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Jeffery B. Vaden
P: +1.713.221.1501
F: +1.800.404.3970

Christine Richards


Jeff Vaden, former First Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Texas, is a Partner in Bracewell's White Collar Defense Practice Group. Prior to joining the firm, he served for more than 11 years in the U.S. Department of Justice Southern District of Texas, based in Houston.

At the U.S. Attorney's Office, Mr. Vaden was responsible for directing criminal prosecutions and grand jury investigations in areas including U.S. export controls and sanctions, bank fraud, public corruption, immigration, money laundering, counterterrorism, and national security. His honors include the Director's Award for Superior Performance in 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary's Award in 2007, and the 20th Anniversary National Award, Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force in 2002.

He has worked on domestic and international matters with federal law enforcement and investigative agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Commerce-Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Treasury, Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshal's Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service.

During Mr. Vaden's tenure at DOJ, he tried eight cases to jury verdict in Federal District Court and served as a Senior Litigation Counsel and a Training Officer for the Terrorism and National Security Section. Before joining DOJ, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in Harris County, Texas for five years, trying 60 first-chair jury trials to verdict.

Representative Matters

Lead counsel in an export controls and sanctions investigation of a multinational oil field services company, which included collaboration with DOJ's Fraud Section and the SEC on potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, as well as coordination with a parallel proceeding with the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. 

Counsel in an ongoing investigation of a multinational company for violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Led the successful prosecution for illegal sales of U.S.-origin computer equipment to Syria under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and coordinated a parallel administrative action and export denial order for the business.

Led an investigation and successful prosecution of a real estate broker for money laundering in a mortgage fraud case involving “straw purchasers,” fraudulent appraisals, false tax returns and the laundering of drug proceeds.

Lead counsel in a narco-terrorism case involving the AUC (Autodefensas Unidos de Colombia), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and its efforts to obtain weapons in exchange for cocaine. The case included the first defendant ever extradited from Colombia on terrorism charges.

Successfully prosecuted an individual attempting to sell an explosive device to an undercover agent posing as an Al-Qaeda operative.

Trial co-counsel in the largest loss-of-life alien-smuggling incident in modern United States history.

Publications and Speeches

Co-panelist, ”Critical Moments & Critical Decisions: Conducting and Defending Congressional & Internal Investigations,” South Asian Bar Association Conference, May 14, 2016

Co-panelist, "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance," Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce Insight Series, November 20, 2013

"What to Do When the Government Comes Knocking," Association of Corporate Counsel, Houston, January 14, 2014. 

"In-House Complexities of Internal Investigations," Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professionals, November 13, 2013.

"Government Enforcement of Export Controls and Economic Sanctions: Perspectives from a Former Prosecutor," American Petroleum Institute’s International Trade & Customs Conference, March 18, 2013

Co-presenter, "Detecting Corruption in Your Local Operations: How to Conduct Effective Risk Assessments in High Risk Markets," American Conference Institute's FCPA Boot Camp, January 24, 2013

"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Emerging Trends, Compliance and Ethical Issues," Houston Bar Association, July 26,  2012

Chair and co-presenter, "Cutting Edge Advice for an Evolving World," Global Compliance Seminar, South Texas College of Law, October 13, 2011.

"Preventing Domestic Terrorism: The Necessities, Methodologies, and Synergies of Collective Law Enforcement," Sheriffs' Association of Texas 133rd Annual Training Conference, Houston, July 19, 2011.

"Former First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Texas, Talks About Trends and Issues," Criminal Litigation Newsletter, ABA Section of Litigation, Committee on Criminal Litigation, Spring 2011.

Co-author, "The Brits Are Coming: Is Your Compliance Program Ready for the Bribery Act?, The Energy Law Advisor, June 2011.

Co-presenter, "Negotiating with the U.S. Department of Justice: Strategies for Optimal Results," Main Justice Webinar, April 13, 2011.

“Status of International Cooperation in Bribery Investigations/Prosecutions,” Global Compliance Seminar, South Texas College of Law, October 21, 2010.

“Export Controls and Sanctions,” University of Houston Law Center, April 8, 2010.

Co-presenter, “Discovery Training,” U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas, December 9, 2009.

“Export Controls and Sanctions, From Compliance to Cooperation: A Government Perspective,” Global Compliance Seminar, South Texas College of Law, October 15, 2009.

Co-presenter, “Jury Selection,” U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas, September 23, 2009.

“Jury Selection,” University of Houston Law Center, October 21, 2009.

Co-presenter, “Drafting Conspiracy Indictments,” U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas, October 22, 2008.

“Terrorism Trends,” International Law Enforcement Academy, San Salvador, El Salvador, August 26, 2008.


J.D., University of Houston Law Center, 1994
B.B.A., The University of Texas at Arlington, 1990

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern, Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas


State Bar of Texas
Houston Bar Association
American Bar Association
Houston Lawyers Association
Crime Stoppers of Houston, Board of Directors, 2013
Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow


Co-Chair ABA White Collar Crime Committee, South Texas Region 2016
Member of Bracewell Diversity & Inclusion Committee
The National Black Lawyers Top 100 2015 – White Collar Criminal Defense
Legalease, The Legal 500 United States, Energy: Regulatory, 2013
Director’s Award for Superior Performance, U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, 2008
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary’s Award, 2007
20th Anniversary National Award, Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, 2002
U.S. Attorney’s Sisyphus Award, 2005
U.S. Attorney’s Performance Award, 2001, 2002