James M. Deichert has earned Martindale-Hubbell‘s highest professional rating of AV. He is a former federal prosecutor and Supervisory Assistant United States Attorney. From 1982-1997, he was the Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Deichert focuses his practice on White Collar Criminal Defense, Complex Civil Litigation: Civil Racketeering (“RICO”), Fraud and other Business Crimes, Internal Investigations, and the False Claims Act. His practice provides a full scope of counseling and representation before Federal and State authorities. His more significant representations have involved the defense of individuals involving fraud (healthcare, mortgage, banking & insurance), embezzlement, political corruption, bid rigging, criminal tax violations, theft of trade secrets & intellectual property, and computer crimes.
His peers elected Mr. Deichert as a Georgia Super Lawyer in the White Collar Criminal Defense practice area in surveys conducted by Atlanta Magazine from 2005-2023. He received similar peer ratings as one of Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite from 2006-2023.
During his 25-year career with Department of Justice, Mr. Deichert prosecuted many significant organized crime and labor racketeering cases throughout the United States. He specialized in prosecuting criminal enterprises using the racketeering statute (RICO) to dismantle criminal organizations, trace laundered criminal proceeds, and forfeit assets. Mr. Deichert successfully prosecuted dozens of jury trials, including multiple-defendant cases charging RICO, money laundering, fraud, labor racketeering (graft, embezzlement, extortion & E.R.I.S.A.), tax crimes, arson, and conspiracy. He has extensive experience using sophisticated investigative techniques, including court-ordered electronic surveillance, “sting” operations, financial search warrants, and long-term grand jury probes.
Since entering private practice, Mr. Deichert has consulted, defended or prosecuted many state and federal civil RICO cases.
Mr. Deichert is a frequent speaker at professional training events. He has lectured on RICO and federal criminal practice before legal education audiences, including the 2017, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2002, 2000 and 1998 Georgia Annual RICO Seminars, and the 2010 and 2009 Corporate Internal Investigations Seminar. He has also lectured on Civil RICO and Restitution to the Georgia Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the International Association of Special Investigative (insurance) Units, and the Georgia Society of CPAs. He has served as a guest instructor at Emory Law School’s Trial Techniques Program. He is also a Master in The Lamar American Inn of Court at Emory University School of Law.
Mr. Deichert is a member of the American Bar Association (Criminal Justice and Antitrust Sections, as well as the Civil RICO Subcommittee), the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Federal Bar Association, the Atlanta Bar Association (Litigation and Criminal Law Sections), the Lawyers Club of Atlanta, and the Old War Horse Lawyers Club.
Mr. Deichert is a panel attorney on the Northern District of Georgia’s Criminal Justice Act list, and accepts court appointments to represent indigent defendants in federal court. He also performs pro bono legal services.
Mr. Deichert has 25 years of military law experience as an Army Judge Advocate. From 1991-1999, he served as the State Judge Advocate of the Georgia National Guard before retiring as a Colonel. In 2015, he was appointed by Governor Deal to serve as a judge on the Georgia Court-Martial Review Panel. This is the appellate court that reviews decisions by tribunals in the Georgia Army and Air National Guards’ military justice systems.
In addition to practicing law, Mr. Deichert has appeared as a song and dance man in nine productions of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Courthouse Line, which are musical parodies of current legal events in Atlanta.
Mr. Deichert earned his Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in history from Rutgers College. He entered the Justice Department through the Attorney General’s Honor Law Graduate Program, and won numerous achievement awards during his career as a federal prosecutor.
The following cases illustrate his civil RICO practice:
Trustees of the Idaho Laborers Pension Fund v. Capital Consultants, Inc., CV-00-1338 (District of Oregon) – Mr. Deichert was a consultant to a consortium of plaintiff’s attorneys representing over 60 union pension and employee benefit plans in the Pacific Northwest. This was a classic labor racketeering scam by a corrupt money manager who misused the funds’ trust assets. The scheme involved bribes, kickbacks, false financial statements, and money laundering. The total fraud loss exceeded $360 million. Mr. Deichert coordinated the internal investigation, was an advocate for the victims during the criminal prosecution and restitution proceedings, drafted federal civil RICO allegations for the complaint, and was involved in a mediation before a Senior Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In 2002, a district court Judge approved a $140 million settlement by the defendants facing RICO liability.
Douglas Asphalt Co. v. Qore, Inc., et. al., CV 2-06-229 (Southern District of Georgia) – The State of Georgia appointed Mr. Deichert as a Special Assistant Attorney General to defend eight Department of Transportation (DOT) employees, including the Commissioner, in a federal civil RICO case. The complaint alleged the employees conspired to destroy the company by wrongly denying DOT highway construction contracts. Losses in the case exceeded $100 million. Mr. Deichert and the firm successfully defended the case, winning a Motion to Dismiss.
In April 2000, Mr. Deichert represented the plaintiff in a Georgia civil RICO case in Fulton County Superior Court charging the company’s CFO with embezzling $500,000. First, the firm won a restraining order freezing the defendant’s assets. After expedited discovery, the firm collected a $610,000 consent judgment.
The following cases illustrate Mr. Deichert’s criminal RICO experience:
United States v. Coppola, 955 F. 2d 688 (11th Cir. 1992) – Mr. Deichert directed a multiple-agency investigation and was lead counsel in a 13-week RICO jury trial. The defendants conducted a huge drug importation/distribution operation, used the profits to acquire legitimate businesses, and murdered a series of rivals. The case also involved E.R.I.S.A. violations stemming from fraudulent health insurance claims. This was one of the longest and most significant criminal trials in the history of the Northern District of Georgia. The jury returned convictions and a RICO forfeiture verdict of more than $1 million against the Jilly’s – The Place For Ribs restaurant chain.
United States v. Romano, 736 F. 2d 1432 (11th Cir. 1984) – Mr. Deichert was sole counsel in a six-week RICO, E.R.I.S.A., Fraud, and Tax Evasion trial. The defendants bilked a Teamsters’ pension fund using a complicated scheme. The prosecution traced laundered fraud proceeds into a condominium project and a restaurant. The defendants were convicted, and the Government won a $1 million RICO forfeiture verdict. However, the verdict was overturned because of the trial court’s error, 755 F. 2d 1401. The judge was impeached after a finding of judicial misconduct in the case. Mr. Deichert testified before the Senate during the impeachment proceedings.
“Operation Burnout” – Mr. Deichert supervised a two-year sting operation and financial investigation targeting motor fuel excise tax evasion. The project ended in 1994 after nine defendants pled guilty to RICO or money laundering charges. The IRS recovered over $1 million via a jeopardy tax assessment.
Mr. Deichert was co-counsel during the prosecution of the Rosenthal drug empire: United States v. Rosenthal, 793 F. 2d 1214 (11th Cir. 1986). The prosecution relied on court-ordered electronic surveillance and an extensive undercover operation before making a controlled delivery of 755 pounds of cocaine to the defendants. A historical investigation proved the defendants, including members of the La Cosa Nostra and Columbian drug cartels, imported and distributed over 10,000 pounds of cocaine. After a 10-week jury trial, the defendants were convicted on Conducting a Criminal drug Enterprise and RICO charges.