Lee Vartan is widely recognized as one of New Jersey’s premier criminal defense and trial attorneys. He regularly represents individuals and companies in high-stakes investigations and prosecutions in New Jersey and New York.
He has deep connections in New Jersey – having previously served as a federal prosecutor in Newark; in the governor’s office as counsel to the governor; and, most recently, as the second highest-ranking official in the attorney general’s office, where he had oversight of the largest civil, criminal, and consumer-related investigations and prosecutions in the state. Lee draws upon his experience as a federal and state prosecutor, as well as his many relationships, to consistently achieve outstanding results for his clients. He is also a fierce and accomplished trial lawyer, having successfully prosecuted and defended nearly a dozen criminal jury trials in federal and state courts.
Recent representative matters include:
- The acquittal at trial of the founder of a special needs school in New Jersey charged with first-degree public corruption;
- Steering a multinational artificial turf company through simultaneous investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, several attorneys general, and the New Jersey Legislature, each of which was closed with no findings against the company;
- Representing one of the highest-ranking officials at a state public university in a criminal investigation where the official began as the target, but was proven, by Lee, to be the victim;
- Successfully guiding one of the largest hotel chains in the United States through an investigation by 47 state attorneys general;
- The complete dismissal of a manslaughter case for the son of a former high-ranking official in the New York City mayor’s office after uncovering grand jury abuse and prosecutorial misconduct;
- Winning a gubernatorial pardon and returning to his police department a Morris County police officer who had previously pleaded guilty to an offense that included a lifetime ban on serving as an officer;
- Successfully navigating several witnesses through the “Bridgegate” prosecution spearheaded by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey; and
- Representing a defendant charged in a $50 million federal healthcare fraud prosecution.
In addition, Lee has active matters with U.S. Attorney’s Offices in New Jersey and New York; the Securities and Exchange Commission; attorneys general across the country; the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners; the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office; and various county prosecutors in New Jersey and New York.
Because of Lee’s extensive trial experience in both federal and state courts, he also maintains an active civil litigation practice – having served as lead trial counsel for one of the country’s largest utility companies in a construction defect case in federal court, lead trial counsel for a debt relief company in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action in federal court, and lead trial counsel for a preeminent jewelry designer in a False Claims Act (FCA) case in federal court.
Recently, Lee was selected by the State of New Jersey to serve as the trustee for Eldorado Resorts, Inc.’s $1.85 billion acquisition of Tropicana Entertainment Inc. in Atlantic City. In this role, Lee has monitored the day-to-day operations of Eldorado Resorts in Atlantic City while the company is being investigated by the State for casino licensure.
Lee is also co-chair of the firm’s Cannabis Law Group. While serving in the attorney general’s office, Lee was responsible for helping to author the regulations for New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) and vetting and approving applicants for licensure. He has used that experience to guide and position cannabis companies from across the country for entry into New Jersey’s burgeoning market.
Lee is a former adjunct professor at Seton Hall Law School where he taught a course on federal criminal practice and cybercrimes. He is regularly quoted in Bloomberg, The Associated Press, The Star-Ledger, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications, on criminal prosecutions and criminal practice.
- Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2003)
- Princeton University (B.A., cum laude, 2000)
- New Jersey
- New York
- Won an acquittal at trial on first-degree public corruption charges for the founder of a New Jersey special needs school, State v. Eisemann, 18-04-00059
- Serving as the state-designated trustee for Eldorado Resorts, Inc.’s $1.85 billion acquisition of Tropicana Entertainment Inc. in Atlantic City
- Serving as counsel for one of the defendants charged in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) prosecution brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, United States v. Webb, et al., 15-252
- Representing one of the highest-ranking officials at a state public university in a criminal investigation where the official began as the target, but was later proven to be the victim
- Serving as counsel for one of the defendants charged in a $50 million healthcare fraud case brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, United States v. Hickman, et al., 19-191
- Serving as counsel for a leading New York and New Jersey automobile dealership in a False Claims Act (FCA) investigation by the New York Attorney General
- Serving as counsel for a leading debt relief company in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action in federal court
- Serving as counsel for a not-for-profit in a lawsuit alleging a New Jersey hospital breached an agreement with the not-for-profit to build a hotel valued at over $100 million on the hospital’s campus
- Serving as counsel for several physicians in investigations being conducted by the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners
- Successfully served as counsel for a multinational artificial turf company in investigations conducted by federal and state regulators and the New Jersey Legislature
- Successfully served as counsel for several witnesses in the “Bridgegate” investigation and prosecution brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, United States v. Baroni, et al., 15-193
- Successfully served as counsel for one of the country’s leading hotel companies in a 47-state, multi-state attorney general investigation into allegations of consumer fraud
- Won a complete victory for the son of a former high-ranking official in the New York City mayor’s office wrongly indicted for manslaughter, State v. Noerdlinger, 16-492
- Obtained a gubernatorial pardon for a police officer, which allowed the officer to return to his department and resume his career
- Served as counsel for one of the country’s largest utility companies in a construction defect case
- Secured a probationary sentence for a physician in one of the largest federal Anti-Kickback prosecutions in the country, United States v. Hamdan, et al., 17-208
- Successfully represented a former state assemblyman in an investigation by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation
- Successfully served as counsel for a leading jewelry designer in a False Claims Act investigation by the Department of Justice
- Successfully recovered several million dollars in assets wrongly seized by the federal government from a Texas company, United States v. One 2014 Black Porsche Cayman Coupe, et al., 15cv5814
- Conducted an internal investigation for a multinational, geophysical services company into allegations that employees were colluding with certain vendors to pay inflated contract prices as a means to defraud the company
- Conducted an internal investigation for a New Jersey Township into alleged violations of the Township’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy
- The National Law Journal, Cannabis Law Trailblazer (2020)
- New Jersey Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White Collar (2020-2022)
- Chambers USA, New Jersey – Litigation: White-Collar Criminal Defense & Government Investigations (2018-2021) and Nationwide: Eastern US – Cannabis Law (2021)
- Daytop New Jersey, Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees