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 for 10 years in the U.S. Department of Justice from 2003 to 2013, and the last two years 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 advised senior staff at the Justice Department, Treasury Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Board, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 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 launched the Task Force's Consumer Protection Working Group to combat consumer fraud on the federal, state, and local levels through prosecution and education. He also launched 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.

Michael previously worked as an assistant chief in the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division, supervising a team of attorneys in the investigation and prosecution of financial crimes, including mortgage fraud, bank 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

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

Representative Matters

  • 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 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 fraud investigation by DOJ
  • Advised a prepaid debit card company in a government investigation
  • Led internal investigations of nonprofit organizations and global companies
  • Advised a debt buyer in a matter with the CFPB
  • Represented a bank’s CEO in a DOJ fraud investigation
  • Represented a high-level political target of a criminal campaign finance investigation
  • Represented the manager of a pharmaceutical company during a DOJ healthcare fraud investigation
  • 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
  • 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