New York (October 29, 2020) — Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, is pleased to announce that John D. (Don) Fort, the former Chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (CI) Division, has joined the firm as Director of Investigations. Fort departed the IRS at the end of September, after three years atop the IRS’s criminal enforcement arm and nearly 30 years at the agency. Mr. Fort will operate his practice out of K&F’s Washington, D.C. office.
Mr. Fort’s three decades of experience investigating financial crimes and his extensive network of connections both within the government and in private industry will prove invaluable to K&F’s broad client base of institutions and individuals facing high-stakes controversies and negotiations with government agencies. Mr. Fort will assist clients facing governmental investigations involving all manner of alleged financial and economic crimes, including tax crimes, money laundering, and Bank Secrecy Act violations. Mr. Fort also will play a central role in the firm’s internal investigations practice and will advise clients on compliance regimes. In addition, he will be available as an expert witness and for voluntary or court-mandated monitorships.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Don to K&F, and we’re confident that Don will strengthen and supplement Kostelanetz & Fink’s already deep bench in civil and criminal tax controversies and white-collar criminal defense,” said partner Bryan Skarlatos. “Don’s unique knowledge and insights into the government’s inner workings will help the firm continue providing the finest advice available and ensure that we secure the best outcomes possible for our clients.”
“I have long admired Kostelanetz & Fink’s tenacious advocacy and legal acumen, and I’m pleased to join the firm for this next chapter in my career,” said Mr. Fort. “I look forward to assisting clients in navigating the often thorny government investigations and negotiations process and bringing my experience and expertise to bear in strategically resolving our clients’ toughest challenges.”
Mr. Fort’s time in law enforcement included overseeing investigations of some of the most significant financial crimes ever investigated involving tax evasion, sanctions evasion, money laundering, bribery, international corruption, bank malfeasance, cyber and cryptocurrency crimes, and terrorist financing.
As both Chief and Deputy Chief of IRS-CI, Mr. Fort supervised numerous high-profile matters, including the college admissions scandal known as “Varsity Blues” that ensnared several celebrities; the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen federal tax investigations; the Michael Avenatti tax investigation; the takedown of the largest darknet child exploitation website funded by cryptocurrency; two Chinese nationals who were charged with laundering $100 million in the hack of a cryptocurrency exchange; the Swiss Bank Program in which 80 Swiss banks entered into agreements with the government and paid $1.36 billion in penalties; the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) worldwide money laundering, structuring, and tax evasion matter; the Credit Suisse guilty plea, and many more.
Mr. Fort began his IRS career in 1991 as a Special Agent in Baltimore, Maryland, and later served in various investigatory roles around the country, before being elevated to Deputy Director of Strategy, IRS-CI Headquarters in 2014. Mr. Fort was named Chief of IRS-CI in June 2017.
Mr. Fort has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management from Gettysburg College and is a licensed CPA in the State of Virginia.
About Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP
Over the past 75 years, Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, has built a global reputation as the law firm of choice for clients facing high-stakes controversies and negotiations with government agencies. K&F attorneys have unparalleled experience in tax controversies and white-collar criminal defense and are regularly called upon to handle the most challenging and sensitive cases and internal investigations. An important part of the firm’s practice includes tax and estate planning, commercial litigation, government procurement, and government contracting.