Marissel Descalzo, Partner
Marissel Descalzo focuses her practice on white-collar criminal litigation, government investigations, and compliance. Ms. Descalzo has participated in numerous trials to verdict. She handles criminal and civil matters of vital importance to clients’ businesses or their personal lives. Individuals and organizations, accused of fraud and/or deceptive practices, rely on Marissel’s extensive experience to assist and advise them on corporate governance and compliance matters, including in the area of anti-money laundering. Ms. Descalzo regularly counsels companies from a variety of industries on the adoption and operation of their compliance programs and, in particular, assists companies in the health care industry and companies with overseas operations with internal investigations and ethics issues.
A sought-after speaker, Marissel presents on issues concerning white-collar litigation and government investigations at various industry and legal conferences. She has a blog to which she contributes frequently which you may sign up for here.
University of Miami School of Law (J.D., 2003), magna cum laude
Florida International University (B.A., 2000)
Qui Tam/Whistleblower Defense
White Collar Crime and Government Investigations
Florida State Courts
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Tax Court
United States v. A.P., Case No.1:21-cr-20420: Represented owner of a pharmacy charged with a conspiracy to pay kickbacks in exchange for patients. The client agreed to pled guilty, but not cooperate. Following sentencing presentation, the court sentenced client to a non-jail sentence of probation.
United States v. J.P., Case No. 1:21-cr-20301: Represented study coordinator accused of engaging in conspiracy to defraud in relation to clinical research trial. The Court granted a directed verdict in favor of client at the end of the trial.
United States v. D.M., Case No. 0:21-cr-60020: Represented CEO of a drug rehabilitation center accused of engaging in health care fraud. The court granted a Rule 29 at the end of the government’s case on two counts. While client was convicted of five counts, the evidence at trial ultimately mitigated his sentence and convinced the court that the government’s loss number was inflated. Particularly, the government claimed the loss figure was $112 million. At sentencing, the court found the loss figure to be $1.5 million.
Ms. Descalzo represents hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, pharmacies, and other health care providers, during government investigations and defends them in qui tam (whistle-blower) actions.
Represented owner of multiple nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which was touted by the Government as the largest Medicare fraud case in the Department of Justice history.
Represented doctor accused of accepting kickbacks in an opioid scheme. Government agreed not to prosecute.
Represented the owners of a pharmacy in a government investigation that was closed.
Represented the owner of a hospital in a Medicare fraud trial.
Represented hospital in response to a HIPAA breach that was a result of employee data theft. This involved: providing guidance during the investigative phase, including working with local law enforcement; reviewing findings to assist client in determining if breach occurred; and assisting with providing notice to the patients.
White Collar Criminal Litigation
Represented Venezuelan business executive in a matter involving allegations of money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to government officials in order to secure contracts from PDVSA.
Represented Ecuadorian business executive in connection with an investigation by the United States Department of Justice and foreign law enforcement authorities into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Represented father and son in a tax fraud trial and mitigated sentences after verdict.
Represented individual charged with securities fraud and mitigated sentence after verdict.
Oral Argument in the Florida Third District Court of Appeals that resulted in the reversal of a criminal conviction.
Represented client that was the victim of a scheme to defraud by vendors and former employees. Representation included conducting an internal investigation, making a comprehensive presentation to the government, and providing evidence that ultimately forced the guilty plea of six individuals. Additionally, represented the victim throughout the sentencing process and at a restitution hearing securing a $7 million restitution, which was ultimately collected.
Represented an individual accused and convicted of fraud and grand theft through an appeal where the conviction was reversed and the charges reduced to a misdemeanor.
Active in the community, Ms. Descalzo provides pro bono counsel to abused and neglected children through Lawyers for Children America. Ms. Descalzo also organizes an annual toy drive for foster children aging out of the foster care system.
Presenter, Data Mining and Other Health Care Fraud Enforcement Trends”, American Bar Association Health Care Fraud Institute (May 2018)
Presenter, Patient Assistance Programs, American Bar Association White Collar Criminal Defense Institute (March 2018)
Moderator, Defending Medical Necessity Investigations and Prosecutions, American Bar Association White Collar Criminal Defense Institute (March 2017)
Moderator, “Cybersecurity and Data Theft: Increasing Challenges and the Rise of Ransomware,” American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, Miami, FL (August 2016)
Co-Presenter, “Data Security: Best Practices in the Increasingly Likely Event of a Data Breach,” GrowFL CEO Roundtable, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (June 2016)
Presenter, “Asset Forfeiture and Freeze Orders: Everything you and John Oliver need to know,” ABA’s Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, San Diego, CA (March 2, 2016)
Presenter, “Criminalizing Conduct in the Food Industry: What you and your company need to know about now,” 2016 GMA Legal Conference, Rancho Mirage, CA (February, 24, 2016)
Co-Presenter, “Internal Data Theft & Whistleblowers,” South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association (SFHHA) Workforce Committee Meeting (June 2015)
Moderator, “The Ethics of Internal Investigations, Domestic and Abroad,” ABA Food & Supplements Fifth Annual Workshop, Omaha, NE (June 2015)
Panelist, “Looking Ahead: Healthcare Fraud and the False Claims Act in 2015,” ABA National Institute on Health Care Fraud, Miami Beach, FL (May 2015)
Panelist, “Emerging Issues in Healthcare Fraud,” National Institute on Health Care Fraud (May 13, 2015)
HNBA Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce Conference discussing Affordable Care Act provisions for victims of human trafficking (August 2014)
Antitrust Enforcement and Litigation in the Healthcare Industry, One Beacon Professional Insurance (May 2014)
“Attorney-Client Privilege,” American Bar Association (ABA) Litigation Section Annual Meeting (April 30-May 1, 2009).
“The Role of Privilege in Investigation and Prosecution of Corporations – What do Recent Changes Mean for Practitioners,” ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference (May 1, 2009).
Florida Legal Elite, White Collar (2018-2019)
Selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers, White Collar (2019)
Selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2013-2018)
Selected for inclusion in Daily Business Review Rising Stars (2016)
Professional & Civic Activities
American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section Council
Federal Bar Association, co-chair, Federal Bar Association, Women Lawyer’s Initiative
City Leader, Women White Collar Defense Association
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Cuban-American Bar Association
Dade County Bar Association
Tache, Bronis and Descalzo, P. A.
150 S.E. 2nd Avenue, Suite 600, Miami, FL 33131