Stuart A. Sears

Stuart A. Sears

(202) 628-4199

American University, Washington
College of Law
Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington)

Bar Admissions:
District of Columbia


Stuart A. Sears joined Schertler & Onorato, LLP, as Counsel in 2013 and was promoted to Partner in 2014. He is an experienced and accomplished trial attorney whose practice focuses on criminal and white collar defense. Stuart’s litigation experience includes representation of individuals in a wide array of federal and state criminal proceedings, including cases involving charges of health care fraud, false claims, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, illegal structuring, and mortgage fraud.  He has extensive trial and post-conviction litigation experience in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the federal courts.


In addition to his trial work, Stuart’s broad experience includes representations of individuals and companies in civil and criminal government investigations.  He has recently counseled clients through Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the False Claims Act (FCA), procurement fraud, and health care fraud.  Stuart’s practice also includes litigating complex criminal and civil forfeiture matters at the agency and district court level.


Before entering law school, Stuart worked in the financial services sector at a large corporation in Boston, Massachusetts. He later attended the American University, Washington College of Law where he graduated cum laude.  Stuart is an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


Stuart has been recognized for his litigation skills by several publications, including:


  • The Best Lawyers in America 2016 (non-white-collar criminal defense)
  • Washingtonian Magazine 2015 (top lawyers)
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers 2014-15 (criminal defense)
  • Virginia Super Lawyers (criminal defense)
  • Northern Virginia Magazine (top criminal lawyers)
  • National Trial Lawyers Association (top 100 Virginia trial lawyers)




White Collar Matters:

  • Represented executive of large entertainment company in FCPA investigation conducted by the DOJ.
  • Represented prominent government contractor’s employees in DOJ civil and criminal FCA investigations and House Oversight & Government Reform Committee inquiry.
  • Represented U.S.-based international manufacturer in Department of Commerce Inspector General investigation involving Middle East competitors.
  • Represented former employees of a national health care provider named as a defendant in a federal FCA qui tam action.


Forfeiture Matters:

  • Represented Thai citizen in civil forfeiture action arising from criminal charges of money laundering and FCPA violations related to bribes allegedly paid by an American company to the Governor for the Tourism Authority of Thailand.  Successfully defeated the government’s motions to strike the claim on the bases of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine and lack of standing.
  • Represented Chad national in ongoing civil forfeiture action arising from bribes allegedly paid by a Canadian oil company to Chad government officials in order to obtain oil rights.
  • Represented spouse of defendant convicted of wire fraud in criminal forfeiture action in a claim to recover assets forfeited by the defendant’s plea agreement.  Successfully obtained the return of over $1.5 million, jewelry, and other property.


Criminal and Other Matters:

  • Represented popular R&B recording artist on assault charges in D.C. Superior Court.
  • Represented professional football player in NFL investigation regarding allegations of domestic assault.
  • Represented Navy official in conspiracy and fraud trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
  • Briefed and argued appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit challenging client’s health care fraud convictions.
  • Obtained a remand of a client’s sentencing in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Obtained vacation of a client’s convictions under 28 U.S.C. 2255 due to constitutionally ineffective assistance of trial counsel in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
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