Joseph A. Rillotta


Joseph A. Rillotta assists clients at all stages of various government investigations, with a particular emphasis on tax controversies. He has significant experience in both prosecution and defense, having served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, and as counsel to professionals and corporate officers on IRS and grand jury investigations.

Joe joined the firm from the Internal Revenue Service where he was Counselor to the Commissioner. In this capacity, he advised the IRS Commissioner and Chief Counsel on allegations of misconduct by IRS personnel and oversaw agency responses to Congressional and Inspector General inquiries. Prior to his time at the IRS, Joe was counsel at a leading Washington, D.C., litigation firm, where he advised clients facing government investigations, conducted internal investigations, and represented clients in criminal and civil litigation. Prior to that, he spent six years in the Tax Division at the U.S. Department of Justice where he investigated and prosecuted tax and financial crimes in matters ranging from large-scale grand jury investigations to jury trials, bench trials and appellate proceedings.


Joe has worked on various criminal defense and investigations matters, encompassing allegations concerning both tax and non-tax offenses. In cases where tax issues are the focus, Joe’s work has involved:

  • Counseling professionals, small business owners, and corporate officers with respect to IRS, grand jury and state revenue authority investigations.
  • Advocating for non-prosecution and for the favorable resolution of criminal tax matters.
  • Advocating for the abatement or reduction of civil tax and Title 31 penalties.
  • Working with accountants to reconstruct income and expense items.
  • Preparing and delivering presentations to IRS-Criminal Investigation agents and federal prosecutors.
  • Working with foreign co-counsel to advise bank officers in civil and criminal fraud cases, including in connection with the DOJ Tax Division’s Swiss Bank Program.

Joe’s work on additional financial crimes and white-collar matters includes:

  • Representing individuals and businesses in public corruption and procurement fraud investigations.
  • Counseling individual clients and organizations concerning alleged FCPA and securities laws violations.
  • Defending corporate executives and managers against allegations of environmental crimes and regulatory violations.

Joe has worked with clients on a variety of internal investigations. Sample representations include:

  • Representing professional services firms in connection with grand jury investigations into tax shelters and other allegedly abusive transactions.
  • Conducting due diligence investigations concerning potential FCPA and UK Bribery Act implications of proposed acquisitions by U.S. investors of foreign companies, and recommending remediation and risk mitigation measures regarding such transactions.
  • Advising importers with respect to potential violations of customs laws.
  • Counseling businesses and nonprofit organizations that are the victims of embezzlement and intellectual property theft. This has entailed working with law enforcement and insurance carriers to mitigate losses, as well advising clients on preventative measures going forward.

Joe has represented clients in the U.S. Tax Court, and in other federal and state courts throughout the country. His experience includes:

  • Contesting the IRS’s assessment of tax and imposition of penalties.
  • Defending nonprofit organizations against allegations bearing on their tax-exempt status.
  • Defending auditors, accountants, attorneys and other professionals against allegations of malpractice and misconduct, including in licensure revocation proceedings.
  • Defending clients in False Claims Act litigation and investigations, at both the federal and state levels.


Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland


  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 2003, cum laude
  • Harvard College, A.B., 1999, magna cum laude

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
  • U.S. Tax Court


  • American Bar Association, Section on Taxation (Civil and Criminal Penalties Committee)
    • Chair, Subcommittee on Monetary Violations and Forfeitures
  • American Bar Association, Section on Litigation