- Federal Law
- White Collar Criminal Law
- Medicare Fraud/Healthcare Fraud
- Tax Fraud
- Wire Fraud/Conspiracy
- Bank Fraud/Mortgage Fraud
- Investment Fraud/Ponzi Schemes
- Money Laundering
Certified Legal Specialties
- Board Certified in Criminal Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1992
Richard Kuniansky was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1953.
He received his preparatory education at the University of Georgia, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance. He received his J.D. degree from Emory University School of Law, where he graduated Order of-the Coif in 1978.
Since his graduation, Mr. Kuniansky has been involved exclusively in trial work. From 1978 to 1980, Mr. Kuniansky was a prosecutor for the State of Georgia. He then became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) and a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (Miami) assigned to the Presidential Drug Task Force. After prosecuting primarily white collar criminal cases and drug cases for the Department of Justice for over seven years, Mr. Kuniansky left government service to join the law firm of Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams and Martin, where he spent the next five years engaged in litigation practice with heavy emphasis in criminal tax litigation and commercial litigation: Mr. Kuniansky then formed his own firm.
Mr. Kuniansky is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a lifetime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, Federal Bar Association and Houston Bar Association. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, Texas Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, United States Tax Court, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. He is also licensed to practice law in both Texas and Georgia (inactive status).
Mr. Kuniansky has been awarded an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell and was named a Texas Super Lawyer in 2004, 2020 to 2023. Mr. Kuniansky has lectured at various legal seminars.
Mr. Kuniansky is a trial lawyer, Mr. Kuniansky tried his first jury trial within a week of graduating from law school. He spent the next two years as a trial attorney for the State of Georgia. He then became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) and a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Presidential Drug Task Force in the Southern District of Florida (Miami). During his seven years with the Department of Justice, Mr. Kuniansky prosecuted several of the largest cases in the country, including a major conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act by transporting hundreds of millions of dollars of Lockheed Aircraft and Midair refueling equipment to Mohamar Kadafi’s Air Force; and the largest bribery case in the history of the IRS. Mr. Kuniansky then spent the next five years with a large law firm specializing in defending criminal tax cases. Mr. Kuniansky is a specialist in White Collar Crimes Criminal Defense in Federal Court.
With nine years prosecution experience, and 36 years defense experience, Mr. Kuniansky has the experience to achieve results that are matched by few attorneys in his field. Mr. Kuniansky believes that the most successful defense is comprised of a combination of elements. First, the attorney must have a thorough understanding of how the Government intends to prove its case. Second, the attorney must thoroughly prepare his case by investigating all of the facts as well as the applicable law. Third, the attorney must have the trial skills necessary to present this defense in the most forceful and successful manner possible. Mr. Kuniansky’s experience and hard work ethic allows him to combine all of these elements in successfully defending his clients.
REPRESENTATIVE CASES HANDLED
- Represented corporation and is president for allegedly defrauding NASA of millions of dollars in what the Government alleged was the largest fraud case in the history of NASA.
- Represented attorney accused of being the ringleader of an organization involved in staging automobile accidents to defraud insurance companies of millions of dollars.
- Represented numerous individuals in financial fraud cases alleging various schemes to defraud investors of millions of dollars.
- Represented numerous corporations and individuals in investigations of alleged Medicare fraud.
- Represented individual accused of accepting $1,000,000 bribe to influence the actions of a Federal Judge.
- Represented individual accused of “insider trading” in connection with purchase of options shortly before a merger.
- Represented car dealer accused of transporting cars across state lines to avoid inventory taxes.
- Represented car dealer accused of defrauding port in connection with alleged flip of grain elevator.
- Represented individual in Federal Court in Houston accused of bankruptcy fraud and making false statements to the FBI. He was acquitted on all counts.
- Represented attorney in Federal Court in Houston accused of being a ringleader in a scheme to defraud insurance companies through staged automobile accidents. Jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal and defendant was not retried.
- Represented attorney in Federal Court in Helena, Montana accused of money laundering and making false statements. Attorney acquitted on all counts.
- Represented car dealer in Federal Court in Beaumont, Texas accused of transporting vehicles across state line to avoid payment of taxes. Defendant acquitted on all counts.
- Represented businessman in Federal Court in Beaumont, Texas accused of insurance fraud. Trial resulted in a mistrial and defendant was not retried.
- As an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted a California businessman for conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act by supplying Lockheed] Aircraft (C-130’s) and midair refueling equipment (to convert C-130’s into KC-130’s – midair refueling tankers) to Mohamar Kadafi to extend the range of the Libyan Air Force; Conspiracy involved several hundred millions of dollars of aircraft. Received top secret clearance and worked closely with the CIA and DIA. Also worked under the Classified Information Procedures Act (“CIPA”). See U.S. v. Elkins, 845 F.2d 775 (II Cir. 1989). Lead defendant sentenced to 15 years and ordered to pay a fine of $6,600,000, which was the largest fine imposed in Georgia history at this time.
- As a defense attorney, represented a corporation accused of violating the Made in America Act; represented a corporation accused of exporting goods to Libya; represented an individual accused of failing to file a declaration that he was transporting a large sum of cash outside the country.
- As an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted the largest bribery case in the history of the IRS. Defendant was alleged to have offered $1,000,000 bribe to influence an IRS agent to terminate a criminal tax investigation.
- As an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted numerous individuals accused of tax fraud.
- As a defense attorney, have represented numerous individual accused of income tax fraud.
- Represented taxpayer in Federal Court in Houston accused of not paying federal income taxes on business proceeds that were diverted to a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Defendant acquitted on all counts.
- Represented businessman in Federal Court in Houston accused of making false statements on federal income tax returns. Defendant sentenced to probation. Was later able to obtain restoration of rights to possess a firearm at the federal level, and a pardon at the state level.
- Handled a major tax case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals defining what jury instruction must be given when a Defendant in a criminal tax case contends that he believed in good faith he did not have to report certain income. The Fifth Circuit held that the trial court must instruct the jury that a good faith belief is a complete defense to tax fraud charges even if that belief is objectively unreasonable. United States v. Montgomery, 747 F.3d 303 (5th Cir. 2014).
- Represented a businessman who was accused of cashing over $500,000 in checks payable to his business and not reporting that cash as income on his tax return. Was able to obtain a favorable plea bargain, and then at sentencing obtain probation. Was later able to get the probation terminated early.
- As a prosecutor, was member of Presidential Drug Task Force prosecuting what was at the time the largest drug cases in the country. As a defense attorney, have represented numerous individual accused of large scale drug trafficking, including case involving seizure of 831 kilograms of cocaine.
- Represented a defendant in a major drug conspiracy in Federal Court in Houston. At week 6 of trial, I was able to obtain a mistrial and the Defendant walked out of the courtroom a free person mid-trial. The government threatened to retry her until I provided them with a draft motion that double jeopardy had attached due to prosecutorial misconduct. The government elected not to retry her.
- Represented a defendant in a 5 kilo cocaine conspiracy in Federal Court in Beaumont. He had a prior drug felony conviction and was therefore facing a 20 year minimum mandatory sentence. Filed a motion to suppress the identification of the defendant by a key witness. The motion was granted and the government dismissed the case. He was freed from custody.
- Represented a defendant in a major drug conspiracy in Federal Court in Houston. Through cross examination of the DEA Agent at the bond hearing, was able to cast sufficient doubt in the government’s case that they dismissed the charges and he was immediately freed from custody.
- As an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted what was at the time, the largest counterfeiting case in Georgia history ($6,000,000).
- Successfully sued the ATF to have a convicted felon’s right to possess a firearm restored. Was then able to obtain a State pardon to have his rights restored in the State of Texas.
- As an Assistant United States Attorney and as a defense lawyer, have handled appeals before the Fifth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal on almost every topic imaginable.
HANDLED FEDERAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS/TRIALS IN FOLLOWING CITIES:
- Texas – Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Beaumont, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Lufkin, Tyler.
- Georgia – Atlanta, Gainesville, Rome
- Florida – Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Meyers, Key West
- Alabama – Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile
- Louisiana- New Orleans, Lafayette
- New York- Manhattan, Brooklyn
- Pennsylvania- Philadelphia, Allentown
- California- Los Angeles
- Montana – Helena
- Arizona – Tucson
- Missouri- Kansas City
- Georgia, 1978
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1981
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1981
- Texas, 1988
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, 1988
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas, 1991
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas, 1992
- U.S. District Court Western District of Texas, 1991
- U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 1992
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1992
- U.S. Tax Court, 1992
- Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia
- Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1978
- Honors: Order of the Coif
- University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
- Bachelor of Business Administration - 1975
- Honors: cum laude
- Major: Finance
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Lifetime Member, 1993
- Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, Member, 1992
- Federal Bar Association, Member
- Houston Bar Association
Classes & Seminars
- Lecturer, Houston Bar Association, Criminal Procedure Section
- Lecturer, Houston Bar Association, Tax Section
- Lecturer, Southern Methodist University School of Law
- Lecturer, Immigration Consequences of the Patriot Act, 2003
- Super Lawyers, 2004, 2020 – 2023