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Maria is a fiercely compassionate lawyer with more than two decades of experience. She specializes in complex litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and quasi-criminal matters in the United States and abroad.
Since joining the firm in 1996, Maria has worked tirelessly in some of the largest, world-wide investigations and cases tried in some of the most aggressive federal districts. Alongside Roy Black, she has stood as the last line of defense for Fortune Global 500 companies, multi-national conglomerates, CEOs and other senior executives, public officials, and private individuals.
Maria has earned the trust and respect of her peers for her integrity and absolute dedication. Maria is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. She has been recognized repeatedly as a leader by Chambers and Partners in the field of White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations and has been named in Best Lawyers in America and is a Florida Super Lawyer.
Maria’s greatest honor and privilege remains to lead and serve her clients.
Select BSKS Experience
- Aggressively investigated and successfully defended false and frivolous sexual assault claims against multiple clients, including a multinational conglomerate.
- Represented the CEO of a publicly-traded, specialty finance company in connection to one of the largest and first-of-its kind, federal grand jury investigations in the investigating district. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined prosecution and the ensuing civil and SEC matters settled.
- As co-counsel, successfully defended a day trader from prosecution for tax offenses stemming from inaccurate reporting by a brokerage clearinghouse. The client had been represented by prior counsel without resolution.
- Successfully completed an internal investigation of a vending machine company entangled in a nationwide, multi-agency operation against business opportunities, and presented findings to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Consumer Branch Division, which resulted in a resolution of the case for the successor company and the non-prosecution of the individual clients.
- Maria managed the day-to-day preparation for one of the most complex financial crimes charged in the Southern District of New York, involving interest only strips, the Libor rate, and hedging strategies. This included supervising the review of the more than 3 million pages of discovery produced to the government by 33 different sources. Maria assisted with the creation of a trial database used to prepare for the cross-examination of 95 prospective government witnesses. She identified more than 347 potential defense exhibits to be compiled, 112 defense fact and character witnesses to be interviewed, and worked closely with various consultants and experts in formulating the defense strategy. The client received a 4-year sentence following the government’s pursuit of a 27-34 year sentence.
- After uncovering misconduct by the lead case agent, the government agreed to forego criminal charges against the founder of a global ministry.
- Joining partners Roy Black, Scott Kornspan and Mark Shapiro, in addition to outside co-counsel, Maria proved instrumental in securing a full declination of all criminal charges for the world’s second largest, publicly-traded employer under investigation for 800 RICO Act violations and fraud by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office.
- Along with co-counsel, obtained an administrative stay, warding off the emergency suspension of a regulated business in a case involving one of the nation’s largest wholesale pharmaceutical distributors whose owners were charged in a massive, 286-count indictment alleging nine schemes. The administrative stay was granted while simultaneously preparing for the megatrial.
- Bargained reduced charges for the spouse of a former Florida State Senator, who was prosecuted as a co-conspirator in a $15-million Medicare fraud case. Felony charges were reduced to a single misdemeanor with no jail time, permitting the spouse to remain as special caretaker.
- Served as co-counsel in the tax evasion case of internationally renowned artist Peter Max. Two days before opening statements in Mr. Max’s conspiracy and tax fraud case, a plea agreement was struck, allowing Mr. Max to serve two months in work-release, perform community service, and pay a $30,000 fine. Mr. Max faced a maximum 10 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.
- Represented numerous business executives, including former WorldCom CFO, Scott D. Sullivan, and Robert Perlmutter, the founder of the nationwide chain Pearl's Arts & Crafts. Both Messieurs Sullivan and Perlmutter’s cases resulted in significantly reduced charges and sentences, allowing them to reunite with their families and resume their normal lives.
Awards and Recognition
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Chambers & Partners Legal Guide, Florida Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2017-2019
- "Best Lawyers," U.S. News Best Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2014-2020; Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar/General Practice, 2014-2020
- "Florida Legal Elite," Florida Trend, 2015, 2018
- "Super Lawyer," Florida Super Lawyers, 2013-2019
- Best Lawyers Business Edition, Criminal Defense: General Practice, 2016
- Florida, 1996
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 2014
- Pro hac vice admissions in various U.S. District Courts
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- American Bar Association
- Florida Trial Lawyer’s Association
- Miami-Dade County Bar Association
- French (proficient)