Kara L. Kapp

Member

Washington, D.C.

(202) 304-1457

(202) 861-1905

Chicago

(312) 382-3100

Recent Publication:

The Department of Justice Announces the First-of-its-Kind Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework [Alert]

Barry Boss and Kara Kapp discuss the DOJ Cyber-Digital Task Force 83-page framework intended to help cryptocurrency entrepreneurs understand and comply with U.S. legal obligations.

Kara helps companies implement proactive compliance programs to mitigate risks of downstream exposure and reinforce a positive corporate culture. She also represents Fortune 500 entities, corporate executives, and foreign defendants at every stage of regulatory investigations and federal criminal enforcement actions in white collar matters. She has helped clients navigate allegations of securities fraud, health care fraud, false statement claims, tax fraud, antitrust offenses, environmental offenses, Foreign Agent Registration Act violations, and Foreign Corrupt Practice Act violations, among others. Her practice has a special focus on representing executives and entities in the cryptocurrency, financial, and sports wagering industries and in representing foreign defendants.

Kara has significant experience briefing trial and appellate matters before the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court, federal district courts, and the Illinois Appellate Court. She is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois, California, and D.C. bars, and she is admitted to practice in the Seventh Circuit and the Northern District of Illinois, and the District of Columbia.

She earned her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 2006, double majoring in international relations and environmental studies. In 2010, she earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School, as well as a masters in Latin American studies. She is fully proficient in Spanish and proficient in reading and writing in Portuguese. While at Stanford, she served as a symposium editor of the Stanford Law Review, where she received multiple awards for her service. She also worked as a constitutional and international law research assistant to Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez. After law school, Kara served as a law clerk to then Chief Judge Bruce D. Black of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico and to the Honorable Edward L. Chavez of the New Mexico Supreme Court. 

Experience

Criminal Defense and Sentencing

Defended the founder of a well-known internet gambling site against federal felony charges with exposure of up to 20 years imprisonment. Ultimately, prosecutors dropped the felony charges in exchange for a guilty plea on a misdemeanor charge, resulting in a sentence of unsupervised probation and payment of a fine. The client also was able to reacquire a domain name that had been forfeited during the course of the prosecution. The resolution of the matter was covered by Forbes magazine here.

Negotiated a settlement agreement with the potential to revolutionize the U.S. sports-betting market on behalf of Laura Varela and 5Dimes, a popular offshore sportsbook in Costa Rica. The U.S. Department of Justice had been investigating illegal gambling and money-laundering activity associated with 5Dimes and Ms. Varela’s husband at the time of his death in 2018. Our team negotiated an unprecedented resolution with prosecutors in the Philadelphia U.S. Attorney’s Office that resolved 5Dimes’s legal liability and that allowed Ms. Varela to reposition the sportsbook to enter the regulated U.S. sports-betting industry. Further, the Government expressly agreed to advise state regulators, banks, and investors about her extraordinary cooperation and impressive efforts to transform 5Dimes into a lawful, regulated company. 

Represented an individual under criminal investigation by the Special Counsel’s Office. After extensive meetings with Special Counsel, it decided not to pursue charges against our client.

Served as lead counsel at the sentencing phase to a defendant charged with bribery and wire fraud in connection with services provided to the D.C. government. The sentencing advocacy persuaded the Probation Office to withdraw a proposed aggravating role enhancement and make a rare formal recommendation to the court to grant the defendant a downward variance. The sentencing advocacy further convinced the court to grant a 3-level downward variance to a sentence of 41 months, where the court found that the applicable guideline range was 57-71 months.

Represented an executive of a biofuel company at sentencing and in cooperation efforts in connection with a federal tax fraud prosecution and sentencing. Based on advocacy at sentencing, the judge issued the client a below-guideline sentence of 87 months, substantially shorter than his co-defendants received. Subsequently secured client’s release during the pandemic due to fragile health and vulnerability to COVID-19. The client was among the first seven inmates at his institution to be granted release in the wake of the pandemic. The client ultimately served only a year and a half of his original 87-month sentence.

Represented CEO of publicly traded health care company at trial and sentencing in $85 million health care fraud scheme. Our advocacy at sentencing convinced the judge to sentence the client to 36 months in prison, where the court found the applicable sentencing guidelines range was 121-151 months imprisonment.

Appeals

Represented several organizations and professors in drafting cert- and merit-stage amicus briefs on matters of public importance.

Represented a high-level foreign public official in a prosecution and mandamus appeal in the Seventh Circuit challenging the validity of an indictment.

Served on a team that successfully represented a woman wrongfully convicted of murder before the Seventh Circuit on habeas review and before the Supreme Court, successfully convincing the Court not to grant the writ or issue a summary reversal.

Represented an individual before the Seventh Circuit on the merits and at oral argument in an appeal of a criminal conviction.

Compliance & Internal Investigations Experience

Completed a six-month secondment with Anheuser Busch InBev’s Global Compliance Team. During this secondment, conducted internal investigations, led witness interviews in Spanish & English, led project to draft and update the company’s compliance policies, and gained familiarity with AB InBev’s award-winning compliance data analytics platform, BrewRIGHT.

Participated in many internal investigations, including over 100 witness interviews, and have led over 40 witness interviews.

Provided comprehensive analysis of U.S. trade sanctions for an international energy company, and advised on a recommended compliance protocol.

Advised gaming companies on compliance issues and business opportunities for sports relating to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Murphy v. NCAA (2018).

Represented a gaming entity before a regulatory body to advocate for regulations to permit entity betting.

Advised major cryptocurrency issuers, investors, wallet providers, and mining companies on regulatory and compliance issues.

 

 

News

Cozen O’Connor Negotiates Historic Settlement for Offshore Sports-Betting Company

October 01, 2020

Barry Boss, Stephen Miller, and Kara Kapp negotiate a historic non-prosecution agreement involving 5Dimes, a major offshore sports-betting operator.

Fourteen Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Recognized as Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

April 20, 2020

Super Lawyers has named 14 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2020 Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list.

13 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Recognized as Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

April 25, 2019

The 2019 Washington, D.C, edition of Super Lawyers Magazine, published by Thomson Reuters, has named 13 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its list of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers Recognizes 15 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys

May 15, 2018

Fourteen Cozen O’Connor attorneys have been named 2018 Super Lawyers or Rising Stars by Super Lawyers Magazine Washington, D.C. edition, published by Thomson Reuters.

Cozen O’Connor Elects 19 Associates to Membership

April 09, 2018

Cozen O’Connor has elected 19 associates to membership in the firm. The management committee appointed this qualified group of attorneys to membership based on demonstrated professionalism, leadership, dedication, and loyalty to Cozen O’Connor.

Publications

The Department of Justice Announces the First-of-its-Kind Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework [Alert]

October 09, 2020

Barry Boss and Kara Kapp discuss the DOJ Cyber-Digital Task Force 83-page framework intended to help cryptocurrency entrepreneurs understand and comply with U.S. legal obligations.

Has the SAFT Been KIKed to the Curb?

October 02, 2020

Kara Kapp discusses the court's decision in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Kik Interactive, Inc.

Cozen O’Connor Negotiates Historic Settlement for Offshore Sports-Betting Company [Alert]

September 30, 2020

Barry Boss, Stephen A. Miller, and Kara Kapp discuss the non-prosecution agreement involving 5Dimes.

Importance of a Robust Compliance Program Underscored by DOJ’s Updated Corporate Compliance Guidance [Alert]

June 04, 2020

Martin Bloor and Kara Kapp discuss the new DOJ guidance and the importance to make regular efforts to update their programs and to reinforce company policies in the wake of breaches to strengthen their effectiveness.

Court Reverses Foreign National’s FCPA Conviction, Setting a High Bar to Establish an Agency Relationship [Alert]

February 28, 2020

A ruling issued on Wednesday, February 26 by a Connecticut federal court details the type of control necessary to find that a foreign national acted as an agent of a U.S. domestic concern for purposes of falling within the coverage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Emerging Trends Under the DOJ’s Corporate Enforcement Policy

February 20, 2020

Niki Sprinzen and Kara Kapp (White Collar Defense & Investigations) authored an article in Corporate Compliance Insights, titled Emerging Trends Under the DOJ’s Corporate Enforcement Policy, offering guidance to help compliance professionals navigate the FCPA landscape given what lies ahead, particularly in terms of white-collar prosecutions.

How to Use Tech Start-Up Data to Reduce Costly Compliance Risks [COpilot Blog]

March 06, 2019

Emerging technology startups can reduce expensive compliance risks and significant potential financial losses by marshalling resources already at their disposal—their own data scientists. But how? By building a data analytics system to increase internal transparency and better monitor high risk activities.

State Constitutional Law as a Basis For Federal Constitutional Interpretation: The Lessons of the Second Amendment

September 27, 2016

Kara Kapp, member of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, published "State Constitutional Law as a Basis For Federal Constitutional Interpretation: The Lessons of the Second Amendment" in New Mexico Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2016.

Illinois Civil Appeals: State And Federal 2015 and 2018 Editions

January 01, 2015

Kara Kapp, an associate in Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, co-authored, "Illinois Civil Appeals: State And Federal 2015 Edition."

Education

  • Stanford University Law School, J.D., 2010
  • Stanford University, M.A., 2010
  • Dartmouth College, B.A., summa cum laude, 2006

Awards & Honors

Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” 2018 - 2020

2017 Cozen O’Connor D.C. Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award

2014 Seventh Circuit Bar Association Pro Bono and Public Service Award

Stanford Law School, Pro Bono Distinction

Stanford Law Review Vol. 62 Special Service Award

Stanford Law Review Vol. 62 Symposium Committee Award for Exceptional Commitment

American Constitution Society, Stanford Law School Chapter, Programming Award 2010

Dartmouth College, Rufus Choate Scholar

Dartmouth College, Downey Family Prize in Environmental Studies (honoring top Environmental Studies student)

Environmental Studies Honors Thesis: The International Politics of Rainforest Management

  • California
  • Illinois
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court -- Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court -- District of Columbia

Chief Judge Bruce D. Black, U.S. District Court -- New Mexico

Honorable Edward L. Chavez, New Mexico Supreme Court

American Bar Association, Women in White Collar Subcommittee, Criminal Justice Section

ACLU of Northern Illinois, Next Generation Society Member

American Constitution Society, D.C. Chapter, Board Member

Illinois State Bar Association

Justice Council of Northwestern Law School, Board Member

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


Additional Language Biographies

Spanish

Portuguese