Jason Varnado is an experienced trial lawyer and the head of litigation for the Houston Office. His practice involves representing businesses and individuals during investigations by federal and state governmental authorities for potential criminal charges; actively litigating criminal and civil actions on behalf of clients facing allegations of fraud, false claims, and other business-related wrongdoing; and advising corporate clients regarding compliance issues to avoid governmental sanctions.
Since joining Jones Day, Jason has served as lead investigative and defense counsel in numerous high-profile criminal and civil matters involving alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the False Claims Act (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), and the Clean Air Act (CAA). He has also represented business and individuals accused of federal campaign contribution violations, economic espionage, and federal income tax offenses.
Before joining Jones Day, Jason served with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for 10 years in several top-level positions. He tried 15 federal criminal cases to verdict, including one of the few cases under the FCPA ever to be tried to a jury, and was awarded U.S. Attorney General's "John Marshall Award" for Outstanding Achievement in Litigation, the Department's highest award for legal performance in a specialized area.
Jason has been recognized by numerous publications, including Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Houstonia magazine.
Texas Supreme Court: Non-Lawyer Consultant Qualifies as "Lawyer's Representative," and Its Work Can Be Privileged Under Texas Law
The U.S. Supreme Court Affirms the Government's Authority to Dismiss FCA Qui Tam Cases After Declining to Intervene
Evidence Collection in Criminal Investigations: Cross-Border Issues and Corporate Employee Considerations
- May 12, 2017
Client Confidentiality in the Digital Age, Texas District & County Attorneys Association
- January 12, 2017
Client Confidentiality in the Digital Age: Cybersecurity Ethics and Risk Mitigation for Lawyers, Houston Bar Association
- October 18, 2016
FCPA Investigations and the New National Anticorruption System in Mexico, speaker
- May 11, 2016
Accounting and Enforcement Update for Energy Companies
- February 2016
North Texas Ethics and Compliance Council, "The Yates Memo: What it Really Means for Compliance Officers and Corporate Counsel"
Momentum's 3rd Annual Oil & Gas Anti-Corruption & Compliance Exchange, Keynote Address, "Instituting an Effective Compliance Program: Views from the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas"
5th Annual Gulf Coast Anti-Money Laundering Forum, Keynote Address, "Prosecution of White Collar Crime Post-Financial Crisis"
FBI Compliance Round Table, "Federal Prosecution of Corporate Espionage and Data Breach Cases"
2015 University of Texas School of Law’s Government Enforcement Institute, Panelist, “Accounting and Securities Fraud”
21st FBI Financial Institution Crime Day Houston, “Bank Fraud Update from the U.S. Department of Justice”
Houston Director's Roundtable, Panelist, “Key Issues Facing Boards of Directors: New Enforcement Initiatives and Corporate Governance Rules”
American Conference Institute’s 9th FCPA Boot Camp, “What the Government Expects to See in Your Anti-Corruption Compliance Program”
Momentum’s 2nd Annual Oil & Gas Anti-Corruption Compliance Exchange, “Compliance Perspective from the U.S. Department of Justice”
FBI Financial Institution Fraud Unit, Advanced Mortgage Fraud Conference, Mortgage Fraud, “A Prosecutorial Perspective Five Years After the Financial Crisis”
BITS Financial Services Roundtable, “Current Bank Fraud and Mortgage Fraud Perspective from the U.S. Department of Justice”
American Bar Association Litigation Section, “Corporate Counsel Committee, Economic Espionage Act: Interfacing With a U.S. Attorney's Office From Theft of Trade Secret Through Sentencing”
- The University of Texas at Austin (J.D. with honors 2000; Texas Law Review); Clemson University (B.S. in Industrial Engineering magna cum laude 1996)
- Texas, California, District of Columbia, all U.S. District Courts in Texas, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- Served with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas (2005-2015) in the following positions: Chief, Major Fraud Section; Senior Litigation Counsel; Assistant U.S. Attorney, Major Fraud Section; and also served at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys as the National White Collar & Cyber Crime Coordinator (2013-2014) and the National White Collar Crime Coordinator (2010-2011)
Chambers USA: litigation: white-collar crime & government investigations (2019-2022)
Best Lawyers in America: criminal defense: white collar (2019-2022)
Texas Super Lawyers (2016-2022)
Recipient of honors for exceptional legal work from the U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association