Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

It feels cool to be named one of the Top 25 attorneys in Charlotte (of any kind), and oen of the Top 100 attorneys in all of North Carolina of (of any kind) by Super Lawyers.

I have written this before, but what I like about the Charlotte legal community is that it is a merit-based town.  If you’re good, you prosper.  There are other towns in the Southeast where it matters more what your name or pedigree is.

In 1994, when I decided to hang my own shingle and try to be a criminal defense lawyer, I called the prominent defense lawyers in town and asked to pick their brains.  Every single one of them — Eben Rawls, Theo Nixon, Jim Cooney, Harold Bender, Jim Gronquist and others — graciously met with me and answered all my basic questions.

So nowadays I am trying to be a good mentor to the younger crop of criminal defense lawyers in Charlotte, who are tackling the task of defending the Constitution one client at a time.



And here’s the legalese we have to post when we are named:

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.)


Back in the pandemic summer of 2020, we longtime criminal defense lawyers quietly wondered how long it would take for a wave of federal PPP loan fraud investigations to arrive. Now that tide is coming in. Federal agents from the Small Business Administration and the Secret Service are in Greater Charlotte knocking on doors of small and medium-sized business owners.

The laws and rules of the PPP Loan program under the CARES Act were hastily written (by necessity) and were changed midstream (also by necessity). Proof of loan fraud usually requires specific intent – that the borrower knew he or she was breaking the law when the application was submitted, or when the funds were used for a particular (unapproved) purpose.

Good faith mistakes are not a crime.

We often hear people say, “But if I get a lawyer won’t the police think that means I’m guilty?” I have a long speech why that mindset is just wrong. But let’s try this: in what other situation would you freely talk to a stranger who knocked on your door and asked to come into your home and pummel you with questions about something you did two years ago, without letting you re-group and look at underlying documents?

Good businessmen and women wouldn’t do that, but somehow a federal badge jars loose common sense. So remember this: the 5th Amendment is your right and your friend.

Plus, federal prosecutors seem to be charging people with making false statements to federal investigators more these days, in addition to or instead of the underlying crime that was being investigated. I wish more businessmen and women would politely but firmly decline to answer questions out of the blue.

But of course, if this happened, I might be out of a job, I guess.
All right, thanks for letting me vent. Back to work…