Sumeet Sondhi

Sumeet Sondhi

Sumeet Sondhi is counsel to the The Blanch Law Firm. Mr. Sondhi has worked in conjunction with Ryan Blanch on a myriad of matters, ranging from government investigations to white collar and antitrust crimes, his specialties being real estate fraud and complex mortgage fraud matters.

Mr. Sondhi’s extensive knowledge and experience has resulted in a number of favorable outcomes for the firm’s clients. He has represented clients and companies charged with an array of white collar crimes, including:

Price Fixing: Represented a billion dollar air cargo company in a DOJ industry-wide criminal antitrust investigation regarding alleged price fixing
Tax Evasion: Represented a Partner in a corporate restructuring company charged with evading state and federal taxes exceeding $10 million
Human Trafficking: Represented an internet marketing company charged with conspiracy and human trafficking
Racketeering: Represented individuals in the Federal criminal investigation alleging Governor Elliot Spitzer’s association with a prostitution ring known as Emperor’s Club VIP
Smuggling: Represented individual charged with respect to an international car smuggling ring
Organized Crime: Represented Healthcare Clinic owners charged with organized crime, money laundering and insurance fraud
Drug Charge: Represented a prominent physician charged with unlawfully prescribing large amounts of oxycodone
Human Trafficking: Represented a wealthy business owner charged with human trafficking

In addition to representing clients with respect to investigations and criminal matters as ‘Of Counsel” to The Blanch Law Firm, Mr. Sondhi provides comprehensive legal and advisory services to a diverse range of corporate and individual clientele with respect to business transactions, including the acquisition and sale of commercial real estate.

Elena Fast

Elena Fast is a Junior Managing Partner at the Blanch Law Firm, responsible for overseeing business and legal operations of the firm. Prior to joining Blanch Law, Elena worked as a Felony Assistant District Attorney at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York where she handled thousands of cases from arraignment to disposition.

During her six years at the District Attorney’s Office, Elena investigated and prosecuted a wide array of crimes. She has tried dozens of cases to verdict, ranging from misdemeanors to violent felonies. Elena has presented over 200 cases to the Grand Jury for murder, assault, kidnapping, home invasion, pattern robberies and burglaries, grand larceny, narcotics and firearm possession. Elena frequently worked with the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service on long-term investigations involving identity theft,  schemes to defraud,  bank fraud,  insurance fraud  and possession of forged instruments and forgery devices.

As a Brooklyn prosecutor, Elena prosecuted several high profile cases. Notably, Elena handled the double homicide prosecution of Nikolai Rakossi, the “Russian Rambo.” It was the first case in New York history to proceed to trial in the Russian Federation due to lack of extradition. Elena worked in conjunction with the Department of Justice, the Tula Region Prosecutors Office and other Russian authorities on the transfer of prosecution to Russia, Rakossi’s apprehension and subsequent trial in the City of Tula. Rakossi was found guilty and received the maximum sentence of 19 years in a Russian prison camp.

Elena attended the night division of New York Law School and participated in Moot Court. During law school, Elena worked as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration. During her tenure with the Department of Labor, Elena investigated fraud, theft and mismanagement of employer sponsored healthcare and pension plans. Prior to law school, Elena worked in financial roles at Vicis Capital UK and State Street Global Advisors.

Elena graduated first in her class from the College of Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She completed part of her undergraduate coursework at Said Business School at the University of Oxford. Elena is fluent in Russian.

Elena is admitted to the State Bar of New York, the State Bar of New Jersey, United States District Courts: The Southern District of New York and The Eastern District of New York, and the United States Supreme Court.

Alana Yakovlev

Alana Yakovlev

Alana Yakovlev is an attorney at law and of counsel to the Blanch Law Firm. Ms. Yakovlev is a criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles and practices in the L.A. County Superior Courts and Orange County. Alana works primarily out of the firm’s Los Angeles office where she works closely with attorneys in L.A. as well as the rest of the defense team in the firm’s New York and Texas offices. She handles federal and state cases involving Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Internet Crimes, Wire Fraud, Enterprise Corruption, Mortgage Fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, violent crimes and drug crimes.

Ms. Yakovlev is a successful white collar criminal defense attorney who was selected as a Rising Star in 2013 by Super Lawyers, a respected legal ratings service. She will be featured as a Rising Star in the Los Angeles edition of Super Lawyers magazine. To become a Rising Star, Super Lawyers asks legal professionals to nominate fellow lawyers. According to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent of a state’s applicants are chosen as Rising Stars.

Ms. Yakovlev has extensive motion practice and legal research experience in state and federal proceedings. She is familiar with and has successfully obtained favorable sentences, plea agreements and dismissals. Her practice also extends from white collar crimes and includes administrative licensing reinstatement, expungements and immigration hearings.

Ms. Yakovlev also has ample experience in sentencing litigation. In many cases, she was retained by clients during sentencing phases of trials to obtain more favorable outcomes. In one instance, Ms. Yakovlev was able to secure the release of a client who was facing six years in state prison after being charged with first degree burglary. In another case, Ms. Yakovlev secured the release of a client facing four years in prison for possession of crystal meth and receiving stolen property. After Ms. Yakovlev’s intervention, the client was allowed to serve the remainder of her sentence in rehab.

Representative Cases

Case: Client charged with Enterprise Corruption
Result: No jail time

Case: Client charged with RICO, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and four counts of Wire Fraud.
Result: Four counts of wire fraud dismissed and sentenced to one year and four months.

Case: Client investigated for Cyber Stalking
Result: Convinced district attorney not to file charges

Case: Client charged with First Degree Burglary facing six years in state prison
Result: Convicted of second degree commercial burglary and sentenced to 90 days time served

Case: Prior attorney’s client sentenced to four- and two-year concurrent prison terms for possession of crystal meth and receiving stolen property.
Result: Filed petition that got client out of jail and allowed client to serve remaining prison sentence in rehab.

Case: Client charged with annoying and molesting a child facing four years in state prison
Result: Sentenced to time served and released

Prior Experience

Supervising/Lead Trail Attorney at Liberty Bell Law Group, P.C. in Burbank, Calif.

Counsel for State Farm Insurance at Melli Guerin Wall, P.C. in New York, NY.

Legal Analyst at Bloomberg, L.P. in New York, NY


New York Law School, Juris Doctor

University of California, Los Angeles; Bachelor of Arts, Political Science


Federal – U.S. District Courts: Central District of California, Eastern District of California, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York.

States — California, New York, New Jersey

Awards & Recognition

Top 40 Under 40 – National Trial Lawyers 2014

2015 AIOCLA’s 10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in California

Top 10 Under 40 National Academy of Criminal Defense Lawyers 2015

2013 through 2016 Southern California Rising Star ( featured in Super Lawyers and Los Angeles Magazine) – an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Only 2.5 percent of the attorneys in California are named to the Rising Stars list each year.

Top Female Attorney in Southern California 2013 – 2016- Los Angeles Magazine

Admitted to Practice in the following jurisdictions:
(1) California State Court;
(2) Central District of California;
(3) Eastern District of California;
(4) Northern District of California;
(5) New York State Court;
(6) Southern District of New York;
(7) Eastern District of New York;
(8) New Jersey State Court.

Specialties: Criminal Defense, Civil and Commercial Litigation, Administrative Licensing.

Fluent in Russian and Spanish, Proficient in Italian

Emel McDowell

Emel McDowell

Since joining the Blanch Law Firm, Mr. McDowell has devoted himself to insuring that no stone go unturned in the preparation of our firm’s client’s legal defenses. His research and investigative skills have proven invaluable in our team’s effort to win cases.

James A. Schiff