Press Release

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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