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David F. Axelrod

Huntington Center
41 South High Street
Suite 2400
Columbus, OH 43215


K.C. Klusty

David’s practice concentrates on responding to his clients’ most difficult legal challenges, which may include:

  • Civil and criminal tax controversies
  • Other financial crimes
  • Public corruption
  • Regulatory enforcement matters
  • Business litigation

He also regularly advises clients throughout the country on matters, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, corporate compliance programs, internal investigations, the False Claims Act, and health care fraud.

David was formerly a director in Deloitte Forensic and Dispute Services, where he co-led and led multi-disciplinary investigative teams in two European countries in what was then the largest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation in history. Prior to Deloitte, he was a partner in another major law firm where he handled both U.S.-based and international matters. As a special prosecutor for the State of Ohio, he prosecuted the largest Blue Sky securities case in the state’s history, culminating in a jury trial lasting almost six months. In addition, as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney for the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice, David investigated and prosecuted a variety of white collar, narcotics, and other criminal cases. Upon graduation from law school, he was a law clerk for United States District Judge David Porter, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Representative Matters

  • Conducted an internal investigation for a public company into unlawful transactions with Cuban entities through subsidiaries in Canada and Spain.  Assisted the company in making voluntary disclosures to the U.S.Department of Justice, the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  As a result, no enforcement action taken against the company or any of its directors, officers or employees.
  • Represented a physician who was a target in a multi-year health care fraud investigation involving allegations of false diagnoses and billing fraud.Client avoided indictment and the statute of limitations has expired.All other known targets have been indicted and entered agreements to plead guilty.
  • As a special prosecutor for the State of Ohio, prosecuted the largest state securities fraud case in the history of the state, culminating in a trial lasting almost six months with verdicts of guilty on hundreds of counts of securities fraud.
  • Successfully represented a multi-billion dollar company in a customs investigation involving suspected double invoicing to evade duties, conducted an internal investigation and persuaded the government not to take enforcement action against the company or any of its directors, officers or employees.
  • Successfully represented a multi-billion dollar company in False Claims Act and government investigations involving alleged transshipment of merchandise in violation of U.S. Customs laws and conducted an internal investigation which led to a successful outcome.
  • Successfully prosecuted grievances against two judicial candidates, including hearings before the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline.  One resulted in the candidate being fined, ordered to pay attorney fees and reprimanded.The other resulted in the candidate being fined and ordered to pay attorney fees.Penalties affirmed by the Ohio Supreme Court.
  • Briefed and argued precedent-setting case, reversing the district court and establishing that a lawyer’s failure to identify the party for whom he made currency deposits caused the financial institution to file false currency transaction reports and therefore was an indictable offense. 


  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2015 - 2019
  • Ohio Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine, 2004 - 2006, 2010 - 2019; Top 100 Ohio and Top 50 Columbus, 2015, 2017
  • Who's Who in American Law (9th Edition)

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Columbus Bar Association
  • Columbus Bar Association, Chair, Audit Committee (member, 2008 - present)
  • Liaison between American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and White Collar Crime Project of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • COSI, Community Board, 2014 - present
  • Jewish Family Services, Counsel to the Board, 2013 - present
  • Temple Israel, Board of Trustees, 2009 - 2015
  • Life Member, Judicial Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • Jewish Family Services, Board of Trustees, 2009 - 2013
  • Columbus Jewish Day School, Board of Trustees, 2003 - 2010
  • Member, United States Sentencing Commission Practitioners Advisory Group, 1992 - 2006
  • Adjunct Professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Winter 2005 - 2006
  • Chair, Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties, American Bar Association Tax Section, 1999 - 2001 (presently co-chair, Subcommittee on Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture)

News Releases


07.15.2016"Should the FBI Have Sought Clinton's Prosecution?" The Columbus Dispatch
07.14.2016"Comey Made the Best of No-Win Situation," Cincinnati Enquirer
05.23.2013"A Rock and a Hard Place:  Don't Become a Client's Surrogate in Communicating with the Government," insights Newsletter
04.08.2013"A Rock and a Hard Place:  Don’t Become a Client’s Surrogate in Communicating With the Government," American Bar Association, White Collar Crime Committee Newsletter, Winter 2013
11.14.2012"Violating Federal Regs Can Have Criminal Consequences"
11.14.2012"Criminal Law Places Corporations at Odds with Employees (Second of a Series)," Columbus Business First
11.14.2012"IRS Renews Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosure Initiative"
11.14.2012"IRS Reportedly Threatens to Challenge the Use of Kovel Accountants in Criminal Tax Cases"
11.14.2012"Offshore Accounts in the Bullseye: IRS Targets Customers at 20 More Swiss Banks"
11.14.2012"Clock is Ticking for Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosures"
11.14.2012"Swiss Court Ruling May Scuttle U.S./Swiss Accord"
06.21.2010"Swiss Legislature Approves Deal for Disclosure of Secret Accounts, Raising Stakes for U.S. Customers of Swiss Banks"
05.2010"Parallel IRS (and Other) Civil and Criminal Proceedings Now Intersect"
12.2009"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act:  Why It Matters to Ohio Businesses," Columbus CEO Magazine
09.04.2009"First Circuit Decision May Narrow Work-Product Protection," The Daily Reporter - Columbus Bar Friday
08.2008"Conflict of Interests:  EU Data Protection Statutes and US Corporate Investigations," The Champion
06.23.2007"Duke Case Shows Need to Reassess the Broad Powers Afforded to Prosecutors," Columbus Dispatch OpEd
03.2007"Electronic Records — Getting a Grip on Litigation Holds," Business Crimes Bulletin, (co-author)
12.2006"Getting Up to Speed on e-Discovery:  Avoiding Unpleasant Surprises in Future Litigation," Deloitte Financial Advisory Services White Paper
06.2006"New Rules for Electronic Records?"  Business Crimes Bulletin, (co-author)
03.02.2006"Opening Pandora's Box: Locating Electronic Documents to be Produced in Discovery," ABA 2006 National Institute on White-collar Crime
02.04.2006"Scales of Justice Tipping Toward Prosecution," Columbus Dispatch OpEd
07.2005"The Best Defense Against Regulatory Action is an Effective Compliance Program," Metropolitan Corporate Counsel
10.08.2004"Guidelines Toughened for Fighting Illegal Acts," Columbus Business First
07.22.2004"Stewart Case Underscores Sentencing Guideline Flaws," Columbus Dispatch OpEd
06.2004"What You Should Know About Obstruction of Justice," Ohio State Bar Association News You Can Use
06.2004"Obstruction of Justice Takes Many Forms," Ohio State Bar Association News You Can Use
06.01.2004"Obstruction of Justice:  Definitions, Penalties," Columbus Daily Reporter
02.25.2004"Putting Stewart on Stand Would Have Been Iffy," Columbus Dispatch
05.2003"A Few Observations About Compliance Recordkeeping:  Between a Rock and a Hard Place," Georgetown University Advanced State & Local Tax Institute
04.2003"White-collar Offenders' Most Frequently Asked Questions [or, "You Can't Win Them All"]," The Champion 
03.06.2003"Sending a Carbon Copy to the Government:  The Duty to Search for Electronic Documents," ABA 2003 National Institute on White-collar Crime
11.2002"Corporate Compliance After Enron: Know the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Columbus CEO
02.28.2002"The "New" Tax Laws - 26 U.S.C. Section 7212(a) and the One-Person Conspiracy," ABA 2002 National Institute on White-collar Crime
02.28.2002"The Role of the Internet in the Investigation and Defense of White-collar Cases," ABA 2002 National Institute on White-collar Crime
11.09.2001"Local Attorney Warns Business Owners:  “Know Your Customer”," Columbus Daily Reporter
08.2001"Hard Times With Hard Drives:  Paperless Evidence Issues That Can't Be Papered Over," The Champion
09.2000"The Sentencing “Guidelines” for Organizations:  Still Writing on a Clean Slate," Corporate Counsel magazine, three part series, September, October and November 2000
2000"Insufficient Discovery and Inadequate Hearings:  A Proposal to Cure Current Shortfalls in the Federal Sentencing System," Federal Sentencing Guidelines Reporter
06.13.1998"Starr Risks Being Branded a Heel in History," Columbus Dispatch
"Crime Doesn't Pay - But Counsel May (What Every Practitioner Needs to Know About Criminal Exposure in the Everyday Practice of Law)," Corporate Counsel's Quarterly, January 1994 and ABA Criminal Justice Magazine, Fall 1993
1993"Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement in the Heartland:  Ohio's Example," CompliNet
1993"Criminal Law in the Boardroom:  Corporate Officers Become Police Officers," CEO Magazine
1993"Extraterritorial Jurisdiction in Asset Forfeiture Cases:  United States v. Swiss American Bank," Money Laundering Law Report


Events and Presentations

12.08.2016"The Next Wave: The Government’s Focus on US Investments to Evade Foreign Taxes," American Bar Association Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and the Sixth Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy
10.20.2015Columbus Seminar - How Will Legalized Marijuana Affect My Business?
06.05.2015"Litigation Management for In-House Counsel"
05.29.2014"Crisis Management"
05.30.2013"Cost Effective Compliance"
12.05.2012 - 12.07.2012"Ask the Experts: Top Criminal Tax Practice Tips and Representation Strategies"
06.2012"Public Corruption: The Nuts and Bolts of Federal Law," Ohio Lobbying Association
05.2011"Bank Secrecy, Tax Havens and Trends Toward Transparency:  Liechtenstein and Beyond," (introductory remarks by Her Excellency Claudia Fritsche, Ambassador to the United States for the Principality of Liechtenstein), American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, White Collar Crime Committee and Tax Fraud Subcommittee
05.2011"The New Age of Corporate Liability / Corporate Compliance - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, White Collar Crime Committee, Midwest-Ohio Region
05.2010"Parallel IRS (and Other) Civil and Criminal Proceedings Now Intersect," American Bar Association Tax Section, Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties
2010"Foreign Assets: From Voluntary Disclosure to FATCA," American Bar Association National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversies
2010"Money Laundering, Forfeiture, and Restitution: Show Us the Money!" American Bar Association National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversies
04.17.2009"Global Business Confidential - Data Privacy Issues in Cross-Border Investigations and Litigation," American Bar Association, Business Law Section
2009"Electronic Discovery in Criminal Trials," American Bar Association National Institute on White-collar Crime
11.11.2008"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Compliance Programs and Red Flags," Director's Roundtable Conference on International Regulation of Trade
09.15.2008"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act:  Emerging Trends in Compliance Technologies," Institute of Internal Auditors, Northeast Ohio Chapter
09.13.2008"Self-Protection for Attorneys: Legal and Ethical Dilemmas in Defending Money Laundering Cases," American Bar Association Tax Section, Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties
06.19.2008"Current Trends in Financial Statement Fraud," Association of Corporate Counsel - Southwest Ohio Chapter
05.08.2008"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 2008: The Nuts and Bolts of Conducting an Internal Investigation," Practicing Law Institute
05.05.2008"E-Discovery: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Their Implications for Public Sector Corrections Departments," Corrections Technology Association
2007"Technology In and Out of the Courtroom: Document Gathering, Review & How to Prepare for Trial," American Bar Association National Institute on White-collar Crime
10.21.2006"Anti-Money Laundering Compliance, Politically Exposed Persons and AML Insurance Regulations," American Bar Association Tax Section, Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties
03.24.2006"Prosecution and Defense of Money Laundering Cases," Continuing Legal Education Options Network, Master Advocate's Institute Series
2006"Role of the Forensic Accountant During a Criminal Investigation," American Bar Association National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversies
2006"Houston, We Have a Problem: Requests for E-Discovery," American Bar Association National Institute on White-collar Crime
03.2005 - 06.2005"Corporate Compliance Institute 2005, Educating the Board on Compliance-Related Responsibilities," Practicing Law Institute
2005"Electronic Evidence and Discovery," American Bar Association National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversies
03.2004 - 06.2004"Corporate Compliance Institute 2004, Impact of Sarbanes-Oxley & Other Recent Developments on Compliance," Practicing Law Institute
2004"Ethical Problems Facing the Criminal Defense Lawyer," American Bar Association National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversies
04.2003 - 06.2003"Corporate Compliance Institute 2003, Experience from the Trenches - Practical Advice on Implementing Compliance Programs," Practicing Law Institute
2003"Dealing with the Bureau of Prisons: Preparing a Client for Incarceration," American Bar Association National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversies

Alternate biographies




  • J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1978
    Law Review, Staff Member, 1976-1977; Senior Editor, 1977-1978
  • B.A., with honors, Political Science, University of Cincinnati, 1975

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Ohio
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit
  • United States District Court Southern District of Ohio
  • United States District Court Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • United States District Court District of New Jersey
  • United States Supreme Court



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