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Steven Pelak


505 9th St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004

Steve focuses his practice on civil and criminal enforcement proceedings and internal investigations.

With more than 30 years of experience, he provides clients with sound counsel and advocacy on administrative and criminal inquiries, investigations, and prosecutions, as well as internal corporate compliance matters.

Steve has significant experience as a federal prosecutor and in private practice handling and supervising the investigation and prosecution of export controls, sanctions, fraud, bribery, public corruption, immigration, labor union corruption, terrorism, and other white collar and violent crimes. He counsels and represents individuals and corporate clients in federal and state administrative and criminal inquiries, investigations, and enforcement actions.  Steve’s long and deep experience has been recognized by Chambers Global and Chambers USA rankings in Export Controls & Economic Sanctions.

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Client Results

Representative Experience
  • Opati v. Republic of Sudan, 140 S.Ct. 1601 (2020) – Civil action resulting in unanimous opinion by the Supreme Court of the United States vacating Court of Appeals and reinstating punitive damages awarded to more than 150 U.S. Government employees killed and injured in August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 

  • Fritz, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, 320 F.Supp.3d 48 (D.D.C. 2018) – Civil action resulting in bench trial and final judgment against the Government of Iran and IRGC for the extrajudicial killings, torture, and hostage taking of four members of the U.S. Army in Iraq

  • Rescission and Removal of the September 2016 OFAC Designations of PacNet Services, 12 individuals, and more than 30 companies – Petition to the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) resulting in the rescission and removal of OFAC’s designations of PacNet Services, subsidiary companies, and 12 individuals and an interpleader complaint filed against the U.S. Government and others

  • Defense Trade, Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology Fortune 500/Public and Private Companies – Internal Investigations, Advice and Counsel, Representation before the U.S. Government, and Defense on matters involving the Arms Export Control Act/International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), OFAC Sanctions, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and related national security and government inquiries, investigations, and enforcement actions

  • U.S. v. ABN AMRO Bank – Investigation and prosecution of an international bank relating to OFAC sanctions violations
  • U.S. West, et al. – Investigation and prosecution of the President of the International Association of Iron Workers and other union officials for embezzlement and related fraud offenses
  • In re Missile Technology Transfer to China – Investigation of export control violations arising from alleged transfer of missile or space launch vehicle technology by U.S. companies Space System/Loral and Hughes Space and Communications
  • U.S. v. United Technologies Corp. and Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. – Supervision of the investigation and prosecution of the unlawful export of technical data to China relating to engine software for attack helicopters
  • U.S. v. ITT Corp. – Supervision of the investigation and prosecution of the unlawful export of technical data to China relating to night vision equipment
  • U.S. v. BAE Systems plc – Supervision of the investigation and prosecution of a multinational defense contractor arising from a conspiracy to make false statements regarding foreign payments in relation to the sale of defense articles required to be disclosed to the State Department under the AECA/ITAR and false statements about its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance program
  • U.S. v. Brown, et. al. – Investigation and prosecution of 12 officers of the Metropolitan Police Department for bribery, public corruption, and conspiracy offenses
  • U.S. v. Garappolo and Massey – Investigation and prosecution of Certified Public Accountants/outside auditors of an ERISA fund and a union for participation in a scheme to cover up embezzlement and to file false financial reports
  • In re Ruby Ridge – Investigation and prosecution of obstruction of justice and criminal conduct by FBI Headquarters Officials
  • In re Embezzlement from the Public Defender Service – Investigation and Prosecution of the Chief Financial Officer of a local governmental agency
  • U.S. v. Stowe – Investigation and prosecution of an official of the Metropolitan Police Department for extortion, fraud, and theft



Speaking Engagements


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions


  • Chambers Global, USA, International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, 2017-2022
  • Chambers USA, International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, Nationwide, 2016-2022
  • 2012 National Counterintelligence Executive’s Award for Counterintelligence Investigations and Prosecutions for participation in an export control investigation and prosecution relating to China
  • 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary’s Award for Export Enforcement
  • 2010 Attorney General’s Award for the Advancement of the National Security relating to an Iranian sanctions prosecution involving the national security
  • Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys Director’s Award for Criminal Trial Litigation
  • Numerous Special Achievement and Recognition Awards from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG) of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, 2018-2022; Appointed for 2022-2024 term
  • ABA International Law Section, National Security Committee Steering Group, Member
  • Society for International Affairs, Member
  • American Society of International Law, Member
  • Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, Washington, D.C.
  • Thurgood Marshall American Inn of Court, Member (former)
  • Former Member, U.S. Government Senior Executive Service (2009-2013); Supervisor, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council Coordinator within the U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Highlands Swim & Tennis Club, Board of Directors President (former)
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