Linda Imes, a founding partner of Spears & Imes LLP, has been a criminal and civil litigator for over three decades, with substantial trial and appellate experience. She focuses on white collar criminal defense, securities enforcement, and complex civil litigation.
In March 2017, Ms. Imes received the Norman S. Ostrow Award from the New York Council of Defense Lawyers. The award, which is given annually, recognizes a lawyer for “outstanding contribution to the defense of liberty and the preservation of individual rights” and whose career has been “marked by numerous examples of a lawyer fighting for a client with vigor, dignity, and expertise.” Since 2009, Ms. Imes has been named by Chambers & Partners as a Leader in the Field of White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations. Chambers reports that she is widely commended for her “ferocious attention to detail and extremely effective advocacy on behalf of her clients.”
Early in her career, Ms. Imes was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. There, she served in the Major Crimes Unit and Securities and Commodity Fraud Unit prosecuting a wide variety of complex business and commercial crimes including tax evasion, money laundering, transportation of stolen property, bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, and securities fraud. During her years as a prosecutor, Ms. Imes had a dozen trials and argued as many appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Ms. Imes has been in private practice since 1989 and has tried cases in federal court, before regulators, and to mediators. Ms. Imes has represented individuals and corporations in investigations by, and matters involving, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, FINRA, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Federal Reserve, and other governmental and regulatory bodies. Ms. Imes’ work frequently involves defending clients faced with more than one investigation at a time, often combined with civil litigation.
Ms. Imes has been involved in appellate advocacy since the beginning of her legal career, when she clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Imes served as Deputy Chief of Appeals. In private practice, Ms. Imes has briefed and argued numerous cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, New York’s Appellate Division, and the New York Court of Appeals. For example, she argued a Second Circuit appeal concerning the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., 130 S. Ct. 2869 (2010), which held that Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 does not apply extraterritorially. In March 2012, the Second Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal with prejudice of her clients’ complaint, see Absolute Activist Value Master Fund Ltd. v. Ficeto, 677 F.3d 60 (2d Cir. 2012), and the district court later denied six defendants’ motions to dismiss the amended complaint, see Absolute Activist Master Value Fund, Ltd. v. Ficeto, No. 09 Civ. 8862 (GBD), 2013 WL 1286170 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 28, 2013).
Some notable representations in criminal matters include:
- representation of senior executive of major international bank in connection with FCPA criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York;
- representation of automotive company executive in connection with emissions investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
- representation of current and former employees of bank in connection with money laundering investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and the New York District Attorney’s Office;
- representation of HSBC senior executive in money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the ICE Eldorado Task Force, and in testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations;
- representation of Citibank officer in high-profile money laundering investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and in testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations;
- representation of an employee of an information infrastructure solutions company in insider trading investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office;
- representation of corporate executives in federal task force investigation of the April 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico led by the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division and including the SEC;
- representation of corporate officers in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice;
- representation of bank employees and former employees in connection with investigations of certain foreign currency exchange trading practices by the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York Department of Financial Services (with parallel investigations by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Frauds Office);
- representation of corporate client in internal investigation concerning its compliance with Trading with the Enemy Act and Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations;
- representation of New York art dealer in criminal trial concerning receipt of Egyptian antiquities;
- representation of numerous employees of a public company in the grocery wholesale business in U.S. Attorney’s Office and SEC investigations concerning the company’s accounting practices;
- representation of New York City officials in joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and New York City’s Department of Investigations concerning certain budget practices; and
- representation of senior executive of a public company in a criminal investigation concerning government contracts.
Securities Enforcement Matters
Some notable representations in securities-related investigations or proceedings include:
- representation of residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) trader in connection with SEC investigation following the indictment in United States v. Litvak;
- representation of former global head of Collateralized Debt Obligations (“CDOs”) for Citigroup in an investigation by, and testimony before, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, as well as in trial testimony at the trial of SEC v. Stoker, and in related civil litigation;
- representation of former Goldman Sachs & Co. managing director in connection with SEC investigation concerning CDO transaction and in testimony at the trial of SEC v. Fabrice Tourre;
- representation of former Merrill Lynch executive in connection with subprime securitization investigations by the United States Attorney’s Office, FINRA, the New York Attorney General’s Office, and the SEC, as well as in related civil litigation;
- representation of executive director of international bank in connection with U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation of a derivatives trading strategy executed by the so-called “London Whale”;
- representation of former officer of a global institutional trading (or “dark pool”) network in SEC investigation of certain practices by the firm;
- representation of a senior trader at a major broker-dealer in connection with investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut and the SEC;
- representation of employee of a large money market fund in investigations by the SEC and state securities regulator, as well as in related civil litigation;
- representation of three former Merrill Lynch employees in SEC investigation concerning pension consulting industry and in related FINRA investigation; and
- representation of broker-dealer’s former compliance employee in connection with FINRA investigation, hearing before FINRA’s Office of Hearing Officers, and appeal to FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council.
Some notable representations in complex civil litigations include:
- representation of a group of hedge funds as plaintiffs in civil litigation alleging a fraudulent scheme in violation of federal securities laws and state law and seeking to recover proceeds of that fraudulent scheme;
- representation of real estate developers in investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (Civil Division) of alleged Fair Housing Act violations and in ensuing civil litigation;
- representation of defendant in trial of federal securities fraud suit;
- representation of institutional plaintiffs in federal securities fraud suit seeking recovery for fraud in connection with sale of bonds in which clients ultimately recovered nearly 100 percent of their losses;
- representation of Fortune 50 corporation in mediation of claim arising from derivatives transactions with Bankers Trust;
- representation of Columbia University in a qui tam proceeding based on allegations of improper Medicaid billing for obstetrical services at a University hospital; and
- representation of corporate plaintiff in complex arbitration alleging fraud and breach of environmental representations and warranties in merger agreement.
Representative speaking engagements have included:
- Practicing Law Institute, Expert Witness 2015, Expert Witnesses at Trial (June 2015);
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Eighth Annual Defending the White Collar Case: In & Out of Court (November 2012);
- Practicing Law Institute, Expert Witness 2012, Role of Expert Witnesses in Complex Litigation (June 2012);
- American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Nothing Mock About It: Using Jury Consultants in the Real World (April 2010);
- New York State Bar Association, Financial Penalties and Victims’ Rights in White Collar Cases (November 2009); and
- National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigations and In-House Counsel, To Preserve and Protect: D&O Insurance, Indemnification and Advancement (May 2009).
Ms. Imes is a member of the Federal Bar Council and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She was also a member of the Board of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers from 1997 through 1999 and from 2012 through 2014.
• J.D., cum laude, Northwestern University School of Law, 1982; Articles Editor, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
• B.S., M.A., with honors, Northwestern University, 1978
• New York
• Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
• The Honorable John J. Gibbons, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1982-1983