement, IRS Chief Counsel National CLE Conference, Atlanta (August 2008)
•Current Trends in Tax Enforcement, Attorney General's Advisory Committee, Washington, D.C. (June 2008)
•Patterns and Case Studies on Global Corporate Fraud and Misconduct, International Security Management Association Conference, Boston (June 2008)
•Panelist,Civil and Criminal Enforcement Efforts of the Tax Division; Panelist,Conflicts of Interest, ABA Tax Section Meeting, Washington, D.C. (May 2008)
•Department of Justice and Tax Division Honors and Summer Law Intern Program, Boalt Hall, Stanford Law School, UC Davis Law School, USC School of Law, UCLA Law School, and Loyola Law School, Calif. (April 2008)
•Tax Division's Role in Combating Gangs Through Tax Prosecutions, Department of Justice Anti-Gang Coordination Committee, Washington, D.C. (March 2008)
•Tax Division Civil and Criminal Enforcement Efforts, Tax Bar Meeting, Washington, D.C. (March 2008)
•Tax Division Civil and Criminal Enforcement Efforts, Federal Bar Association Tax Law Conference, Washington, D.C. (March 2008)
•Panelist,Criminal Tax Fraud, ABA 22nd Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, Miami. (March 2008)
•Conference of Criminal Chiefs of United States Attorneys' Offices, National Advocacy Center, Columbia, S.C. (February 2008)
•New DOJ Recording Policy a Small Step, Los Angeles Daily Journal(May 30, 2014)
•The Santuary of the Foreign Bank Account Is No More, Government Poised to Strike, San Francisco Daily Journal(Sept. 29, 2011)
•Co-author, Hitting It Out of the Park: How to Win the Barry Bonds Case, Daily Journal(Mar. 24, 2011)
•Lessons From the Crypt: The Wesley Snipes Tax Convictions, Daily Journal(Aug. 12, 2010)
•Everything You Wanted to Know About How to Obtain a Prosecutorial Declination of a Federal Tax Case but Were Afraid to Ask, Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure(December 2009 - January 2010)
•Bye Bye Backdating, Forbes.com
•How to Obtain the Holy Grail in the Criminal Tax World, The Daily Journal(November 3, 2009)
•Co-author, Protecting the FISC, Taxation,A Section of the American Bar Association (2009)
•Tax Defiers and the Tax Gap: Stopping Frivolous Squared Before it Spreads, Stanford Law and Policy Review(2009)
•Cash Received Up Front Isn't Necessarily Taxable Income, Los Angeles Daily Journal(September 2006)
•How the IRS Distinguishes Civil and Criminal Tax Fraud, Los Angeles Lawyers(October 2003)
•Co-author, Form 8300: What Every Trade or Business Operator Should Know, Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure(June-July 2002)
•Co-author, Tax Crimes, BNA Tax Management(1999)
•Not a Good Bet: The Escalation of Federal Enforcement Measures Is Unlikely to Stem the Tide of Offshore Internet Betting, Los Angeles Lawyer(October 1998)
In the News
Hochman, Saunders Achieve Full Acquittal for Client
Sept. 16, 2011 - In a rare defeat for the Department of Justice, partners Nathan Hochman and Dan Saunders achieved a full acquittal at trial for their client Howard H. Berger, a business consultant, on all four criminal charges he faced stemming from his 2006 personal income tax and partnership returns. Berger had been charged with claiming a false deduction for a $1 million charitable donation as well as submitting a false gift letter to the Internal Revenue Service in connection with an audit. He was also charged with lying to IRS agents about whether he had access to the charity's bank accounts and statements. After a four-day trial, the jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning not guilty verdicts on all counts.
The evidence showed that Mr. Berger never signed, authorized or even reviewed his 2006 personal income tax return before it was electronically filed with the IRS, Hochman and Saunders said. The jury's verdict in near-record time demonstrates, as we have argued repeatedly, that this criminal prosecution was meritless and should never have been brought.
Berger never signed the return because four days before it was due in October 2007, his then-four-year-old son was kidnapped from preschool by Berger's ex-wife, who, using false passports, fled the U.S. with their son through five different countries and, ultimately, to her native country of South Africa. This was the second time the ex-wife had kidnapped their son.
Once again, I found myself as a single father fighting for justice and to defend the welfare of my child, Berger said. I attribute my ability to successfully defend myself and my son's welfare to the tremendous talent, passion and hardworking ethics of my defense team, Mr. Hochman and Mr. Saunders.
News of this case was reported by Tax Notes Today, the Santa Monica Patch and the Lookout News.
Hochman Represents Businessman in Tax Case Wyoming Star-Tribune, June 10, 2014 - Partner Nathan Hochman is representing Sonny Pilcher - a Casper, Wyo., businessman who owns three local businesses - in a plea deal on a federal charge related to faulty tax filing. Nathan said Pilcher will enter a guilty plea in connection to a tax-related federal charge in June. In resolving that case, Mr. Pilcher will be accepting full responsibility for his actions and mistakes he made in connection with his tax returns, Nathan said, adding that it's rare for someone to enter a plea agreement so early in a case. [Pilcher] is the kind of person who, if he makes a mistake, stands up and admits to making a mistake, Nathan said. It's all about Mr. Pilcher cooperating with the government's investigation. Pilcher's case is considered criminal, meaning that according to the allegations he purposefully made a mistake on his tax return. Civil cases in this area involved defendants who do not make purposeful mistakes on their returns. Nathan is unsure what punishment Pilcher will face for the offense. We believe that the evidence at sentencing will overwhelmingly show that Mr. Pilcher is a good person who made a mistake on his tax returns, Nathan added.
Hochman Opines on UBS Tax Evasion Case NPR, Jan. 8, 2014 - Raoul Weil has pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped thousands of Americans evade paying their taxes. Weil was one of the top managers at UBS, a Swiss bank that helped nearly 20,000 Americans hide their assets in secret accounts. UBS already agreed to pay a large fine and hand over the names of U.S. account holders and now the Justice Department is prosecuting the man allegedly behind the massive tax fraud scheme. The UBS case sort of broke the dam on foreign bank secrecy, said partner Nathan Hochman. The information that the Internal Revenue Service is going to start getting from foreign banks will be extensive. And U.S. taxpayers won't be able to keep their unreported tax income abroad without fear that the U.S. government is going to find out about it. (Also at Washington, District of Columbia Office)