Theresa M. Van Vliet

Theresa Van Vliet

Theresa Van Vliet concentrates her practice on white collar and securities litigation as well as civil and compliance matters, including international fraud and money laundering, Ponzi schemes, healthcare, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and general fraud offenses; USA Patriot Act of 2001 and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA); and negotiations with federal law enforcement entities. Theresa has extensive trial experience in both the defense and prosecution of federal criminal, white collar, securities, and complex commercial litigation, including cases involving trustees and other fiduciaries.

For instance, she successfully defended a business owner charged with several federal felonies, resulting in a fine and no period of incarceration, dismissals of RICO allegations against clients in state and federal forums, and won dismissal of all charges against a foreign national extradited from her home country.

During her tenure with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Theresa served as the chief of narcotics and senior litigation counsel, where she successfully tried more than 40 federal jury trials, including a 14-month Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) trial that resulted in convictions for all defendants. She also oversaw national and international drug and drug money laundering policy, investigations, and prosecutions, and dealt with national security classified information. She also served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Theresa was recognized for her outstanding performance by Attorney General Janet Reno and selected to assist on a special project involving terrorism. She also spearheaded an international investigation and prosecution of the highest echelons of Colombian-based money launderers and drug traffickers.

Theresa is an active member of the American Bar Association and is a senior fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, where she has served as a member of the Thomas A. Mesereau Cup Selection Committee, The Trial Law Institute, and the Diversity Law Institute. Theresa qualifies as a barrister in the Order of Justitia. She has published an analysis of the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and its anti-money laundering provisions, and co-authored an article in The Champion, NACDL’s monthly magazine, regarding compassionate release under the First Step and CARES Acts.


Government Experience

  • Chief of Narcotics, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Senior Litigation Counsel, USAO SDF




  • J.D. magna cum laude Nova Southeastern University Law School 1982
  • B.A. Trinity College 1979

Bar Admissions

  • Florida

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, Thomas A. Mesereau Cup Selection Committee
  • Member, Trial Law Institute
  • Member, Diversity Law Institute


  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2024
  • Department of Justice, Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service
  • Drug Enforcement Administration, Award for Exceptional Service
  • Government of Colombia, Distinguished Service Medal