Former FinCEN Enforcement Head Alessio Evangelista Joins Skadden in Washington, D.C.

Skadden is pleased to announce that Alessio D. Evangelista, most recently head of enforcement and compliance at the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has joined the firm as a litigation partner in our Washington, D.C. office. He will advise financial services clients — ranging from banks and investment management companies to fintech companies and digital assets businesses — on investigations, enforcement and compliance matters. He also will counsel clients on anti-money laundering (AML), sanctions and other related issues.

From 2020-22, Mr. Evangelista served as associate director for Enforcement and Compliance at FinCEN, where he oversaw the enforcement of AML laws and regulations as applied to traditional financial institutions and fintech firms, including those managing cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. When FinCEN was granted sweeping new regulatory and enforcement authority with the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, Mr. Evangelista led the reorganization of the agency’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, including the creation of a new enforcement section focused on cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. He also began implementing the AML Act’s significantly enhanced whistleblower award provisions by creating FinCEN’s first Office of the Whistleblower and hiring its first director.

Prior to joining FinCEN, Mr. Evangelista was the second-ranking official at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country, where he also served as an assistant U.S. attorney for 12 years. During his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Evangelista created a new Threat Finance Unit, supervised several groundbreaking cases involving cryptocurrency-related crime, and personally investigated and prosecuted a wide range of cases, from bribery and visa fraud, to export control violations, internal money laundering and sanctions evasion. In 2016-17, Mr. Evangelista served as deputy chief of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bank Integrity Unit, where he supervised sanctions, money laundering and corruption investigations involving financial institutions and their senior executives and employees, including cross-border investigations of two global banks, each of which was resolved with agreements requiring the banks to pay and forfeit more than $1 billion. While at the DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Evangelista frequently worked with senior regulators and enforcement officials throughout the government, including the departments of State, Commerce and the Treasury, and with the intelligence community. Additionally, Mr. Evangelista has significant trial experience. He has tried more than 50 cases to verdict —including 19 jury trials — and has argued numerous appeals.

“Compliance and enforcement issues involving banks and fintech firms, including companies that manage cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, have significantly increased over the last several years, and high levels of activity in this area are expected to continue,” said Washington, D.C. office leader Jessica Hough. “Alessio’s deep knowledge of the financial services compliance and enforcement landscape, coupled with his recent experience as a regulator and a prosecutor, will enable him to provide sound guidance to our clients.”

“I look forward to working alongside the many Skadden attorneys I have sat across the table from and hold in the highest regard,” said Mr. Evangelista. “Skadden’s global financial services and cross-border investigation capabilities are best-in-class. I look forward to assisting our clients as they navigate emerging challenges in this evolving area.”

Before joining the DOJ in 2004, Mr. Evangelista advised companies and individuals in white collar criminal matters and complex commercial litigation at two law firms in Washington, D.C. Prior to private practice, Mr. Evangelista clerked for Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Mr. Evangelista earned his law degree, summa cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law and his bachelor’s degree in economics from the State University of New York at Geneseo.