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Shirley U. Emehelu, Former Chief of Asset Recovery and Anti-Money Laundering for the District of New Jersey, Joins CSG

September 16, 2019



L-R: Lee Vartan, Erik Sandstedt, Shirley U. Emehelu, Matthew E. Beck, Danielle M. Corcione, Jeffrey S. Chiesa; Not Pictured: A. Ross Pearlson

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC (“CSG”) is pleased to announce that Shirley U. Emehelu, former Chief of Asset Recovery and Anti-Money Laundering for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, has joined the firm as a Member in its Government & Corporate Investigations Group, effective September 3, 2019. She is based in the firm’s West Orange, New Jersey office.

As a federal prosecutor, Emehelu investigated and prosecuted individuals and companies in a vast array of complex financial fraud matters. She now brings that extensive firsthand trial and litigation experience, and a keen understanding of prosecutorial strategy, to the firm.

From 2017 to 2019, Emehelu served as Chief of the Asset Recovery and Anti-Money Laundering Unit, where she had statewide responsibility for federal asset forfeiture, money laundering, victim restitution and federal judgment enforcement matters. She supervised and prosecuted the forfeiture of the proceeds and instrumentalities of various crimes including complex white-collar fraud, health care fraud, money laundering and drug trafficking crimes. Emehelu served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 2010 to 2017 in the District of New Jersey’s Criminal and Special Prosecutions Divisions, where she investigated and prosecuted significant financial crime and public corruption cases.

“Shirley, now the seventh former federal prosecutor in our Government & Corporate Investigations Group, brings an excellent track record in both private practice and in public service. Her unique background in asset forfeiture adds a critical dimension to our collective capabilities that will translate into value-added, insightful counsel,” stated Daniel A. Schwartz, CSG’s Managing Member. “We are delighted that she has chosen CSG in her return to private practice.”

Emehelu will bring her litigation and investigatory experience to bear representing companies and individuals in uncovering and defending against claims of money laundering, tax, fraud and Bank Secrecy Act violations, and related enforcement, investigative, asset forfeiture and third-party asset recovery actions.

In joining CSG, she joins one of the region’s largest assemblages of former federal prosecutors, which currently includes:

  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey, Attorney General of New Jersey, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of the District of New Jersey’s Public Protection Unit;
  • Matthew E. Beck, former Chief of the General Crimes Unit for the District of New Jersey;
  • Danielle M. Corcione, former Assistant United States Attorney with the Health Care & Government Fraud Unit for the District of New Jersey;
  • A. Ross Pearlson, former Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York;
  • Erik Sandstedt, former Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in Washington D.C. and Chief of the District of New Jersey’s Securities and Health Care Fraud Unit; and,
  • Lee Vartan, former Assistant United States Attorney and New Jersey Executive Assistant Attorney General.

Emehelu will also utilize her unique background in her role as a co-leader of the firm’s Banking & Finance Group, alongside banking attorney Rosh H. Jaffe. In this capacity, she will work closely with executives, compliance officers and in-house counsel to develop proactive compliance plans in accordance with the regulatory frameworks promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and responding to inquiries from those agencies.

“Offering a group of outstanding problem solvers and a number of sophisticated practice areas aligned with my specialized experience, CSG provides an exciting platform from which to grow my practice,” said Emehelu. “I look forward to working with former colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the rest of the firm’s distinguished roster of attorneys in driving client success.”

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Emehelu worked as a litigation associate in the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where her practice focused on internal corporate investigations, federal grand jury and regulatory investigations, corporate compliance and complex commercial litigation. Emehelu graduated from Yale Law School in 2003, where she was an Editor for the Yale Law Journal and a Member of the Journal’s Admissions Committee. She graduated with distinction from Yale University in 2000 with a B.A. in Political Science. She is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.