Justin K. Gelfand
Justin is a former federal prosecutor with extensive experience in high stakes litigation.
National media outlets have described Justin as a “powerhouse” litigator and “high-profile” attorney. Opposing counsel described Justin’s cross examination of a critical witness as “merciless.” On the record, a federal judge described Justin’s advocacy as “quite special” and “an eye opener.”
Justin, a member of the Teaching Faculty of Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, is at home in the courtroom and routinely tries cases to verdict. But when it’s in his client’s best interest, Justin resolves cases outside of the courtroom—often with no publicity.
As a federal prosecutor, Justin first-chaired federal jury trials, bench trials, and federal appeals throughout the country—winning all of them. Today, Justin routinely represents clients throughout the country in criminal defense, white collar, tax controversy, and sophisticated civil litigation matters. Justin’s cases range from high-profile to low-profile and his clients include elected officials, attorneys, former prosecutors, doctors, celebrities, large and small businesses, law enforcement, a university, and hardworking people from all walks of life.
J.D., Washington University School of Law, Order of the Coif, Top 5%
B.A., Brandeis University (high honors)
A People magazine courtroom reporter covering a recent high-profile trial described Justin as having a knack for “dissecting facts and analysis submitted in the prosecution’s case.”
Justin routinely presents continuing education to attorneys throughout the country on cutting-edge legal issues. Justin served as a faculty member at the National Advocacy Center, the Department of Justice’s in-house training center in South Carolina, where he taught hundreds of federal prosecutors the ins and outs of criminal tax cases. He played a large role in crafting the innovative manner in which stolen identity tax refund fraud cases are now investigated and prosecuted, and trained more than 1,000 federal agents in 15 states concerning investigative techniques used by law enforcement. For this work, Justin received the Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention, an award widely recognized as one of the Justice Department’s highest honors in white collar and public corruption litigation.
For years, Justin has served as a moderator of the Criminal Tax Workshop at the American Bar Association’s Annual Criminal Tax Fraud Institute—teaching hundreds of practitioners from around the country how to litigate criminal tax cases.
In addition to teaching at the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School, Justin has served as an adjunct professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.
Justin graduated in the top 5% of his class at Washington University School of Law and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. During law school, Justin was a Senior Editor of the Washington University Law Review.
- “Did You Know the IRS Can Now Take Your Passport?” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 1, 2018.
- “Defending a Criminal Tax Case,” The Champion, April 2016
- “Licensing Tax Preparers Won’t Help Taxpayers–Even IRS Employees Tasked With Answering a Single Tax Question Have High Error Rates,” Wall Street Journal, Mar. 12, 2015
- “From Switzerland to Israel: A Milestone Development in Offshore Tax Evasion,” St. Louis Lawyer Magazine, Mar. 2015
- “Help Clients with Undisclosed Foreign Accounts and Assets Mitigate Criminal and Financial Exposure,”The Asset (Publication of Missouri Society of Certified Public Accounts), Jan. 2015
- “Tax Day! Now Comes the Great Refund Rip-Off,” Wall Street Journal (Apr 15, 2014)
- Identity Theft and Social Security Fraud, U.S. Department of Justice
- “How Names and Social Security Numbers Become Millions of Dollars: Prosecuting Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud,” United States Attorneys’Bulletin, Vol. 61, No. 2 (Mar 2013)
- Civil Fraud and Accuracy Penalties: Strategies for the Administrative Appeal and Litigation, American Bar Association’s 34th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and 7th Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy Program, Las Vegas, NV, December 2017
- Criminal Tax Workshop, American Bar Association’s 33rd Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and the 6th Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy, Las Vegas, NV, December 2016
- “What Do You Mean My Spouse Hasn’t Been Paying Our Taxes?!?”: When Family, Tax and Criminal Law Intersect,” Missouri Bar 16th Annual Family Law Conference, Branson, MO, August 2016
- “Identity Theft Tax Fraud: A Former Federal Prosecutor’s Perspective,” 26th Annual CPE Tax Expo, Houston, TX, Jan. 2016
- “Disclosure in a Criminal Prosecution: Are You Getting What You Should Have?” ABA’s 32nd Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and the Fifth Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy, Las Vegas, NV, Dec. 2015
- “‘My Ex Did What?!?’: When Family, Tax, and Criminal Law Intersect,” The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Oct. 2015
- How Not to Become a Target of Your Client’s Criminal Tax Investigation: A Former Federal Tax Prosecutor’s Perspective,” Missouri Society of Enrolled Agent’s Annual Conference, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, July 2015
- “My Spouse Hasn’t Been Paying Our Taxes? A Practitioner’s Guide to Representing the Innocent Spouse,” Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference, Branson, Missouri, June 2015
- “Recent Developments in Tax-Related Identity Theft,” ABA Section of Taxation May Meeting, May 2015
- “Criminal Tax Workshop,” American Bar Association’s 31st Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud, Las Vegas, NV, Dec. 2014
- “Representing Clients with Foreign Accounts and Assets: U.S. Federal Income Tax Issues and Exposures,” The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Sept. 2014
- “Cooked Books: A recipe for representing a client with a potential criminal tax problem,” Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference, Branson, MO, Jun. 2014
- “A Guy Walks Into the Treasury and Out With a Bag of Cash,” National Advocacy Center (U.S. Department of Justice)
- “Using the Grand Jury to Build a Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Case,” National Advocacy Center (U.S. Department of Justice)
- “From Al Capone to Wesley Snipes: Prosecuting Federal Tax Crimes,” National Advocacy Center (U.S. Department of Justice)
- “Prosecuting the ‘President’: Domestic Terrorism Case Study of United States v. Turner,” National Advocacy Center (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Won complete acquittal in a federal criminal jury trial where indictment carried the possibility of 10 years in federal prison.
- Won complete acquittal in a Missouri sex crimes jury trial.
- Won rare, post-indictment dismissal in a federal felony immigration fraud case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
- Won acquittal of all conspiracy and corporate tax evasion counts in a federal criminal tax jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas spanning four weeks of government evidence and 117 government witnesses; the Government was represented by a team of three attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.
- Won acquittal of all of the most serious counts—those carrying mandatory minimums of decades in prison and maximums of life—in a federal sex trafficking jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri; in a pleading, the federal prosecutor claimed her star witness “was mercilessly questioned by defense counsel [Justin Gelfand].”
- Won acquittal of all felony false tax return counts in a federal criminal tax jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on behalf of a Missouri accountant.
- Won acquittal of felony tax evasion count in a federal criminal tax jury trial in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri on behalf of a Missouri business owner; sole count of conviction (26 U.S.C. 7212(a)) is currently on appeal.
- Won a rare withdrawal of 17-year old guilty plea after a Missouri court found “manifest injustice” and ruled in Justin’s client’s favor.
- Won a post-indictment dismissal on behalf of a Missouri landowner charged with crimes relating to his property.
- Obtained a favorable settlement in a complicated civil litigation matter on behalf of a multinational company.
- Persuaded the IRS not to prosecute a business owner under investigation for tax fraud.
- Persuaded Missouri prosecutors not to prosecute a juvenile accused of a sex crime.
- Persuaded Missouri prosecutors not to prosecute a man accused of a sex crime against a child.
- Persuaded the U.S. Department of Justice not to prosecute a large business owner.
- Persuaded the U.S. Department of Justice not to prosecute a small business owner.
- Persuaded authorities not to prosecute a healthcare worker under investigation for child endangerment.
- Client charged in both Missouri and Illinois with more than 10 fraud felonies carrying the possibility of life in prison; negotiated a resolution of probation with no criminal conviction.
- Client charged in Missouri with six criminal tax felonies; negotiated a resolution of probation with no criminal conviction.
- Client charged in what Justice Department called the “largest software piracy case ever prosecuted in U.S. history”; negotiated resolution of probation.
- Client charged with eight federal felonies carrying a mandatory minimum of 8 years and a statutory maximum of 43 years in federal prison; negotiated a plea to one count carrying a 2-year sentence.
- Represented numerous individuals and entities with previously undisclosed offshore bank accounts; all resolved favorably.
- Represented numerous individuals and entities in serious civil and criminal matters resolved favorably and entirely out of court with no publicity.