I connected with Ron Chapman through LinkedIn, where we often commented on each other’s posts about sentencing and mitigation. A few weeks ago, after I posted a video describing why some white-collar defense attorneys were averse to working with consultants, Ron commented.

“Justin, the issue is that in your industry there are a lot of vultures. Big promises of RDAP admission, programs, mitigation success. Most are working off of false or outdated knowledge of BOP policy. In addition, any field that intersects law will be highly skeptical to lawyers who’ve worked for decades perfecting their craft.

You seem to be different, and I see value in what you offer. My only remaining concern is that others will continue to mimic you with a cheaper and a less honest service.

We need to be on guard for these types of people because they cause real damage to vulnerable people during vulnerable times.

It’s all about helping people facing Government scrutiny, and as long as we’re rowing in that direction, I’m happy. Ron Chapman”

Based on that comment, I asked Ron if he would join me for an interview. I knew his honesty, skillset, and professionalism would make him a wonderful asset to the White Collar Advice community.

Ron’s Journey into Criminal Defense

As Ron expressed in our video, his journey into criminal defense started in the Marine Corps, where he initially served as a prosecutor. He found more satisfaction in “ripping the wires out” of the government’s case than in building it, which led him to switch to defense work. Now, he primarily represents physicians and healthcare entities facing federal investigations related to healthcare fraud and opiate prescribing cases.

Vulnerability of Defendants

One of the main topics we discussed was defendants’ vulnerability. As we often do, Ron highlighted the dangers of misleading marketing and unethical practitioners who prey on the desperate. He stressed the importance of choosing lawyers carefully and being wary of those who promise unrealistic outcomes. What do I say in every video? WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST OR GUARANTEE AN OUTCOME.

Contrary to some defense attorneys who suggest waiting, Ron advocates for immediate action when a target letter is received, or any indication of an investigation arises. This involves engaging compliance professionals, conducting self-audits, and preparing for a thorough defense. The Department of Justice is always working, and so should the defendant.

Understanding the Client

Ron noted that a successful defense requires an understanding of the client’s personality and actions. This knowledge is crucial, especially in trial settings where the attorney must effectively convey the defendant’s story to the jury.

Decisions: Trial vs. Plea Deal with Ron Chapman

Our conversation then moved to the difficult decisions defendants face, particularly between going to trial and accepting a plea deal. Ron shared a story about a physician, Dr. Thomas Sachy, who initially pleaded guilty under pressure but successfully withdrew his plea and won his case at trial. This story illustrates the importance of fully understanding the implications of a plea agreement.

Issue of Overcharging White Collar Defendants

Ron and I also discussed the issue of overcharging. Ron expressed concerns about prosecutors who stack multiple charges to compel defendants to plead guilty, often involving family members to increase pressure. This practice can lead to unjust outcomes, and Ron stressed the need for a more balanced approach to charging decisions.

National Practice

Despite being based in Michigan, Ron’s focus on healthcare law allows him to represent clients across the country. His national practice underscores the importance of specialized knowledge in navigating complex regulatory environments like healthcare.

The Sentencing Process

Finally, we touched on the sentencing process. Ron emphasized the importance of defendants understanding the sentencing guidelines and the potential consequences of plea agreements. He encouraged defendants to become vested in their case and actively engage with their attorneys to ensure they understand each step in the process.

Insights into Prosecutors’ Mindset With Ron Chapman

Ron’s insights into the mindset of prosecutors were insightful. He described how motivations can vary widely among prosecutors, from those driven by a sense of justice to others possibly influenced by career ambitions or bureaucratic inertia. Understanding these motivations can help defendants and their lawyers better anticipate prosecutorial strategies and prepare accordingly.

I am grateful Ron took the time to join us and offer his insights. If you are seeking guidance in a healthcare case, it is clear Ron is someone you should consider calling.

Justin Paperny

P.S. To learn more about Ron’s work, visit the links below: