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About Jeff

At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jeff Vaden was responsible for directing criminal prosecutions and grand jury investigations in areas including U.S. export controls and sanctions, bank fraud, public corruption, immigration, money laundering, counterterrorism, and national security. His honors include the Director’s Award for Superior Performance in 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary’s Award in 2007, and the 20th Anniversary National Award, Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force in 2002.

He has worked on domestic and international matters with federal law enforcement and investigative agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Commerce-Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, Department of the Treasury, Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Secret Service, U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service.

He’s very well respected among the white-collar Bar and has a good deal of experience when it comes to working with energy companies.
Chambers USA, 2022


Recent Notable Matters

Global Geophysical Services Company — obtained a declination from the DOJ’s Fraud Section in relation to an investigation of allegations of FCPA violations in Iraq

Individual — currently representing an executive in a FCPA matter related to the Unaoil investigation

An individual — currently representing in a Federal Bureau of Investigation heath care fraud investigation in the Southern District of Texas

Chief operating officer — U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs OIG-CID investigation where client was the only executive of the health care company not indicted and convicted 

A pharmacy and its owner — Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service drug diversion, money laundering and health care fraud investigation

A regional fuel transportation company — Environmental Protection Agency grand jury investigation in the Western District of Texas. The investigation closed without any enforcement action

As prosecutor — lead counsel in an export controls and sanctions investigation of a multinational oil field services company, which included collaboration with DOJ's Fraud Section and the SEC on potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, as well as coordination with a parallel proceeding with the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control*

As prosecutor — led the successful prosecution for illegal sales of U.S.-origin computer equipment to Syria under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and coordinated a parallel administrative action and export denial order for the business*

As prosecutor — led an investigation and successful prosecution of a real estate broker for money laundering in a mortgage fraud case involving “straw purchasers,” fraudulent appraisals, false tax returns and the laundering of drug proceeds*

As prosecutor — lead counsel in a narco-terrorism case involving the AUC (Autodefensas Unidos de Colombia), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and its efforts to obtain weapons in exchange for cocaine. The case included the first defendant ever extradited from Colombia on terrorism charges*

As prosecutor — successfully prosecuted an individual attempting to sell an explosive device to an undercover agent posing as an Al-Qaeda operative*

As prosecutor — trial co-counsel in the largest loss-of-life alien-smuggling incident in modern United States history*

* Work completed prior to Bracewell

Publications and Speeches

Co-panelist, "National Security, Economic Espionage, and Sanctions: The Challenges of a Flattening World," ABA National Institute of White Collar Crime, March 6, 2019

Co-panelist, “Financial Crimes Outside the U.S.: Money Laundering, Exports & Sanctions Enforcement,” NACDL 8th Annual West Coast White Collar Conference, June 21, 2018

Co-panelist, "Under the Bus: Ethical Considerations in Corporate / White Collar Cases; Representing Corporations and Individuals," Southern District of Texas, Bench Bar Conference, November 3, 2017

Co-panelist,The Art of the Snitch: Defending Them; Attacking Them,” NACDL West Coast White Collar Conference, July 23, 2017.

Co-panelist, "Liability for Cross-Border Activity: Increasing Enforcement of Economic Sanctions and Export Control Laws," ABA National Institute of White Collar Crime, March 8, 2017.

Co-panelist, “Advising the GC on the Strategies, Issues, and Themes in the Trial,” ABA First Annual Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Mock Trial Institute, November 17, 2016

Co-panelist, “Avoiding Indictment: The FCPA & Prosecutorial Discretion,” Business Crimes for Civil and Criminal Lawyers CLE, October 13, 2016

"DOJ Announces First Declinations After Implementing FCPA Pilot Program," Corporate Compliance Insights, June 22, 2016.

"Critical Moments & Critical Decisions: Conducting and Defending Congressional & Internal Investigations," South Asian Bar Association Conference, May 14, 2016.

"What to Do When the Government Comes Knocking," Association of Corporate Counsel, Houston, January 14, 2014.

"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance," Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce Insight Series, November 20, 2013.

"In-House Complexities of Internal Investigations," Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professionals, November 13, 2013.

"Government Enforcement of Export Controls and Economic Sanctions: Perspectives from a Former Prosecutor," American Petroleum Institute’s International Trade & Customs Conference, March 18, 2013.

"Detecting Corruption in Your Local Operations: How to Conduct Effective Risk Assessments in High Risk Markets," American Conference Institute's FCPA Boot Camp, January 24, 2013.

"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Emerging Trends, Compliance and Ethical Issues," Houston Bar Association, July 26, 2012.



University of Houston Law Center,
The University of Texas at Arlington,

Bar Admissions



State Bar of Texas
Houston Bar Association
American Bar Association
Houston Lawyers Association
Crime Stoppers of Houston
Board of Directors, 2013
Texas Bar Foundation
ABA White Collar Crime Committee, South Texas Region
Co-Chair, 2016



Biggest Texas Cases of 2019

Texas Cases to Watch in 2019

Biggest Texas Cases of 2018

A Unified Team Equals Success

Driver part of larger human-smuggling scheme

Sessions Lays Out Tough Policy on Undocumented Who Commit Crimes





Chambers USA
Texas Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2017 - 2023
The Legal 500 United States
Dispute Resolution - Corporate Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense, 2017 - 2020, 2023; Energy: Regulatory, 2013
The National Black Lawyers
Top 100
White Collar Criminal Defense, 2015
BL Rankings
Best Lawyers
Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2018 - 2024
Lawdragon Inc.
Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America
White-Collar and Investigations, 2024
U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for United States Attorneys
Director's Award, 2008
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Assistant Secretary Award, 2007
Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force
20th Anniversary National Award, 2002
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Performance Award, 2001, Sisyphus Award, 2005