Robert F. Katzberg has been a partner in Kaplan & Katzberg since the partnership’s formation in 1977. After receiving his B.A. degree from Brooklyn College, Mr. Katzberg graduated cum laude from the George Washington University Law School and was a member of its Law Review. Upon graduation he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Oliver Gasch, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia from 1971 to 1972. He then served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 1972 to 1977. In 1976 he received the U.S. Department of Justice’s Special Achievement Award for his work prosecuting complex tax and political corruption cases.
Mr. Katzberg served as Co-Chairman of the American Bar Association’s White Collar Committee on Money Laundering and Forfeiture (1993-1999), was a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers (1989-1991), and was a Member of the Board of Directors of the Eastern District U.S. Attorneys Association from 1989 through 2009. He has taught at Benjamin Cardozo Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program (1989 to the present), the Legal Aid Society’s Trial Advocacy Program (1990-1994), the Rutgers Law School Clinical Trial Program for Federal Defenders (2013), and has been a featured speaker/panelist in numerous New York County Bar Association continuing education programs for practicing attorneys. He has been cited in The International Who’s Who of Business Defense Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in New York (New York Magazine) and Super Lawyers, each in the “white collar criminal” category. His most recent publications include articles on the U.S. Department of Justice Program for Swiss Banks co-authored with William Sharp, Esq. and Alan Granwell, Esq. published in The International Tax Review, February 12, 2014, www.internationaltaxreview.com/Article/3308793, and in Tax Notes International Magazine on March 10, 2014. Earlier pieces include an article on the I.R.S. Voluntary Disclosure Program, co-authored with William Sharp, Esq., that can be found in Volume 57, Number 8, February 22, 2010 of Tax Notes International Magazine.
Over the years Mr. Katzberg has represented clients in many of New York City’s best known white collar investigations and prosecutions, beginning in the mid 1980s with the representation of Martin Solomon, a software executive caught up in the New York City Parking Violations Bureau scandal. Katzberg’s successful defense of Solomon was the subject of a feature article in The Manhattan Lawyer magazine. He thereafter represented one of Harry Helmsley’s long time real estate partners in the investigation and prosecution of Harry and Leona Helmsley; a Drexel, Burnham Lambert principal in the investigation and prosecution of Michael Milken; a NYSE floor broker in parallel proceedings brought against floor brokers by the New York Stock Exchange, the U.S. Justice Department and the SEC; and successfully defended many of New York City’s top art galleries in the N.Y. County District Attorney’s investigation of widespread sales tax fraud in the sale of major works of art. He has represented numerous American and international clients in civil and criminal asset forfeiture matters, including the Justice Department’s seminal international money laundering sting, “Operation Polar Cap.” He has appeared on television news programs in the U.S. and Switzerland and has often been quoted in major American publications concerning the prosecution of UBS and related offshore tax issues (New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg). Mr. Katzberg was the subject of a feature article in the Spring 2003 George Washington University Magazine. The article quotes a colleague as describing him as the “go to guy” in New York. It also quotes a Southern District of New York federal prosecutor in a trial in which Katzberg’s client was acquitted as follows: “Katzberg is the best cross-examiner I’ve ever seen, a formidable adversary. He commands the courtroom.”
Among his most newsworthy courtroom victories was the acquittal of Chicago attorney Richard Joseph in one of the country’s first currency transaction reporting prosecutions, the acquittal of Andrew Hanna, a Las Vegas businessman charged under the federal RICO statute in Newark, New Jersey and the acquittal of a real estate developer charged with extortion in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Katzberg was co-trial counsel for Mark Belnick, Tyco International’s General Counsel, acquitted of all charges in July 2004. In 2008 Mr. Katzberg successfully defended Patrick Murphy, a Goldman Sachs New York Stock Exchange Specialist, who was one of fifteen New York Stock Exchange Specialists accused of trading ahead of customer orders. At the conclusion of a six week trial, all charges against Mr. Murphy were dismissed, making him the only Specialist to be completely exonerated. The Wall Street Journal, in reporting on the Specialists trial, called Mr. Katzberg’s defense presentation the “highlight” of the case.
Mr. Katzberg has most recently been involved in multiple aspects of the international banking controversy between the United States and Switzerland concerning undeclared Swiss accounts maintained by American taxpayers. In this regard, he has successfully entered dozens of U.S. taxpayers in the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Programs, has negotiated non-prosecution agreements for nine U.S. citizens who were not eligible for voluntary disclosure and accordingly, faced prosecution, represented a major Swiss banking executive named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the prosecution of Swiss Bank Wegelin, and successfully negotiated a non-prosecution agreement for a high ranking banker working for one of the Swiss banks now targeted by the U.S. for prosecution. He is currently counsel to five Swiss banks applying to the Justice Department’s Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks.