Ronald A. Sarachan

Phone: (215) 988-1122 (215) 988-1122
Fax: (215) 988-2757


Ronald A. Sarachan represents clients in government investigations and white collar litigation. With over 30 years’ experience in the area, Ron has defended corporate clients ranging from Fortune 500 multinationals to closely held corporations, successfully convincing the government not to bring charges in a wide range of white collar matters, including alleged defense procurement fraud, securities, bank and financial frauds, health care fraud, technology export violations and public corruption. Ron regularly represents individual owners, officers, directors, managers, and rank-and-file employees in government investigations and white collar litigation. He has also conducted numerous internal investigations for clients in the financial, energy, telecommunications, gas and oil, chemical, government contracting and manufacturing industries. Ron serves as co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations practice and is also a member of the Environment and Energy practice group.

Ron has extraordinary experience in the areas of environmental litigation and environmental crimes, starting with many years of distinguished government service. He served as Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section in the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he supervised a staff of 30 federal prosecutors and the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes throughout the United States. He advised the Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division on policy and legislation. He assisted in the training of federal and state prosecutors and law enforcement agents. Before his tenure as Chief of Environmental Crimes, Ron served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Philadelphia, where he co-founded the Philadelphia Environmental Crimes Task Force. The Task Force brought together federal, state and City of Philadelphia law enforcement agents and environmental regulators for the first time, and successfully investigated and prosecuted many serious and repeat criminal offenders. Before law school, Ron worked at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management as Special Assistant to the General Counsel and to the Director. Since entering private practice over 20 years ago, Ron has successfully defended clients in a wide range of alleged environmental criminal matters. He focuses on cases arising from serious industrial accidents, where he brings to bear his vast experience with government law enforcement and regulatory agencies to counsel on emergency response and to handle the government investigations. Chambers USA has identified Ron as “the preeminent authority” and the “go-to guy” for white collar crime work in the environmental arena.

Ron’s service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in E.D.Pa., including as Senior Litigation Counsel and Chief of Major Crimes, informs all his white collar defense work. As a federal prosecutor, Ron prosecuted and tried a wide range of cases, including official corruption, financial fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, government procurement fraud, environmental crime, drug trafficking and interstate theft. In addition to white collar litigation, Ron advises corporate boards and officers on compliance and ethics programs, risk assessment and management, and disclosure and governance issues. He regularly handles complex civil litigation, including qui tam litigation under the False Claims Act, bet-the-company environmental litigation, oil and gas litigation, and other complex commercial litigation.

Ron is on the faculty of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches undergraduate and MBA classes on business ethics and corporate responsibility. He writes and lectures regularly on white collar and environmental topics. In addition to being recognized by Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Ron is also listed in The International Who’s Who of Business Crime Defence, as one of approximately 500 internationally recommended lawyers for defense of white collar government enforcement and investigations.


  • Represented oil and gas company in federal criminal investigation of corporate transactions and leasing practices. The case was declined.
  • Represented electric utility in criminal investigation in connection with power-generating facility’s alleged violations of surface water discharge permit resulting in major fishkill. Criminal prosecution was declined. Also successfully represented the client in a related regulatory enforcement action, resulting in no adverse action being taken by the government.
  • Represented a corporate employee who instructed subordinates to dispose of toxic chemicals down a drain, resulting in the closure of a local water body for recreational use. Criminal prosecution of both the employee and the corporation was declined.
  • Represented an oil refinery plant manager in connection with an explosion at the refinery and a worker fatality. Criminal prosecution of the client was declined.
  • Represented utility company against allegations that its workers routinely discharged contaminated wastewater from manholes. Criminal prosecution was declined.
  • Represented oil field services company in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster. All civil charges against client were dismissed on summary judgment.
  • Represented manufacturer against allegations that it failed to maintain environmental control equipment, resulting in Clean Air Act violations. Criminal prosecution was declined.
  • Represented chemical company in connection with facility explosion and a worker fatality. Government enforcement resolved with state OSHA penalty of less than $15,000.
  • Represented nonprofit organization in criminal investigation of alleged violations of Marine Mammal Protection Act arising from filming of migrating whales. Criminal prosecution was declined.
  • Represented crew member of oil tanker in criminal investigation of alleged violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. No criminal charges were brought.
  • Conducted risk assessment for Fortune 500 manufacturing company and made recommendations to the Board of Directors and senior management on how to modify its organization and operations to reduce vulnerability to toxic tort actions. All recommendations were accepted and implemented.
  • Conducted internal investigation of alleged failures by chemical manufacturing plant to make required disclosures of chemical releases to the environment. Investigation demonstrated that no reportable events had occurred.
  • Conducted internal investigation of alleged environmental violations at oil refinery. Investigation identified gaps in procedures. Rewrote facility’s environmental compliance procedures to address gaps.
  • Defended client manufacturer in civil litigation for groundwater contamination brought by dozens of neighbors in residential area served by well water. Case settled for nominal amount ($30,000).

  • Represented Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College and a university professor against allegations of scientific research misconduct and misuse of federal research funds. Case was dismissed on summary judgment.
  • Represented Aker Shipbuilding Company against multimillion-dollar claims that federal training monies had been misspent. The action was resolved pretrial with a stipulation by the relator that the case was being dismissed because the client committed no fraud.

  • Represented senior corporate manager of pharmaceutical company in charge of marketing in connection with grand jury investigation in Southern District of New York of alleged off-label marketing and Anti-Kickback Statute violations. Criminal prosecution was declined.
  • Acted as pool counsel representing numerous employees of pharmaceutical company in connection with grand jury investigation in District of Massachusetts.
  • Represented sales and marketing employees of pharmaceutical company in connection with grand jury investigation in Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Criminal charges were declined.

  • Represented the former CEO of a sole-source defense contractor charged with multimillion-dollar defense procurement fraud. On the eve of trial, the government offered a plea to a misdemeanor of failing to keep tax record for R&D performed on behalf of the company. Client received a sentence of probation for his one-count misdemeanor plea.
  • Represented military contractor alleged to have exported ITAR-controlled technical data, including to China, in hundreds of transactions. Criminal prosecution was declined.


Chambers USA, Pennsylvania, Environment (2012–2017)
Who's Who Legal: Investigations (2014)

Awards Methodology (

Ronald Sarachan is highly regarded for his expertise on environmental white collar crime. He is a respected choice to advise on investigations and criminal litigation.

Chambers USA

Recognized as 'the preeminent authority' for environmental white-collar crimes as well as 'very articulate and able to give very practical advice.'

Chambers USA


Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Pennsylvania


  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., magna cum laude
  • Brown University, B.S., magna cum laude


  • American Bar Association, White Collar Crime Section, Environmental Crimes Subcommittee, Co-Chair
  • Federal Bar Association, Criminal Law Committee
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association 
  • Practising Law Institute
  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Lecturer on Corporate Responsibility and Ethics