BMF’s unique level of experience in civil and criminal litigation communication made us the perfect choice to assist Austin, Texas-based Bernhoft Law in a highly complex 10-year criminal investigation and tax fraud case in Atlanta, Georgia, a project BMF participated in for nearly three years until its highly successful conclusion in late 2013.
In 2001, federal Customs and IRS agents opened an investigation into the family of Jerry Marchelletta Sr. and Jerry Jr., hard working and highly successful construction company owners whose only “crime” was to be former New York City residents and Italian-Americans in the construction trades. For nine years, federal authorities, working at times in tandem with organized labor seeking to unionize the Marchelletta’s company, hounded the Marchellettas and turned the family and the family business inside out seeking anything to justify the length and expense of their witch hunt.
Eventually, in 2007, Jerry Sr. and Jerry Jr., were charged with several counts of tax evasion, resulting in their conviction on nine counts, in a case and verdict even the presiding judge found “troubling”. Knowing their own innocence and the weakness of the government’s contrived case, the Marchelletta’s did the unthinkable: They fought back, hiring Bob Bernhoft and his aggressive team of criminal defense litigators, who proceeded to systematically turn the tables on the government and win unprecedented reversals and orders for acquittal for both the Marchellettas. In the end, the Marchellettas dared the government to bring new charges, hoping for a chance to fully vindicate themselves and to expose gross misconduct on the part of the government.
" Better judgment finally prevailed and the government dropped all charges and its costly and time consuming investigation."
During this lengthy appeal process, Bernhoft and the Marchellettas retained BMF to serve as media consultants to promote and publicize their case as a classic example of government over-reach and over-criminalization. BMF helped draw the attention of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and nationally recognized Heritage Foundation to the case, exposing government agents and their “convict at all cost” mentality that wasted millions of tax dollars in a failed and faulty attempt to punish successful business people and public minded taxpayers for crimes they never committed.
Today, the Marchelletta’s story is a classic case study of government misconduct and over-criminalization, and an example cited in numerous legal and constitutional seminars and workshops around the US. BMF is proud of its work for and friendship with the Marchellettas and grateful for an opportunity to have helped see justice done.