Carol Alexis Chen

Partner & Trial Lawyer, Winston & Strawn LLP; Award-Winning fmr Career Federal Prosecutor & Chief of Intl. Narcotics, Money Laundering, & Racketeering Section, US Attorney’s Office – LA; fmr Liaison to DHS Security Joint Task Force-West on Border & Maritime Security

Widely recognized as an accomplished trial lawyer, strategist, and negotiator, she represents public and private companies, corporate officers, entrepreneurs, and other individuals in high-stakes white collar criminal and complex civil litigation. In addition, Carol effectively marshals her experiences with and deep connections to federal and local prosecutorial and law enforcement authorities to respond to government inquiries, conduct sensitive internal investigations, and counsel her clients on the development, implementation, and enhancement of compliance and remediation programs. She has particular expertise with respect to anti-money laundering, data security and privacy liability, trade and export control, and health care laws and regulations; the False Claims Act and related qui tam provisions; and matters involving Fintech, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency, often speaking about regulatory and litigation issues in these evolving, important areas to the media and at conferences. Carol is a member of The Sedona Conference, Data Security and Privacy Liability Working Group and its brainstorming group on the legality of ransomware payments, recently serving as a Dialogue Leader at its Annual Meeting.  She is also a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) and has spoken at conferences organized by the latter with respect to issues related to Fintech and cryptocurrency as well as KYC/CDD problems and other threats financial institutions face as a result of the digital revolution.

Prior to April 2021, Carol served as an Assistant United States Attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, California for over 15 years, most recently as the first (and still, only) female Chief in office history of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF” Section) which targeted international and significant domestic narcotics trafficking and money laundering organizations; racketeering enterprises; traditional and emerging transnational organized criminal enterprises, including those which utilize the dark net, cryptocurrency, and encrypted communications; and companies and individuals which manufacture and distribute opioids. She created and chaired various high-profile initiatives, task forces, and working groups and led community and law enforcement outreach efforts on behalf of the Department, and trained prosecutors and law enforcement including on courtroom and trial advocacy and building successful complex prosecutions. Carol oversaw the prosecution of dark net vendors and other online black market websites utilizing sophisticated encryption technology, including the successful collaboration with Germany and the Netherlands to shut down Wall Street Marketplace, one of the world’s largest dark web marketplaces that allowed vendors to sell a wide variety of contraband (including an array of illegal narcotics, counterfeit goods, and malicious computer hacking software) and charge its administrators with criminal violations, and the first federal case to charge an unlicensed money remitting business using a Bitcoin kiosk.

As the rare former federal prosecutor who served in both the Criminal and Civil Divisions of the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, California, Carol directed federal and local law enforcement in hundreds of complex federal criminal grand jury and wiretap investigations, evaluated thousands of investigations for federal prosecution, and defended the United States and its employees in significant torts, civil rights, employment discrimination, and immigration cases. In addition to being recognized for her work in private practice including by the Legal 500 and the Los Angeles Times, Carol’s handling of some of the most significant investigations and cases of the Department resulted in various accolades, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section’s 2019 Prosecutor of the Year Award, the OCDETF Director’s 2018 National Award for Outstanding Transnational Money Laundering Investigation of the Year,  and commendations from various federal and local law enforcement and community organizations.  She currently serves on the Boards of various non-profit organizations and as a mentor for numerous professional associations as well as for her alma maters, UCLA and Yale Law School, and teaches at USC Gould School of Law as an Adjunct Lecturer in Law.