Sharon L. McCarthy, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has extensive experience representing individuals and corporations in white-collar criminal matters as well as civil and criminal tax controversies. Her cases have included government investigations of:
- tax fraud;
- mail and wire fraud, including theft of honest services;
- accounting fraud;
- failure to file tax returns;
- antitrust violations;
- securities fraud, including insider trading and market manipulation;
- bank fraud;
- construction fraud relating to Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification; and
- attorney misconduct.
Ms. McCarthy also conducts sensitive internal investigations for corporate and institutional clients either facing potential criminal charges or whose officers or employees have engaged in misconduct. She has represented individuals who have been implicated, but not charged, in connection with recent major public corruption cases.
Ms. McCarthy assists clients in voluntarily disclosing off-shore assets and has successfully represented numerous clients in connection with both IRS and NYS tax audits involving sensitive matters, including undisclosed income and off-shore assets.
In 2013, Ms. McCarthy successfully represented Denis Field, the former CEO of BDO Seidman, in a major tax shelter trial in the Southern District of New York. After he had initially been convicted on all counts, Ms. McCarthy obtained Mr. Field’s acquittal on all counts in a re-trial, in a case described by the government as the largest criminal tax fraud in history.
Ms. McCarthy also has an extensive background in public service. In 2011, she was appointed by the New York City Police Commissioner to the Crime Reporting Review Committee, whose report was issued in April 2013. From May 2008 to March 2009, she served as Special Counsel to the New York State Attorney General in an investigation into whether there had been political interference with the New York State Police. From 1994 to 2006, Ms. McCarthy served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she served as lead counsel and supervisor of dozens of federal criminal jury trials and argued numerous appeals before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. While in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. McCarthy served as Chief of the Violent Crimes Unit and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and served in the Public Corruption Unit. Ms. McCarthy was the recipient of the Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney in both 1996 and 1999.
Prior to her service in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. McCarthy was an Associate at Lankler Siffert & Wohl and served as a Law Clerk to Judge John F. Keenan, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
Ms. McCarthy is actively involved in various professional associations. She is the immediate past President, and first woman to serve in that capacity, of the Fordham Law Alumni Association, the Vice Chair of the Federal Criminal Procedure Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of its Downstate New York Committee, and a member of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers. For over ten years, until September 2019, she was a member of the First Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness. From 2017-2018, she served as Vice President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and from 2012-2015, she was Chair of the City Bar’s Criminal Law Committee.
She has been recognized in Chambers USA 2019. Since 2009, she has been recognized by “New York Super Lawyers” in the field of white-collar criminal defense. Since 2011, Ms. McCarthy has been listed in Best Lawyers in America. She is AV Rated in Martindale-Hubbell.
Ms. McCarthy is a 1989 graduate of Fordham Law School, where she served as an Articles Editor on the Fordham Law Review. She received a B.A. in 1985 from Colgate University.
Sharon L. McCarthy Representative Matters
- Obtained acquittal of Denis Field, former CEO of BDO Seidman, in a major tax shelter trial in the Southern District of New York.
- Represented Andrew Davenport at sentencing in the Southern District of New York after he was convicted by a jury of honest services fraud related to his company’s relationship with Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Despite facing a possible sentence of 8 to 10 years, we were able to achieve a sentence of a year and a day.
- Representation of former foreign exchange trader for a major financial institution in connection with investigations by the Department of Justice’s Fraud and Antitrust Divisions.
- Representation of the CFO of a public company in connection with a multi-year DOJ and SEC investigation into alleged materially misleading statements and omissions related to a public contract. Achieved a negligence-based settlement.
- Representation of garment industry manufacturer in connection with federal investigation into payroll, corporate, and personal tax evasion involving millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. Successfully obtained a probationary sentence.
- Representation of sole shareholder of Subchapter S corporation in federal tax fraud investigation, resulting in corporate plea with no charges against the individual.
- Representation of commodities trader in connection with fraud investigation by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the New York County District Attorney's Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
- Representation of dozens of holders of foreign bank accounts in connection with voluntary disclosures before the Internal Revenue Service (criminal investigation and civil audit) and numerous state taxing authorities.
Background and Experience
Special Counsel to the Attorney General for the New York State Police Investigation, Office of the New York State Attorney General
(May 2008 – March 2009)
Served as lead counsel in an investigation into whether there had been political interference with the New York State Police. Supervised a team of attorneys and investigators.
Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (1994 – 2006)
Extensive experience as lead counsel and supervisor of numerous federal criminal jury trials, hearings, evidentiary hearings, oral arguments, plea proceedings, and sentencings. Briefed and argued numerous appeals before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Chief, Violent Crimes Unit
(July 2002 to September 2006)
Deputy Chief, Criminal Division
(January 2001 to July 2002)
- Honors: Recipient, Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney (1996 and 1999)
- Chief, Violent Crimes Unit
- Associate, Lankler Siffert & Wohl (1991-1994)
Law Clerk, Honorable John F. Keenan
United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York (1989 - 1991)
Awards and Recognitions
- Ms. McCarthy is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers
- Ms. McCarthy has been recognized in Chambers USA 2019
- Ms. McCarthy has been recognized by "New York Super Lawyers" in the field of white-collar criminal defense since 2009
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating
- Ms. McCarthy has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2011
- Ms. McCarthy is a recipient of the Fordham Law School Ferrick Center for Social Justice's Spirit of Service Award
- Panelist, The Life-Cycle of a Criminal Tax Case, 3rd Annual Criminal Tax Day, New Haven, Connecticut, May 2019
- Presenter, Explaining the Wells Fargo Scandal, Financial Managers Society Meeting, Hackensack, New Jersey, February 2017
- Panelist, The World Keeps Turning: Where We Are Now with Offshore Investigations, ABA 33rd Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and 6th Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 2016.
- Speaker, The Criminal Tax Workshop, ABA 33rd Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and 6th Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 2016.
- Presenter, Ethical Considerations for Tax Professionals, Zicklin Tax Seminar at Baruch College, New York, New York, December 2016
- Presenter, Problems for Future Litigation, Current Issues in Federal Criminal Tax, New York, New York, October 2016.
- Presenter, Ethics for the Tax Professional, NYCLA U.S. Tax Court Pro Bono Program, June 2016
- Panelist, Ask the Experts: Top Tips in Criminal Tax Cases, ABA Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversy Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 2015
- Panelist, Negotiating Effective Non-Prosecution and Deferred Prosecution Agreements, AFDA Live Video Webinar, August 2015
- Panelist, Ask the Experts: Top Tips in Criminal Tax Cases, ABA Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversy Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 2014
- Panelist, Lessons from Recent Trials, New York City Bar Association, White Collar Conference, May 2014
- Panelist, Ask the Experts: Top Criminal Tax Practice Tips and Representation Strategies, ABA Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversy Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 2013
- Panelist, The Use of Social Media in Criminal Trials: Ethical & Practical Considerations, New York City Bar Association, November 2013
- Panelist, “Cross Examination of the Cooperating Witness and Working with Co-Counsel in the Multi—Defendant Case,” New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Cross to Kill 2013
- Panelist, “Mind Games: Challenging Intent, Winning the Case,” National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Annual Defending the White Collar Case – In and Out of Court (Fordham Law School, September 2011)
- Lectured newly admitted attorneys in the First Department on civility, professionalism, and pro bono work (2010)
- Panel member, Human Trafficking, International Rescue Committee, April 2004
- Panel member, Dealing with Cooperating Witnesses, New York Council of Defense Lawyers, November 2004
- Panel member, Women in Criminal Law, New York County Lawyers’ Association, December 2003
- Panel member, Sentencing Guidelines post-Apprendi, New York City Bar, March 2002
- Lectured at the National Advocacy Center on the use of the RICO and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering statutes in prosecuting violent criminal enterprises
- Instructed Assistant United States Attorneys in witness preparation and trial practice
- Member, Judiciary Committee, New York City Bar Association (2019 - Present)
- Vice Chair, Federal Criminal Procedure Committee, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Board Member, Fordham Law Alumni Association
- President (2016 - 2018)
- First Vice President (2014 - 2016)
- Vice President, New York City Bar Association (2017-2018)
- Chair, Criminal Law Committee, New York City Bar Association (2012 - 2015)
- Member, Archdiocese of New York Advisory Review Board
- Member, Committee on White Collar Litigation, New York State Bar Association
- Member, New York Council of Defense Lawyers
- Appointed by New York City Police Commissioner to the Crime Reporting Review Committee - Report issued in April 2013