Sergio Acosta is an experienced criminal and appellate litigator and investigator. He has represented companies, government entities and individuals in matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, complex financial fraud, criminal tax violations, export regulations and criminal forfeiture. Mr. Acosta’s practice also encompasses corporate governance, corporate internal investigations, regulatory enforcement, commercial litigation and gaming law.
His experience in overseeing and conducting complex investigations for the government puts him in a unique position to advise corporate clients facing administrative, civil or criminal exposure in regulated industries. This coupled with his experience in leading a state agency and working closely with federal and state agents, enables him to provide practical advice and counseling at every stage of criminal or parallel civil proceedings.
During his tenure with the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Mr. Acosta tried more than 25 jury trials in federal court and many appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Mr. Acosta joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in April 2010. Previously he was Chief of the General Crimes Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
In December 2011, Mr. Acosta was named by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Mayor’s Ethics Reform Task Force, which will recommend changes to strengthen the ordinance that governs City officials and employees.
In October 2010, Mr. Acosta was included in “2010 Profiles: 100 Influentials,” in the “Top 100 Influentials 2010 – The Chicago Contingent” list, published by Hispanicbusiness.com.
The majority of Mr. Acosta’s career has been devoted to public service. From 1985 to 1990, he served as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami, Florida, rising to the position of Chief in the Felony Division.
In 1990, Mr. Acosta joined the U. S. Attorney’s Office as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago. He became a deputy chief of the General Crimes Section in 1994 and remained in that position until leaving the U. S. Attorney’s Office in 1999 to become the Administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board.
During his tenure with the Illinois Gaming Board, Mr. Acosta was responsible for the regulation of all aspects of casino gambling in Illinois.
In 2001, Mr. Acosta returned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago to the Organized Crime Section. In 2003, he was promoted by U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald to serve as Chief of the General Crimes Section, where he remained until joining Hinshaw.
- National Hispanic Prosecutors Association
- Founding Member
- Past President
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Board of Directors
- Northwestern University School of Law Adjunct Professor of Law (1998–Present)
Honors & Awards
- Leading Lawyers Network, Member
- Selected by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in the areas of Criminal Defense Law: White Collar, and Gaming & Casino Law
Mr. Acosta's presentations include:
- “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance: A Must For International Trade,” Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Rockford, Illinois, March 2013.
- “Corporate Governance in a Post-Dodd Frank World,” Corporate Counsel Conference, Hispanic National Bar Association, Atlanta, Georgia, March 2013.
- “FCPA Fundamentals,” American Bar Association, Fifth Annual National Institute on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Washington, District of Columbia, October 2012.
- “Best Practices in Fraud Investigations and SEC Enforcement Trends,” Hispanic National Bar Association's 37th Annual Convention, Seattle, Washington, August 2012.
- “Corporate Internal Investigations ,” Minority Corporate Counsel Association, 9th Annual General Counsel Invitational & Diversity Leadership Summit, Miami, Florida, April 2012.
- “White Collar Crime and Corporate Internal Investigations,” Hispanic National Bar Association Corporate Counsel Conference, Jersey City, New Jersey, March 2012.
- “How to Successfully Work Within Your Organization,” ABA Annual Meeting, Section of Business, 2005.
Mr. Acosta has spoken to many organizations, including the City of Chicago Department of Law; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training Programs in Bogota, Colombia in 2004, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2006.
In July 2010, he presented a training program, “The “Investigation and Prosecution of Organized Crime and Human Trafficking Cases,” to Mexican federal prosecutors. He has also lectured regularly at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Education, Basic Trial Advocacy Course.
His publications include:
- “Criminal Law Aspects of Gaming Regulation,” co-author, Law360, January 21, 2011.
- “The Changing Face of White Collar Crime Enforcement," chapter co-author, “Managing White Collar Legal Issues, 2011 ed.,” Aspatore Books (a Thomson Reuters business), December 2010.
- Leadership Greater Chicago, Member of the Board of Directors (2003–2011) and Fellow (1999–Present)
- Volunteer at Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) DuPage, Inc. (1998–Present)
J.D., George Washington University School of Law, 1985
B.A., French, DePaul University, 1982
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois