Michael J. Bresnick

Michael Bresnick

Michael Bresnick is chair of the Financial Services Investigations and Enforcement Practice. Michael advises clients on a wide range of financial services, government enforcement actions, consumer protection, mortgage fraud, FIRREA, BSA/AML, securities matters, and congressional investigations. An accomplished trial and appellate attorney, Michael has led 16 federal trials and numerous cases in federal and state appellate courts. 

Prior to Venable, Michael served in the U.S. Department of Justice from 2003 to 2013, and during the last two of those years he served as executive director of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. In this role, Michael served as a top advisor to the U.S. attorney general and led the largest interagency coalition ever assembled to combat financial fraud. Michael worked with leaders across multiple agencies to rein in financial industry misconduct, establish guidance and priorities, and drive enforcement initiatives in significant securities fraud, fair lending, mortgage fraud, consumer fraud, and other matters. He regularly worked with senior staff at the Justice Department, Treasury Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Board, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), FinCEN, and Housing and Urban Development. He also worked regularly with a large cast of federal inspectors general, state attorneys general, state banking commissioners, U.S. attorneys, and international financial regulators.

Among the highlights of his tenure, Michael led the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group and initiated innovative strategies to investigate fraud in the RMBS market through the use of FIRREA, working directly with the U.S. attorney general and other senior Department of Justice (DOJ) leaders. He also launched the Task Force's Consumer Protection Working Group to combat consumer fraud on the federal, state, and local levels through prosecution and education.

Michael previously worked as an assistant chief in the Fraud Section of the DOJ Criminal Division, supervising a team of attorneys in the investigation and prosecution of financial crimes, including mortgage fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, investment fraud, and grant and procurement fraud, among others. Prior to that, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, one of the largest in the country. In this position, he gained significant experience investigating and prosecuting financial fraud, RICO crimes, and healthcare fraud, including off-label marketing and cGMP violations.

In addition to his public service, Michael has significant experience in private practice. Most recently, he chaired the financial institutions practice at a nationally recognized Washington, DC law firm. He began his career as a litigation associate, focusing on white-collar criminal defense, including securities and corporate fraud, complex commercial litigation, and bankruptcy litigation.


Government Experience

  • Assistant Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Executive Director, President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, Office of the U.S. Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Division, United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Representative Matters

  • Selected to serve as independent compliance monitor for the nation’s three largest pharmaceutical distributors – McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp, and Cardinal Health, Inc. – overseeing the injunctive relief provisions of the National Opioid Settlement that resolved all opioid-related claims against the distributors by 48 states, DC, 5 U.S. territories, and the vast majority of political subdivisions
  • Appointed independent monitor to Deutsche Bank AG as part of the bank’s $7.2 billion settlement with DOJ over the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities during the years leading up to the financial crisis
  • Represented lenders and fintechs in congressional, civil, and criminal DOJ investigations relating to SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program
  • Represented a small-dollar consumer lender in an SEC investigation alleging a Ponzi scheme and the sale of unregistered securities
  • Represented a national business offering tax-related financial products and services in a CFPB unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices (UDAAP) investigation
  • Represented an auto dealer in an FTC fair lending investigation
  • Represented a data analytics company in criminal DOJ and FTC consumer protection investigations
  • Represented a political advisor in criminal public corruption investigations by DOJ and a state DA’s office
  • Represented a global actuarial and consulting company in a DOJ healthcare fraud investigation
  • Represented global payment processors, money transmitters, and card brands in government investigations and internal compliance involving BSA/AML and regulatory requirements
  • Represented an auto parts manufacturer in a criminal fraud investigation by DOJ
  • Represented a prepaid debit card company in a criminal DOJ investigation
  • Led internal investigations of nonprofit organizations and global companies
  • Represented a debt buyer in a supervisory exam by the CFPB
  • Represented a bank’s chairman of the board in a DOJ criminal fraud investigation involving alleged misapplication of bank funds
  • Represented a high-level political target of a criminal campaign finance investigation by a state’s special prosecutor
  • Represented the manager of a pharmaceutical company during a DOJ criminal healthcare fraud investigation alleging kickbacks and off-label marketing
  • Represented a national payments network in an investigation by the New York State Department of Financial Services




  • J.D. cum laude University of Maine School of Law 1996
    • Editor-in-chief, Maine Law Review
  • A.B. cum laude Bowdoin College 1992

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Conrad K. Cyr U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • Honorable Morton A. Brody U.S. District Court for the District of Maine


  • Legal 500, Finance – Financial Services Regulation, 2018, 2021 – 2022
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Director’s Award for Outstanding Service, 2009
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Postal Inspector’s Award, 2008
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Award of Excellence, 2008
  • Internal Revenue Service, Award for Outstanding Achievement, 2008
  • International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association, Special Award, 2006
  • FLEOA, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Award, 2006