Wifredo A. “Willy” Ferrer, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, is a Miami litigation attorney and Chair of Holland & Knight’s Global Compliance and Investigations Team. Mr. Ferrer focuses his practice primarily on internal corporate investigations, corporate compliance and training, and white collar criminal defense. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Ferrer counsels and defends corporate and individual clients in a wide array of criminal and regulatory matters, including allegations involving: bribery and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); complex fraud and financial transactions; violations of the securities laws; healthcare and medical practice matters; false claims; cybercrime; and government contract fraud.
Mr. Ferrer also counsels and represents corporate and individual clients in compliance and due diligence matters. He conducts FCPA training for business leaders, develops corporate FCPA policies and compliance programs, and devises due diligence protocols.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Ferrer served nearly seven years as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Ferrer was nominated as a U.S. Attorney by President Barack Obama and received unanimous confirmation from the U.S. Senate in April 2010.
In his role as a U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer oversaw some of the most complex and significant prosecutions handled by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In an effort to be proactive in fighting crime, Mr. Ferrer created numerous task forces, which strengthened connections between his office and various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Mr. Ferrer also has traveled abroad to build partnerships, most recently participating in a summit in Colombia on bilateral efforts to combat organized transnational crime.
Under Mr. Ferrer’s leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida handled more than 11,000 cases and charged more than 18,000 defendants for their alleged roles in criminal schemes. The office prosecuted a wide range of financial fraud, including investment and securities fraud, as well as fraud against the U.S. government and the Medicare program. Mr. Ferrer also oversaw cases involving international and domestic terrorism, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, public corruption, violent crime and human trafficking.
Related Practices: White Collar Defense and Investigations Latin America Practice Anti-Corruption and FCPA Compliance Services Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Litigation and Dispute Resolution Latin American Investigations Financial Investigations Cuba Action Team Cybersecurity, Data Breach and Privacy Related Client Sector: Healthcare & Life Sciences
In addition, Mr. Ferrer supervised civil investigations and settlements under the False Claims Act. He coordinated the efforts of the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Civil Divisions to focus on obtaining restitution for crime victims and the government. During Mr. Ferrer’s tenure, the office routinely was among the national leaders in total forfeiture collections and restitution obtained for victims.
As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer has appeared before the U.S. Senate. In 2010, he testified on mortgage fraud before the U.S. Senate Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Two years later, Mr. Ferrer testified on healthcare fraud before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.
Prior to serving as a U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer was Chief of the Federal Litigation Section for the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2010 and an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 2000 to 2006.
As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer worked in the Public Integrity and National Security Section, the Economic and Environmental Crimes Section, the Major Crimes Section and the Appellate Division of the office. In this role, he handled and tried numerous high-profile matters, including international money laundering, healthcare fraud, narcotics, international human rights abuses, immigration and firearms offenses.
Before becoming an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer served in various roles with the federal government. He gained experience as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and later as Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel to the late Attorney General Janet Reno.
Early in his career, Mr. Ferrer worked as an attorney at a Miami law firm, in addition to three years in private practice. After graduating from law school, Mr. Ferrer served as a law clerk for the Honorable Stanley Marcus in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Honors & Awards
- The Best Lawyers in America guide, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2019
- President’s Award, League of Prosecutors, 2017
- Power Leaders in Law – Newsmakers, South Florida Business Journal, 2017
- Distinguished Leaders in Law Honoree, Daily Business Review, 2017
- Equal Justice Leadership Award, Legal Services of Greater Miami, 2017
- Latino Lawyer of the Year, Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), 2015
- Top Government Attorney, Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend magazine, 2014, 2015
- Alumni Award of Merit, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2014
- U.S. Attorney General’s Medal, 2000
- DOJ Announces Changes to Policy on Individual Accountability in Corporate Cases, Holland & Knight Alert, November 30, 2018
- “Yates Memo” Edited to Grant Prosecutors More Flexibility in Civil Cases, Holland & Knight Healthcare Blog, November 29, 2018
- Officials Offer Insights on Avoiding Risk, Investigations and Corporate Compliance, Holland & Knight Alert, October 26, 2018
- Avoid Problems Before They Arise: Corporate Compliance and Training, Daily Business Review, October 10, 2018
- Mexico Corruption: Will AMLO Help Enforcement?, Latinvex, July 18, 2018
- Holland & Knight’s Israel Practice Newsletter: Winter 2017, Israel in the Sights of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Regulators, December 8, 2017
- How Lying To The US Government Can Land You In Jail, Co-Author, Law360, December 3, 2017
- How Lying to the U.S. Government Can Land You in Jail, Holland & Knight Healthcare Blog, November 20, 2017
- Argentina Passes New Anti-Corruption Statute, Holland & Knight Alert, November 14, 2017
- Report Exposes Mexico’s Anti-Corruption Flaws, Holland & Knight Alert, November 7, 2017
- Top Tips For an Effective Internal Investigation, Daily Business Review, October 16, 2017
- DOJ Announces Enhanced Enforcement of Healthcare FCPA Compliance, Holland & Knight Healthcare Blog, August 14, 2017
- Fortalecimiento de la Transparencia, garantía y confianza para América Latina, Consejo Empresarial de América Latina (CEAL) XXIX Asamblea Plenaria, 29 al 31 de octubre de 2018
- Florida Enforcement Summit, Holland & Knight Program, October 17, 2018
- Cómo Sobrevivir a la Avalancha Anticorrupción, Holland & Knight Program, 13 de septiembre de 2018
- Navigating the Risks and Pitfalls of Parallel DOJ and Congressional Investigations, HNBA Annual Convention, September 5-8, 2018
- AMCHAM Guatemala Evolución del Compliance, FCPA desde la Perspectiva del Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU., Pasos a seguir para crear un programa de cumplimiento sólido en Guatemala, August 2, 2018
- An Era of Globalized Anti-Bribery and Corruption Enforcement, The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Current Trends in Corporate Anti-Corruption Enforcement throughout Latin America and Under the Trump Administration, EY Israel, July 1, 2018
- The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Israel America Chamber of Commerce, July 1, 2018
- Responding to and Initiating Investigations: Strategies for Success, Holland & Knight Program, June 26, 2018
- Let’s Handle Those Difficult Situations: How Do You Deal with Crisis?, Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy, June 25, 2018
- Business ForUM 2018, Keynote Speaker, University of Miami Business School, May 22, 2018
- General Overview of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, International Chamber of Commerce Mexico, Mexico City, April 23, 2018
- Trends in Health Care Fraud and Cyber Security, Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) 2018 Health Care Industry Conference, April 19, 2018
- Recent Trends in Healthcare Fraud and Cyber Crime, Florida Institute of CPA’s Healthcare Industry Conference, April 19-20, 2018
- OffshoreAlert Conference: Financial Intelligence & Investigations, Inside The Minds Of Prosecutors: Former US Attorneys Discuss Their Previous Work, April 15-17, 2018
- Hispanic National Bar Association Corporate Counsel Conference, Cybersecurity Data Breaches, March 15-18, 2018
- Media Law Resource Center Conference, Ethics and Compliance Issues for Media Lawyers, March 12, 2018
- Increasing Your Business’s Bottom Line and Creating Economic Stability in Our Community, Moderator, Legal Services of Greater Miami, January 18, 2018
- Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention, Panelist, Successfully Navigating Parallel Proceedings, September 6-9, 2017
- FIBA’s Miami Financial Crimes Regional Conference, Panelist, Prosecutorial Challenges for South Florida Money Laundering Investigations, August 29, 2017
- Corporate Compliance and Health Care Fraud, Ernst & Young, Americas FIDS Executive Conference, July 16-20, 2017
- Promoting Ethics Within our Legal System, The Florida Bar’s 40th Annual Local Government Law Seminar, May 12, 2017
- Lawyers Advisory Committee, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., Campaign Committee
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, 2014-2016
- The Florida Bar
- Cuban American Bar Association
- Dade County Bar Association
- University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Editor
- University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., cum laude
- University of Miami, A.B., Economics, summa cum laude
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
- All State Courts in Florida