White Collar Defense, Public Corruption & Investigations

Dedicated, Smart, and Unrelenting

We stand ready to navigate the treacherous waters of an investigation, fend off charges, negotiate a favorable resolution, or battle through trial. We have a proven track record of resolving countless matters without prosecution, litigation, or publicity for individuals, private entities, and public institutions.

How We Serve Clients

With a combined 120+ years of experience, the McNees White Collar Defense, Public Corruption & Investigations team will vigorously defend our clients in court. We also know when our clients’ best interests are served by negotiating resolutions or settlements, and we have the crucial relationships to procure those agreements. Because clients often face legal challenges on multiple fronts — criminal, regulatory, and civil (sometimes simultaneously) — our experience with licensing boards and other regulatory bodies in parallel investigations is an added benefit.

Led by Sarah Hyser-Staub, our team of career criminal defense attorneys and seasoned trial lawyers has the skills, resources, and experience to handle the full range of clients’ challenges. Karl has more than 40 years of trial experience in federal and state courts involving high profile cases. Sarah has a decade of litigation experience, including working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Harrisburg and as a law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Our group also includes James T. Clancy, the only 30-year former federal prosecutor practicing criminal defense in the central Pennsylvania region. Drew Crompton, a former Commonwealth Court judge with nearly 30 years of experience in all three branches of Pennsylvania’s government. James DeAngelo, a veteran trial attorney and Associate General Counsel to McNees lends support in high-profile investigations and ethics matters. Barbara Darkes dedicates her practice to regulatory and compliance matters and helps clients navigate collateral consequences involving professional licensure proceedings. John Arose is a former Dauphin County Public Defender who also has experience handling federal criminal matters through the court’s Criminal Justice Act panel. Courtney Wentzel is a tax and Orphans’ Court litigator who provides associate support to the team.

Our group has deep and diverse experience. We have handled matters arising in all jurisdictions where McNees attorneys practice law, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland.   

High profile investigations often have a public messaging component. We partner with Apollo Communications to offer clients an integrated team with comprehensive solutions to even the most complex issues. Apollo’s strategic public relations professionals are available to guide clients in responding to media inquiries, managing social media and reputational needs, and navigating all aspects of crisis communications.

State/Federal Regulatory Investigations and Prosecutions

We combine seasoned investigators and defense attorneys with other McNees professionals who maintain highly regulated industry experience.  Our group assists clients with cases involving:

  • U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
  • Ohio Attorney General’s Office
  • Pennsylvania and Ohio Offices of Inspector General
  • Pennsylvania and Ohio Ethics Commissions
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Pa. DEP)
  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  • Pennsylvania Game Commission
  • Ohio Casino Commission
  • Local Law Enforcement

Public Corruption/Ethics

With offices concentrated in both the Ohio and Pennsylvania state capitols, we have a deep understanding of the complicated world of public corruption. Our team represents public officials subject to investigation or accused of misconduct before state and federal agencies, including the Pennsylvania and Ohio Ethics Commissions. Additionally, we provide guidance and compliance training to associations and municipalities on local and state ethics acts and policies.

Grand Jury Investigations/Subpoenas

Whether it is a state or federal grand jury matter, our team understands the severity and complexity of these situations and the process necessary to achieve positive results.

Title IX Investigations

The world of Title IX compliance is ever-changing and the need for thorough and timely counsel is crucial. We are trained to conduct these investigations, walking clients through the delicate process, assessing possible outcomes, and ensuring impartiality.


When it comes to government and internal investigations, individuals and businesses have many immediate questions and concerns. We have conducted countless internal investigations and guided clients through the most unnerving government inquiries.  Our team will answer your questions and provide quality counsel while minimizing the disruption of business operations.

Tax Fraud

Facing the serious charge of tax fraud is frightening and often, there is very little time between initial contact from the IRS or Department of Revenue and the investigation that follows. Our group is prepared to move quickly and thoroughly to guide you through the process while working tirelessly to protect your interests.

Consumer Protection Defense

Consumer-facing businesses are subject to strict scrutiny and a litany of regulations. Investigations and enforcement actions are often fast paced. Our team has represented numerous entities before the Consumer Protection divisions of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Attorneys General, as well as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Campaign and Election law

Our team has deep experience in all aspects of election law as it applies to local, state, and federal candidates, campaigns, political parties, and political action committees. We have advised clients on ethics matters; lobbying requirements; campaign finance issues; ballot contests and recounts; and voter information pamphlets and campaign communications, among other matters.

The McNees Experience

Our service is enhanced by the support of more than 150 attorneys who are subject matter experts in multiple highly regulated industries.  From investigations touching on labor issues, construction issues, environmental issues, and tax issues, to name a few, we have the expertise and relationships to serve our clients at the high standard of excellence to which we hold ourselves.


Representative Experience

  • Represented a high-profile individual in a national FBI inquiry resulting in no charges filed.
  • Represented a high-profile Ohio official in federal corruption and bribery prosecution.
  • Represented a high-level Pennsylvania agency executive in a state ethics investigation resulting in a finding of no violation.
  • Represented individuals in a grand jury investigation into hazing resulting in no charges filed.
  • Led an internal investigation of Title IX issues involving a collegiate sports team.
  • Represented a large government contractor in connection with a multi-state federal antitrust investigation.
  • Led an internal investigation related to potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) by a global healthcare company.
  • Served as lead counsel for a group of physicians’ offices in a federal criminal investigation involving identity theft and income tax fraud.
  • Represented defense contractor in Qui Tam action.
  • Represented at trial a well-regarded criminal defense lawyer resulting in a no liability verdict.
  • Defended car dealers and other consumer industry businesses against civil complaints filed by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
  • Counseled and defended multiple professionally licensed individuals and businesses (accountants, architects, engineers, nurses, pharmacists, vehicle dealers, vehicle salespersons, et cetera) under investigation by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs from initial investigation through trial.



Related Practices/Industries