Nina Marino

Profile

Nina Marino of Kaplan Marino

Recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top 25 white collar lawyers in California in 2020 and 2021, identified by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of California’s top women attorneys in 2020, and named by the National Law Journal as a Trailblazer for her impact on the legal profession, Nina Marino’s complex litigation and white collar crime practice is national in scope.

Nina regularly negotiates with and litigates against the U.S. Department of Justice, local district attorneys, and other government agencies in her defense of people investigated or charged with matters involving healthcare fraud, international extradition, cybercrime, money laundering, customs violations, tax crimes, Ponzi schemes, public corruption, and regulatory issues involving cryptocurrency.

Personal Commitment to Clients and Non-Traditional Approaches

Right from the start, clients understand that Nina takes their cases as personally as they do. Her presentations to prosecutors introduce new perspectives, compelling context, and workable paths to resolution.

Nina’s unconventional combination of care, integrity, and formidable lawyering has earned her national reputation and recognition. She discovers the shades of gray behind prosecutors’ black-and-white arguments to shine new light on her clients’ circumstances. Her team-driven, meticulously prepared strategies have repeatedly helped clients reach their objectives — from staying out of prison to defending allegations in trial.

Advancing Criminal Defense Law

A prominent member of the criminal defense bar, Nina was recognized for more than 25 years for professional excellence as the recipient of the American Bar Association’s 2017 Charles English Award, the highest national award for work in the field of criminal justice. Nina holds leadership roles on several ABA committees, including as council member for the Criminal Justice Section and founder of the Women in White Collar Subcommittee. In addition, Nina served as the Appointed Chair of the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives for the Central District of California.

A frequent media commentator, author, and speaker, Nina has steered the conversation at numerous national and international conferences on white collar crime and fraud. Her presentation topics range from international criminal investigations and public corruption to unconscious bias in expert testimony and regulatory issues related to virtual currencies.

Legal and Civic Leadership

Nina has championed women’s issues for more than three decades. She has helped change the gender composition of the ABA’s educational programming and is a frequent speaker both domestically and internationally. She is also a regular author of articles and treatises on matters related to criminal law and international extradition.

Nina is the founder of the Criminal Defense Law Section of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) and the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association (WWCDA). In addition, Nina serves on the board of directors of C5LA, which focuses on creating a path to college for underserved youth.

The Los Angeles Daily Journal and Los Angeles Business Journal have repeatedly recognized Nina for her influence and impact on the legal profession, and she is recognized by U.S. News and World Report Best Lawyers’ top practitioners in white collar criminal defense as well as Chambers USA.

Areas of Practice

  • White-Collar Defense
  • Public Corruption
  • International Extradition
  • Tax Fraud
  • Sentencing

 

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

 

Recent Awards and Recognitions

 

Recent Media Mentions

 

Speaking Engagements

2021

  • “Ten Years Later: International White Collar Crime During the Last Decade and What the Future Holds,” ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime, San Francisco, CA
  • “Cryptocurrency and NFT’s” USC Gould School of Law 2022 Tax Institute
  • “White Collar Coffee Conversations” Live from the ABA White Collar Conference, Miami, FL
  • “International Extradition and Mutual Assistance,” ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime, Miami, FL
  • “Her-success-story-founding-partner-nina-marino-joins-ivy-slater-on-her-podcasts-women-leaders-in-law-series” Tune in
  • “Everything You Wanted to Know About Crypto and Criminal Law,” Beverly Hills Bar Association, Virtual Event
  • “Bridge or Bulwark? Using ‘Bridgegate’ to Keep Property Fraud in its Lane,” Women White Collar Defense Association, Watercooler PLUS, Virtual Event

2020

  • “Keeping Prosecutors at Bay: A North American Take on the Dos and Don’ts of Negotiating Corporate Resolutions in Light of Current Enforcement Trends,” 33 Chancery Lane Business Crime Conference 2020, Virtual Event
  • “The Dark Net, Cryptocurrency & Money Laundering,” NACDL Defending Modern Drug Cases Seminar, Virtual
  • “2020 Vision: L.A.’s Top Women Judges Preview the Litigation Landscape and Discuss the Characteristics of Power Litigators for the New Decade,” WLALA 25th Annual Litigators Forum, Los Angeles, CA
  • “Unique Issues in Representing Individuals,” NACDL West Coast White-Collar Crime Conference, Virtual

2019

  • “Through the Looking Glass: A Glimpse at International Criminal Enforcement In 2019,” ABA Southeastern White-Collar Crime Institute, Braselton, CA
  • “The Explosion of Digital Currency and ICO Enforcement Actions – The Current Landscaper and What the Future Holds,” ABA National Institute on White-Collar Crime, New Orleans, LA
  • ” Protecting Your Business Against Cyber Threats, Understanding Cryptocurrency and More,” Thompson Coburn LLC, Beverly Hills, CA

 2018

  • “A View From The Trenches,” Women’s White-Collar Defense Association (WWCDA), Chicago, Ill
  • “Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and the White-Collar Lawyer,” ABA National Institute on White-Collar Crime, San Diego, CA
  • Preparing Witnesses to Testify,” ABA Tax Section, Midyear Meeting, San Diego, CA
  • “Defending Compounding Pharmacy Enforcement Actions,” ABA Criminal Justice Section Midyear Meeting, Vancouver, BC

2017

  • “What Does Real Perseverance Look Like?,” LA Business Journal Women’s Summit, Beverly Hills, CA
  • “A New World Order? Predicting the White-Collar Enforcement Priorities of the New Administration,” NACDL 7th Annual West Coast White-Collar Conference, Santa Monica, CA
  • “Women Leadership in Law,” Daily Journal Professional Education, Beverly Hills, CA
  • “Closing Remarks,” ABA Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency National Institute, New York, NY
  • “When it’s Too Good to be True: Identifying Fraudulent Investments in the New Age of Deregulation,” Lido Consulting 12th Annual Family Office Symposium, Santa Monica, CA
  • “International Bribery” and “International Storytellers Told by Women Leaders in Government,” 31st Annual National Institute on White-Collar Crime, Miami, FL

2016

  • “Closing Remarks,” American Bar Association Fifth International White-Collar Crime Institute, London, UK
  • “Defending High Risk Cases: The Cases Get Bigger and the Risks Get Worse,” ABA National Institute on White-Collar Crime, San Diego, CA
  • “Women Leaders in Criminal Justice,” WLALA, Los Angeles, CA
  • “Closing Remarks,” ABA, 2016 Digital Currency and Block Chain Technology National Institute, Washington, DC

2015

  • “Advising Corporate Clients on International Criminal & Regulatory Investigations,” IIA-ACFE Fall Fraud Conference, Los Angeles, CA
  • “Advising Corporate Clients on International Criminal and Regulatory Investigations FCPA Enforcement and Internal Compliance Programs,” CalCPA Forensic Services Joint Meeting, Los Angeles, CA
  • “Unconscious Bias and Women Experts – Are We Placing Our Clients at A Disadvantage?” and “Crisis Management and Litigation,” ABA Fourth International White-Collar Crime Institute, London, UK
  • “Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currencies: Emerging Issues in Regulations and Enforcement,” ABA National Institute, Washington, DC
  • “The Public Trust: Defending Public Corruption Cases,” NACDL, Fifth Annual West Coast White-Collar Conference, San Diego, CA

2014

  • “Bitcoin or Bit Player? SEC and State Regulators Weigh In,” ABA, Ninth Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud, New Orleans, LA
  • “Up In Smoke: The Tax Consequences of the Legalization of Marijuana,” ABA Live Webinar
  • “Criminal Prosecutions & Investigations: A Comparison of Enforcement Mechanisms, The Use of Investigative Agencies and Cross Border Evidence Sharing,” ABA International White-Collar Crime Institute, London, UK
  • “What Your Clients Don’t Know Can Hurt Them; Hidden Legal Issues for Companies Expanding Internationally,” WLALA, Beverly Hills, CA
  • “Women in White-Collar in Today’s Global Corporate Community,” ABA National Institute on White-Collar Crime, Miami, FL
  • “Virtual Currencies: Bitcoin and the New Currency in Criminal Enterprise,” ABA Criminal Justice Section, Chicago, IL

Commencement Addresses

  • Class of 2018, CSLA, SCU, Northridge, CA
  • Class of 2014, Westwood College, Los Angeles, CA

(Additional presentations available on request)

Select Publications

  • “Opioid trials remind us of importance of Brady rights,” The Daily Journal, May 26, 2021
  • The blame game: opioid litigation in America, The Daily Journal, October 7, 2020
  • Change is Coming, The Daily Journal, June 5, 2020
  • Defending Against International Extradition from the United States, The Champion, Fall 2019
  • “The Dark Side of Bitcoin,” Los Angeles Lawyer, Fall 2018
  • “Wanted By Interpol,” Author, ABA Criminal Justice Magazine, Fall 2015
  • “The Accidental Defendant,” Author, Los Angeles Lawyer, March 2015
  • “Criminal Defense in a Small Firm Setting,” Co-Author (with Richard Kaplan), Careers in Criminal Law, Ellen Brotman, 2010
  • “Defending International Extraditions,” Co-Author, ABA, Criminal Justice Magazine, Winter Issue, 2008
  • The Small Firm Lawyer
  • Orange Is The New Black: InStyle To Inmate

 

Academic Appointments

Advisory Board Member for the UCSB PaCE Extension, Women in Leadership Executive program at University of California Santa Barbara, Professional and Continuing Education 2022 – 2023

Professional Associations and Memberships

Member of the CHIEF network
Member of the Women’s Leadership Council

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Conference Lawyer Representatives

Co-Chair 2017 – 2019
Member 2015 – 2017
Member 2003 – 2007

United States District Court, Central District of California Standing Committee on Discipline

Section Chair, 2012 – 2018

American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section

Council Member, 2019-Present
Board Member, Standards Committee 2017 – Present
Co-Chair Continuing Legal Education Committee 2012-Present
Co-Executive Director, Professional Development Division 2020-2021
Section Officers Conference Liaison, ABA Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education 2016-2017
Founder and Co-Chair, Women in White-Collar Subcommittee 2013 – 2019
Co-Executive Director, Communication, Membership and Services Division 2012 – 2019
Vice Chair Criminal Justice Section Counsel 2009 – 2011
Council Member, Criminal Justice Section 2005 – 2008
Co-Chair, Solo and Small Firm Committee 2007 – 2008
Co-Chair, Defense Function Committee 2001 – 2002
U.S. Attorney Liaison, White-Collar Crime Committee, West Coast Chapter 2000 – 2001

Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles

Founder and Chairperson, Criminal Justice Section 1997 –2019
Board of Governors 1996 – 2019

Women’s White-Collar Defense Association

Founder and City Leader, Los Angeles, 2013 – Present 

C5LA, College In Five

Board of Directors, Los Angeles 2015 – Present

 

Select Representative Matters

Probation Granted Loss over $2M

Family with restaurants in multiple states were raided and arrested for failure to pay taxes by multiple law enforcement agencies including FBI, ICE, INS, IRS and local authorities. All told there were six members accused. After five years of investigation and negotiation, only three of the seven members were charged and pursuant to creative plea negotiation all received probation.

Federal Criminal Case Dismissed

Case involving the illegal importation of 100s of luxury bags worth more than half a million dollars as part of an international scheme in which false customs declarations were submitted in the importation of hundreds of Hermes bags from Europe and Asia, cheating the government out of significant duties. But the case began collapsing once we conducted our own investigation and litigated the actual falsity of the declarations which ultimately challenged the materiality requirement for the false statement regarding the bags’ actual values to Customs, a highly technical issue. We argued that the bags still would have entered the United States even if there were no false statements and thus the crimes, as charged, did not actually occur. On Jan. 26, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California approved the government’s request to fully dismiss its criminal charges, bringing an end to nearly six years of litigation and negotiation.

The case was investigated by multiple government agencies including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Department of Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.

Third Party witness Subpoena Quashed

In the second Avenatti criminal trial in New York wherein Michael Avenatti was accused of stealing money from Stormy Daniels, Avenatti subpoenaed the government forensic expert – John Drum – from the Central District of California criminal trial (in which the defendant had also been accused of stealing from clients) that resulted in a mistrial. We moved to quash the subpoena for both the production of records and sought-after expert testimony. Judge Furman granted the motion to quash agreeing with our argument that the witness testimony had “minimal relevance” and was “largely inadmissible” because the witness analyzed records pertinent to a different case, with different prosecutors, and different victims. In particular, the charts Avenatti submitted made clear that Drum analyzed Avenatti’s firm from 2011 to 2018, whereas the period at issue in the NY case was mid-2018 through mid-2019. Therefore, any probative value of Drum’s analysis was substantially outweighed by risk of prejudice/confusing the issues/wasting time.

Case dismissed

Client was charged with workers compensation fraud for failure to pay workers compensation premiums for his employees. This technical crime alleged losses in excess of half a million dollars. We researched and investigated the issue and presented compelling evidence to the District Attorney. After consideration of that evidence, the LA District Attorney dismissed the case.

Client released from custody and positioned to return to Sweden with upwards of $10M

Our client, a Chinese national living in Sweden, was sought for extradition by both the United States and China for fraud and money laundering offenses. The Swedish Supreme Court denied China’s request for extradition citing China’s humane abuses. However, the Swedish Court did extradite our client to the United States where he faced multiple charges of immigration fraud and money laundering. The money laundering charges stem from conduct occurring in China. The case presented unique challenges due to the underlying conduct investigation taking place exclusively in China. The case was resolved after exposing the litigation risk to the government. The resolution encompassed the client’s immediate release from custody, the agreement of safe passage back to Sweden, and the ability to liquidate US assets valued at more than $30M for which the client will retain half of the proceeds. This case is a current example of the international breath of our white-collar practice.

Client sentenced to Probation

In this 27-count criminal matter in which the District Attorney’s Office viewed our client as one of the main masterminds in an 18-defendant felony insurance fraud scheme, we presented the deficiencies in the case to the District Attorney’s Office, changing the government’s opinion of the client’s role in the overall scheme. A deal was reached wherein the client would pay full restitution and receive probation. Then COVID hit and the client’s business was impacted. The deal was renegotiated so the client could pay part restitution and still receive probation. The initial offer by the District Attorney’s Office was 8 years.

Client sentenced to Probation

Our client was indicted in September 2015 with multiple counts of money laundering, capping, and tax fraud in what the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office described as a “$150M insurance fraud.” http://da.co.la.ca.us/sites/default/files/press/091515_15_Indicted_in_150_Million_Insurance_Fraud_Patient_Scam_Conspiracy.pdf Over the course of the next two years, a series of hearings on motions to dismiss would take place in which we would strategically dismantle the case. Ultimately, all the money laundering counts (10 total), all the capping counts (2 total), and all the tax fraud counts (4 total) were dismissed by the court. Faced with the likelihood of having the final single conspiracy count dismissed, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the case in its entirety only to refile a severely-scaled-down criminal complaint charging only the money laundering and conspiracy counts. After exposing the weaknesses in the prosecution, the case was resolved for a $5,000 restitution payment and two years’ probation.

FBI returns clients property

On March 22, 2021, the FBI raided U.S. Private Vaults, Inc., a private safety deposit box facility in Beverly Hills. Every box owner’s property was seized. 100’s of people were deprived of the rightful ownership of their property. We were contacted by more than 50 individual box owners in connection with the unlawful seizure of their property. We accepted more than a dozen clients. Applying our skills as white collar litigators we filed claims and successfully achieved the return of property for the majority of our clients. The rest are still under review.

Plea deal to one count, sentencing pending

Our client is the highest-ranking administrator indicted in the Varsity Blues college admission scandal. In this RICO, mail and wire fraud case, the client stands charges of serious offenses carrying up to 19 years in prison in what is said to be the largest college admissions scandal ever. Twice we filed motions to dismiss the charges and twice the government has superseded (recharged the case) to prevent dismissal. In the last hearing on our motion to dismiss the Court significantly curtailed the government theories of prosecution and altogether dismissed the property fraud counts. 10 days before trial was scheduled to begin in November 2021, a plea deal was reached wherein Dr. Heinel pled guilty to a single count of wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for June 2022.

 

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1990
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 1990
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1990
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1990
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1996

 

Education

  • University of LaVerne School of Law, California, JD 1989
  • University of Miami, Florida, BA 1985
  • University of London, England, 1984-86