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Burns & Levinson’s Government Investigations & White Collar Crime Team Earns Acquittal in United Arab Emirates Domestic Employment Case

Boston, MA and Providence, RI - August 17, 2011

Burns & Levinson LLP earned an acquittal for client Arif Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Al-Ali, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) naval officer falsely accused by his son’s nanny of forcing her to work against her will and failing to pay her wages while in the United States. Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi of the U.S. District Court in Providence, Rhode Island found Al-Ali not guilty of fraud in foreign labor contracting. Al-Ali was defended by a Burns & Levinson team of attorneys led by Robert Clark Corrente, a former United States attorney for the District of Rhode Island, and part of the leadership within the firm’s Government Investigations & White Collar Crime practice; Corrente is based in the firm’s Providence office.

Moving to Rhode Island from the UAE as a result of his selection as part of an elite group invited to attend the prestigious U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island for a one year program, Al-Ali asked his son’s long-time nanny to come with their family to the U.S. This employee, Elizabeth Ballesteros, a Filipina national, had worked for Al-Ali in the UAE for three years prior to the move to Rhode Island. Upon moving to Rhode Island, the employee worked for a little more than two months and then left the Al-Ali home. Soon thereafter Ballesteros hired a lawyer to demand a huge sum of money from Al-Ali.

“Colonel Al-Ali is a decorated, accomplished military officer who never expected his biggest battle to emanate from within his own household,” said Robert Corrente, partner, Burns & Levinson and lead attorney for the case. “From what should have been one of the highest honors in his career as a participant in the Naval War College program to one of the most frightening experiences of being falsely accused of criminal behavior, Colonel Al-Ali bravely proved his integrity to the courts. I’m proud of the Burns & Levinson team’s hard work on this case, and proud of the Rhode Island legal system for exonerating an innocent man.”

The government also had charged Al-Ali with making a false statement to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents when Al-Ali turned over to ICE agents a document signed by Ms. Ballesteros acknowledging prepayment of her wages for her work in the United States. Burns & Levinson argued that a document turned over pursuant to a search warrant could not be the subject of a false statement charge because Al-Ali had no choice to provide the document. Judge Lisi agreed and granted Burns & Levinson’s motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of the government’s evidence.

Burns & Levinson's Government Investigations and White Collar Crime Group has substantial experience in white collar criminal defense for both criminal and civil proceedings. Specific experience includes business and financial fraud; international crime; defense procurement fraud; public corruption; healthcare, securities and tax fraud; and antitrust, environmental and RICO crimes.

“This was a case of a distinguished naval officer facing an extortionate demand by someone who had been a trusted employee,” said Corrente.

Despite the hardships of being falsely accused and enduring a trial, Al-Ali successfully completed the War College program.

Attorney Victoria Walton and paralegal Hollie Capuano worked as part of the Burns & Levinson team with Robert Corrente.

About Burns & Levinson LLP
Burns & Levinson is a full-service law firm with over 125 attorneys based in Boston, with additional offices in Providence and New York, as well as in the Merrimack Valley/North Shore, Metrowest and South Shore areas of Massachusetts. The firm has grown steadily and strategically throughout the years and has become a premier law firm with regional, national and international clientele. The firm has expertise in corporate law, finance, venture capital, private equity, intellectual property, labor and employment, tax, bankruptcy, lending and leasing, real estate, design & construction, environmental, business litigation, government investigations and white collar crime defense, and a large private client group, including estate planning, probate and trust litigation, divorce and other family law issues. In addition, the firm has a wholly owned subsidiary office in Montreal, Quebec, to service its Canadian clients. For more information, visit Burns & Levinson at