Kurt represents South Sound businesses and individuals in White Collar Crime matters. He advises clients on corporate criminal risks, federal grand jury investigations, financial crimes, securities frauds, bankruptcy crimes, government contract frauds, real estate schemes, Medicare frauds-and tax frauds. He is GTH’s authority on cybercrime and legal issues relating to cybersecurity and data privacy. His work includes assisting South Sound businesses in creating cybersecurity plans consistent with the US protocols issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He also advises clients on data privacy requirements arising from the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR) and other countries.
Kurt joined GTH in 2014 after 32 years as a state and federal prosecutor specializing in White Collar Crime. While at the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle and Tacoma, he was a Branch Chief, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Assistant US Attorney. In that role as a federal prosecutor, he earned a reputation as a skilled litigator, appellate practitioner, and negotiator. He was recognized with many awards and honors from the US Department of Justice, law enforcement agencies and victims of crime. In 2010-11 he acted as a legal adviser at the US Embassy in Albania assisting government authorities in forming a new judicial system.
After retiring from the US Attorney’s Office, Kurt discovered he missed the challenge and camaraderie of practicing law. He is an enthusiastic sailor, hiker, photographer, and woodworker.
Since joining GTH in 2014, Mr. Hermanns has represented clients in criminal-related tax matters, grand jury investigations, export violations, international extraditions, forfeiture and money laundering allegations, Qui Tam matters and bankruptcy frauds. He has also advised Cannabis clients, along with their equipment suppliers and public utilities, on the conflict between federal criminal law and I-502, the Washington State law legalizing recreational marijuana. Mr. Hermanns advises clients on the legal issues, both criminal and regulatory, relating to cybersecurity and data privacy. He has authored articles on US federal and state data privacy laws, special ethical duties on lawyers, and the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective in May 2018. He has also represented clients in criminal tax cases relating to the use of cash suppression software.
During his tenure at the United States Attorney’s Office, Kurt led or co-chaired many complex white collar criminal prosecutions in the Western District of Washington.
US v. Cook. Wade Cook, a prolific author, and stock market guru was convicted of Tax Evasion and Obstruction of Justice following a 7 week trial in federal court in Seattle.
US v. Martin. A utility district on Whidbey Island issued $20 million in municipal bonds, ostensibly to build an office complex, which turned out to be a fraud. The developer, public engineer, and transaction attorney were among the parties convicted.
US v. Fain. A longtime con man using a bogus escrow company obtained fraudulent title to a large portion of Ketron Island, west of Tacoma. The defendants were convicted after a three trial week in federal court in Tacoma.
US v. Tighe. A prominent lawyer in Southwest Washington, in connection with his legal representation of Shick Shadel Hospital, ran a multi-million dollar false invoicing scheme with the assistance of the hospital’s CFO, and others. All were convicted.
US v. Bailie. The Ron Bailie School of Broadcasting was a prominent training program with campuses throughout the country. It was shown to have profited by a scheme to steal the Department of Education funds. All defendants were convicted following a lengthy trial in federal court in Seattle.
US v. Ortiz. Three defendants disappeared to Switzerland using false identities and took with them about $18 million in fraudulently obtained funds. They were arrested, extradited, tried and convicted in federal court in Tacoma. This case was the first time the US-Swiss treaty was used to forfeit real estate in Switzerland.
US v. Pinsonnault. A Seattle area business illegally exported avionic airplane parts to Libyan leader Mohamar Gadhafi for his personal C-130 aircraft. The owners were convicted.
In Re Boeing. This was a civil settlement following a multi-year government cost mischarging investigation. Boeing’s return of $75 million was at the time the largest recovery by the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.
Queen City Savings & Loan. In the early 1990s, poorly underwritten and fraudulent loans started a wave of bankrupted S&Ls. Queen City was viewed as a northwest flagship until it too failed. The trial lasted 7 weeks in federal court in Seattle. The borrowers and the bank president were convicted.
US v. Penwalt. Late one night a catastrophic spill of 180,000 gallons of chromium dioxide occurred at the Tacoma Penwalt Plant. Instead of alerting the Coast Guard and other responders the plant manager directed the toxic chemical be flushed into Commencement Bay. The plant manager, other officials, and the Penwalt Corporation were convicted in one of the first environmental prosecutions in the northwest.
J.D., University of Puget Sound School of Law, Tacoma, Washington, 1980.
University of Washington Graduate School, Seattle, Washington, attended 1975-1976. History of Science.
B.A., Fairhaven College, Bellingham, Washington, 1975. History of Science.
JURISDICTIONS ADMITTED TO PRACTICE
United States District Court, Western and Eastern Districts of Washington
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Washington State Courts
PROFESSIONAL & BAR ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPS
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Inns of Court – Robert J. Bryan Inn (Emeritus Status)
Washington State Bar Association
Federal Bar Association
Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association
Order of Barristers
King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, 1979-1987
United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, 1987-2011
Gordon Thomas Honeywell, 2014 – Present
HONORS & AWARDS
Fulbright Specialist Program, 2013-2018, Scholar number 19499, focusing on emerging legal issues in developing countries.
Intermittent Legal Advisor. A competitive selection within the US Department of Justice allowing senior attorneys to travel overseas as legal advisers. Mr. Hermanns served a detail at the US Embassy in Tirana, Albania in 2010 and 2011.
Tacoma Branch Chief, United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, 2002 and 2010.
Senior Litigation Counsel, a distinction awarded to one Assistant US Attorney in the Western District of Washington, 1999-2000.
Numerous national, regional and local US Department of Justice awards between 1987 and 2011.
Pierce County Lawyer, March/April 2018 issue, Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, “The European Union’s New Data Privacy Law: A Very New Approach”.
Pierce County Lawyer, November/December 2017, Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, “Helping Lawyers Comply with Cybersecurity Rules”. Co-authored with Amelia Whaley.
Puget Sound Business Journal, Thought Leader Forum, June 23, 2017, “Cyber Security”.
Pierce County Lawyer, May/June 2017, Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, “Helping Clients Navigate Cyber Security Laws”.
ARTICLES & PRESENTATIONS
University of Washington Tacoma, Guest Lecturer, Gray Hat Society: New Data Privacy Law in the European Union (GDPR), 2018.
The European Union’s new General Data Privacy Regulations, Washington State Bar Association, 2018.
Washington State Bar Association, Panelist – Corporate Counsel Section – Cybersecurity and Roles for In-House Counsel, 2017.
Thought Leader Forum, Puget Sound Business Journal, Legal Issues Relating to Cybersecurity, 2017.
University of Washington Tacoma, Panelist – Symposium on Cyber Resiliency: Preparing for Before and After a Cyber Attack, 2017.
University of Washington Tacoma, Panelist – South Sound Technology Conference on Cyber Security, 2017.
Guest Lecturer- University of Washington Tacoma, Milgard School of Business, Cyber Security Law, 2017.
Federal Criminal law and legalized marijuana under I-502, Law Seminars International, Seattle, May 2015.
Legalized Marijuana and the conflict with Federal Criminal Law, Washington Bar Association, July 2015.
Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, Criminal Pitfalls for the Civil Practitioner, 2014.
Need for Comprehensive Criminal Procedure Reform, Tirana, Albania, 2011. A series of presentations and lectures for the US Ambassador, Albanian Ministers, Judges and Prosecutors. Mr. Hermanns’ primary topic was immunity.
Banking Evidence, Tirana, Albania, 2011.
Corruption and Financial Crime Investigation, Pogradec and Vlora, Albania, 2010.
Trial Advocacy, Tirana, Albania, 2010. These were multi day courses patterned on the National Institute of Trial Lawyers (NITA) program from the US.
9/11 Commission Report, Inns of Court, Tacoma, Washington, 2008. Mr. Hermanns moderated a presentation by former US Senator Slade Gorton, a member of the 9/11 Commission, and US Attorney John McKay.
Embezzlements and Accounting Frauds, University of Washington, Accounting Program, Tacoma, Washington, 2009.
Discovery and Ethical Considerations, US Department of Justice, 2007.
International Extraditions and Letters Rogatory, US Department of Justice, 2005.