Martha Boersch

Martha Boersch is one of the premier white collar defense and trial lawyers in the country.  She has decades of experience in complex criminal and civil litigation in federal and state courts and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  Martha has represented clients in numerous federal jury and bench trials and has argued more than a dozen cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  She has conducted internal corporate investigations for companies in a variety of industries and provides strategic advice to companies, executives, and individuals dealing with grand jury and other government investigations.  Martha has deep experience in a broad range of white collar charges, including mail and wire fraud, money laundering, economic espionage, computer fraud and abuse, racketeering, foreign bribery, antitrust, and federal forfeitures.  She also has worked extensively on international criminal matters, particularly related to former Soviet Bloc countries, such as Russia, Ukraine and Romania. 

Martha is recognized in Chambers USA for Litigation: White Collar & Government Investigations.  She has been named to the Northern California Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in Northern California for 2006 – 2022, and has been identified by the Daily Journal as one of California’s Top Women Litigators.  Martha was named as one of the world’s foremost white collar crime lawyers  inWho’s Who Legal Business Crime Defense: Corporates for 2018-2021.  She has been named in Best Lawyers in America® since 2012 as one of the best white collar criminal defense practitioners and was recognized as the Criminal Defense: White Collar “Lawyer of the Year” in Oakland in 2023 and 2020.  She received the California Lawyer’s Lawyer of the Year award in 2004.   

Before forming Boersch & Illovsky LLP, Martha spent several years as a litigation partner at the international law firm of Jones Day, and then founded her own boutique defense firm with several partners.  Martha had previously served for twelve years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California.  During her career as a federal prosecutor, the U.S. Attorney chose her to be the Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force (2002-2004) and the Chief of the Securities Fraud Unit (2001-2002).  She was the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s International Security Coordinator and spent a summer in Moscow for the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. In 2009, Martha was awarded the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, the Department of Justice’s second highest award for employee performance, for her work on a complex international money laundering prosecution involving the former Prime Minister of the Ukraine. 

Martha was recently reappointed by the Chief Judge to serve on the Northern District’s Criminal Practice Committee, she is the Criminal Justice Act Panel Representative for the Northern District and she has served as lawyer representative to the Northern District.  She has served for many years on the CJA panel in San Francisco and Oakland, representing indigent clients.  Martha is a frequent speaker on white collar and international criminal defense topics.


University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), J.D., 1986

Editor, California Law Review
Order of the Coif

University of Oregon, 1979, B.A.

Phi Beta Kappa


Law Clerk to the Honorable James M. Fitzgerald, Chief Judge
        United States District Court for the District of Alaska, 1986-1988

Representative Client Matters


  • Represented prepaid credit card services entrepreneur in federal court trial against charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering
  • Won a federal jury verdict of acquittal for construction industry executive charged with engaging in a contract bid-rigging conspiracy targeting the U.S. Department of Energy 
  • Represented owner of energy services company in federal jury trial against fraud charges arising from alleged kickback scheme
  • Got dismissal after a preliminary hearing of state bribery charges against a local political fundraiser accused of participating in pay-to-play scheme 
  • Obtained pretrial dismissal of all federal wire fraud and bribery charges brought against Russian executive accused of engaging in a bribery scheme involving a federal program
  • Won a court ruling of acquittal at the close of the government’s case for executive of a Canadian company on charges of wire fraud 
  • Obtained pretrial dismissal of bank fraud, money laundering and identity theft charges against internet company founder 
  • Secured dismissal after a preliminary hearing of state grand theft and identity theft charges against California National Guardsman 
  • Won pretrial dismissal of federal civil RICO charges against Swiss and Kazakh citizens and affirmance on appeal to the Ninth Circuit 
  • Obtained pretrial dismissal of wire fraud charges against real estate business owner accused of bid-rigging in foreclosure market 

Internal and Government Investigations

  • Represented various technology executives in sensitive, corporate internal investigations
  • Representation of individual facing federal charges of visa fraud, identity theft, and obstruction of justice arising from involvement in EB-5 investment program 
  • Representation of Chief Financial Officer in grand jury and SEC investigation of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 
  • Representation of senior bank employee in numerous federal investigations involving allegedly unlawful sales practices 
  • Representation of bank employee accused of participating in Russian money laundering scheme 
  • Representation of internet company employee in federal grand jury, SEC, internal investigation, and related civil proceedings involving significant data breach 
  • Representation of Romanian citizens in federal civil forfeiture matter involving allegations of foreign tax and bribery offenses 
  • Representation of foreign and domestic corporate employees in various price-fixing and market allocation grand jury investigations conducted by U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division 
  • Represent executives, employees, and other individuals in investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission variously involving allegations of securities violations relating to insider trading, revenue recognition, EB-5 investments, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and corporate governance