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Vanessa Singh Johannes

Vanessa Singh Johannes

Of Counsel

Overview

Vanessa Singh Johannes is an experienced trial attorney whose practice focuses on complex criminal and civil matters. For a decade, she served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, trying dozens of federal jury trials and handling appellate matters before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In private practice, she has represented clients in a variety of white collar matters involving fraud, antitrust, and environmental issues.

In her distinguished career as a federal prosecutor, Vanessa investigated, indicted, and tried cases involving crimes such as fraud and money laundering, espionage, arms trafficking, child exploitation, human trafficking, and violent crimes. She also handled investigations into affirmative civil rights violations. Vanessa has deep working knowledge and experience with all phases of government investigations — from grand jury inquiries to weekslong jury trials. During her tenure in the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vanessa served in the Special Prosecutions, Civil Rights, Major Crimes, and Appellate units. More recently, she also served as the district’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, assisting federal agents and child exploitation prosecutors with training and case preparedness, as well as investigating and intaking all of the child exploitation cases in Miami. Vanessa earned the prestigious Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2018 for her work prosecuting Christopher Glenn, a U.S. citizen and Department of Defense contractor, who committed cyber espionage, theft of classified materials, and sex trafficking of minors in Honduras. 

As a tenured federal prosecutor, Vanessa led several multiagency investigations and developed close working relationships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Miami-Dade Police Department.

In private practice, Vanessa has a track record of representing Fortune 500 companies in complex litigation. Her notable matters include representing a large financial institution in multibillion-dollar federal antitrust litigation; a nonprofit foundation in a lawsuit against a purported hedge fund manager, who ran a million-dollar Ponzi scheme in New York; a large telecommunications company in an environmental toxic tort litigation in federal court; and corporate executives accused of federal health care fraud and money laundering violations.

Born in Guyana, and raised in South Miami, Vanessa is devoted to giving back to her community. She has volunteered as a writing coach for the Posse Foundation, which provides minority high school students with college scholarships and training in writing and leadership skills. Vanessa is also involved in the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association and the Caribbean Bar Association.

Experience

Tried more than 25 cases before a federal jury as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Jury trial victories include the following prosecutions:

  • A high school teacher for enticing a minor student to engage in sexual relations.
  • A former military contractor for sexually trafficking Honduran minors.
  • A violent Haitian gang leader and pimp for brandishing, beating, and sexually trafficking women.
  • A long-distance truck driver for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman.
  • A city of Miami firefighter for distribution of infant and toddler child pornography.
  • A Russian organization for operating a sex trafficking and money laundering conspiracy under the guise of a high-end escort agency.
  • An aerospace executive for arranging and orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot against his business partner, which was fortunately prevented by an FBI informant.

Representative civil matters include:

  • Represented a Fortune 500 financial institution in a billion-dollar antitrust litigation in federal court.
  • Represented a nonprofit foundation in a lawsuit against a purported hedge fund manager who ran a million-dollar Ponzi scheme in New York.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 telecommunications company in an environmental toxic tort litigation in federal court.
  • Represented various corporations’ litigation interests in bankruptcy court.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association
  • Caribbean Bar Association
  • Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Bar Association
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
    • Fellow (2022)
  • Miami Beach Bar Association

Speaking Engagements

  • "Redistricting: The Legal Parameters of Redistricting ... Where Does It End?," Miami Law Con (April 22, 2022)
  • "The Future of Sentencing: A Look at the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," American Constitution Society, Florida Chapter (June 28, 2021)

Credentials

Education
  • Duke University School of Law (J.D., 2006)
  • University of Florida (B.A., summa cum laude, 2003)
Bar Admissions
  • Florida
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

Disclaimer

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