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Brian T. Kelly



With 25+ years of experience in government investigations and white-collar defense, Brian Kelly is a nationally recognized former federal prosecutor and high-profile trial attorney. Brian has tried numerous federal cases including, most notably, U.S. v. James “Whitey” Bulger. His seasoned judgment and strategic counsel comes from decades of experience in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in both Boston and San Diego.

Brian defends corporations and executives in federal and state investigations of all sorts including health care fraud cases, False Claims Act (FCA) allegations, SEC inquiries, internal corporate investigations, insider trading charges, white-collar criminal defense, and NCAA compliance matters.

What do you focus on?

My current practice focuses on complex criminal and civil matters involving government investigations, insider trading, white-collar criminal defense, and regulatory compliance on behalf of public and private clients.

I work extensively in health care and life sciences representing pharmaceutical and medical device companies and executives with issues involving allegations of health care fraud and False Claims Act violations. I also represent individuals facing SEC and DOJ probes. I recently obtained summary judgment in federal court against the SEC in favor of a client accused of securities fraud. The court’s ruling unequivocally vindicated my client.

As a federal prosecutor, I handled some of the most sensitive and complex government trials and investigations including RICO, health care fraud and abuse, public corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, labor racketeering, union corruption, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. I also achieved successful results in running major investigations in well-known, high-profile cases involving official misconduct, embezzlement, obstruction of justice, perjury, extortion, and homicide.

My background gives me a unique perspective and allows me to protect my clients’ interests by proactively identifying risks and providing an objective assessment of the severity of possible violations, as well as the likely response from government investigators and prosecutors. I help my clients develop and implement strategies to mitigate their exposure and damages to their reputations and businesses.

What do you see on the horizon?

The federal government is more aggressive today than ever before, and this trend will continue as a growing number of white-collar crime and corporate misconduct investigations are being pursued by the DOJ and the SEC.

Representative Experience

  • Representing the founder and former CEO of a prescription opioid manufacturer on federal and state litigation matters.
  • Advising DraftKings, a fantasy sports business, with respect to responding to various regulatory inquiries and assisting in various litigation matters across the country.
  • Defending a national hospice company in an ongoing DOJ probe of a qui tam action.
  • Successfully represented a business in a government inquiry regarding allegations of campaign finance fraud.
  • Obtained summary judgment for an investment banker in Rhode Island Federal Court against the SEC’s allegations of securities fraud. At issue was a $75M bond offering by the state of Rhode Island to finance a pre-revenue video game company, 38 Studios LLC, which was owned by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
  • Successfully resolved NCAA compliance and corruption investigation.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in a federal investigation conducted by the Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The investigation was closed with no finding of wrongdoing by the company.
  • Represented the Massachusetts Port Authority in the successful resolution of a lawsuit regarding the installation of an electric transmission cable between the Main Ship Channel and the Reserve Channel in the Boston Harbor.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 technology company in an internal investigation into possible FCPA violations.
  • Involved in the efforts to recover $500M worth of artwork stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.
  • Handled charges of financial fraud involving Boston’s Big Dig project, a massive, years-long highway construction project.

Speaking Engagements

  • “Complex Multi-Defendant Litigation,” Boston Bar Association 2020 White-Collar Crime Conference, Boston, MA, January 15, 2020
  • “Government Investigations,” Risk Management Summit, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 16, 2017.
  • “Public Corruption and Government Fraud Prosecutions Panel,” Boston Bar Association, Boston, MA, April 3, 2014.
  • “Policing and Politics led by Ed Davis,” Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Institute of Politics, Cambridge, MA, March 26, 2014.
  • “Handling High Profile Criminal Cases,” Suffolk University Law School, Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Boston, MA, March 20, 2014.

Racetrack Tells 1st Circ. Wynn RICO Scam Had No Finish Line

Law360 | August 14, 2020

This article—covering a Boston racetrack’s attempt to reinstate a racketeering lawsuit that claims Wynn Resorts cheated it out of a casino license—quotes Boston Government Investigations & White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly. The story mentions Brian and Boston GIWC associate Josh Sharp for representing former Wynn Resorts chairman Stephen Wynn.

Feds Won't Seek Prison For Reported 'Varsity Blues' Tipster

Law360 | August 12, 2020

This article covers an NP client who will avoid prison time, based on prosecutors’ sentencing memorandum, after admitting to participating in a securities fraud scheme. This article mentions Boston Government Investigations & White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associate Charles Dell’Anno for representing the client.

'Varsity Blues' Tipster Gets 1 Year for Stock Schemes

Law360 | August 12, 2020

This article covers an NP client who received an “unprecedented discount” from the judge for his cooperation, getting just one year of prison time after admitting to participating in a securities fraud scheme. The client, who also tipped off federal prosecutors to the sprawling college admissions case, is represented by Boston Government Investigations & White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associate Charles Dell’Anno.

After Government Recommendation of Probation, Man Who Sparked ‘Varsity Blues’ Investigation Gets Prison

Forbes | August 12, 2020

This article covers an NP client who received an “unprecedented discount” from the judge for his cooperation, getting just one year of prison time after admitting to participating in a securities fraud scheme. The client, who also tipped off federal prosecutors to the sprawling college admissions case, is represented by Boston Government Investigations & White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associate Charles Dell’Anno.

Original Tipster in College-Admissions Case Gets Year in Prison

Wall Street Journal | August 12, 2020

This article covers an NP client who received an “unprecedented discount” from the judge for his cooperation, getting just one year of prison time after admitting to participating in a securities fraud scheme. The client, who also tipped off federal prosecutors to the sprawling college admissions case, is represented by Boston Government Investigations & White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associate Charles Dell’Anno.

Start Date For First 'Varsity Blues' Trial Delayed Until February

Law360 | August 06, 2020

This article, covering a judge’s order to delay the first college admissions trial until February due to the coronavirus pandemic, mentions Boston Government Investigations and White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associates Lauren Maynard and Joshua Sharp for representing one of the defendants in the first trial.

Feds, 'Varsity Blues' Parents Agree Virus Should Delay Trial

Law360 | July 16, 2020

This article covers a request by prosecutors in the college admissions case to delay the first trial until late February due to COVID-19 challenges and safety concerns. Counsel for several defendants assented to the request, and the story mentions Boston Government Investigations and White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associates Joshua Sharp and Lauren Maynard for representing one of the defendants.

1st 'Varsity Blues' Trial Date Remains Firm Despite Pandemic

Law360 | May 29, 2020

This article detailing the latest developments in the college admissions case mentions Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associates Joshua Sharp and Lauren Maynard, all of Boston, as co-counsel to a defendant in the case.

Loughlin says "Varsity Blues" charges not tied to Mass.

Law360 | April 01, 2020

This article on the latest developments in the college admissions scandal highlights jurisdictional arguments from a brief written by Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associates Josh Sharp and Lauren Maynard. The NP attorneys are co-counsel to defendant Gamal Abdelaziz.

Loughlin, "Varsity" Blues-parents want "sham" case tossed

Law360 | March 25, 2020

This story on the latest developments in the college admissions matter mentions Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associates Josh Sharp and Lauren Maynard for their representation of Gamal Abdelaziz.

The China Spy Scandal that Entangled Harvard Could Hit Yale and MIT Next

Newsweek | February 29, 2020

Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly provides third-party commentary in this article about investigations into scientists and researchers at universities across the country for alleged theft of intellectual property and U.S. secrets as part of a long-term Chinese campaign.

Casino Exec Says 'Varsity Blues' Call Could Clear His Name

Law360 | February 28, 2020

This article quotes Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly related to a motion asking prosecutors to turn over records of a phone call that could potentially clear his client’s name. The article notes both Brian and associate Joshua Sharp as counsel to Gamal Abdelaziz in the college admissions case.

Michelle Wu sees 'crisis of public trust' in wake of City Hall bribery scandal

Boston Business Journal | February 26, 2020

This story highlights Boston Government Investigations and White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly, who completed an internal review of Boston Zoning Board of Appeal practices in the wake of a bribery scandal that implicated a top City Hall aide.

Following bribery scandal, Walsh revamps zoning board policies

Boston Globe | February 24, 2020

This story highlights Boston Government Investigations and White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly, who completed an internal review of Boston Zoning Board of Appeal practices in the wake of a bribery scandal that implicated a top City Hall aide.

As City Hall aide awaits sentencing for bribery, city looks for reforms

The Boston Globe | February 24, 2020

This article on the latest developments in the Zoning Board of Appeals scandal mentions that Boston Government Investigations and White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly completed a review related to the scandal last fall.

Feds want ex-city official Lynch to get four years in prison in bribery scandal

Boston Herald | January 19, 2020

This article on the continuing fallout from the Zoning Board of Appeals scandal mentions Boston Government Investigations and White-Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly, who prepared a report on the scandal last fall.

Here's what crushed it, and what got crushed, in 2019

Boston Business Journal | December 19, 2019

This roundup of successes and challenges that made local Boston headlines in 2019 highlights the college admissions case, and notes Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly as one of the high-profile attorneys working on the case.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Attorneys Argue Boston Bomber’s Trial Was Unfair, Appeal Death Sentence

WGBH | December 12, 2019

In this broadcast segment, Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly discusses the request from convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys to throw out his conviction.

'Varsity Blues' Dad Accuses Feds Of Holding Back Evidence

Law 360 | December 05, 2019

This article notes Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associate Joshua Sharp for representing former casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz in a case related to the college admissions scandal.

Boston Mayor Walsh says he's committed to ‘overhauling’ city zoning panel

Boston Business Journal | September 10, 2019

This article covers the City of Boston’s decision to hire Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly to investigate unfolding bribery allegations involving the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

City taps Nixon Peabody partner to investigate ZBA bribery scandal

Boston Business Journal | September 07, 2019

This article covers the city of Boston’s hiring of Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly to investigate a federal bribery case. The case relates to a Boston Planning and Development Agency staffer who pleaded guilty to accepting $50,000 in bribes to influence a Boston Zoning Board of Appeal vote to move a condo development project forward.

Judge drops defamation claim in Preston Hollow-Nuveen suit

The Bond Buyer | July 13, 2019

This article features analysis from Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly on a request from a “governmental entity” that has complicated an antitrust dispute between Preston Hollow Capital LLC and Nuveen Investments.

And the LOTW runners up...

American Lawyer Litigation Daily | June 14, 2019

This article highlights a major win for Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly on behalf of his client, Wells Fargo banker Peter Cannava, who was vindicated in a fraud suit brought by the SEC.

Sailing coach caught in maelstrom

The Boston Globe | June 13, 2019

In the following coverage, Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted regarding the favorable District Court decision for NP’s client, a Wells Fargo banker cleared of charges related to his role in the bond transaction for 38 Studios.

How Nixon Peabody’s Brian Kelly Crushed the SEC

American Lawyer “Litigation Daily” | June 13, 2019

Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted regarding the favorable District Court decision for NP’s client, a Wells Fargo banker cleared of charges related to his role in the bond transaction for 38 Studios.

Banker Cannava claims victory over SEC in 38 Studios case

The Bond Buyer | June 12, 2019

In the following coverage, Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted regarding the favorable district court decision for Nixon Peabody’s client, a Wells Fargo banker cleared of charges related to his role in the bond transaction for 38 Studios. The team on this matter also included partners Kathleen Ceglarski Burns, Stephen LaRose and Steven Richard, associate Charles Dell’Anno and paralegal Kanda Faye.

Judge clears banker in 38 Studios case

The Providence Journal | June 12, 2019

In the following coverage, Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted regarding the favorable District Court decision for NP’s client, a Wells Fargo banker cleared of charges related to his role in the bond transaction for 38 Studios. The NP team on this matter also included partners Kathleen Ceglarski Burns, Stephen LaRose and Steven Richard, associate Charles Dell’Anno and paralegal Kanda Faye.

Judge's indictment puts Lelling in hot seat

Boston Globe | April 27, 2019

Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in this article about Massachusetts’ U.S. attorney Andrew Lelling’s decision to indict Judge Shelley Richmond, a sitting Massachusetts state court judge, on obstruction of justice and perjury charges related to helping an undocumented immigrant elude federal authorities.

Former Wynn Resorts GC Moves to Toss $1B RICO Suit

Law360 | April 21, 2019

Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and associate Joshua Sharp are mentioned for their representation of Steve Wynn in this article that provides updates in an ongoing RICO suit in Massachusetts federal court.

Wells Fargo’s Cannava asks court to end 38 Studios case

Bond Buyer | April 01, 2019

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Steven Richard are quoted in this story on their representation of a Wells Fargo banker involved in Rhode Island’s bond placement with 38 Studios.

Massachusetts juries OK with death sentence

Boston Herald | March 03, 2019

This article discusses the applicability of the death penalty in federal cases in Massachusetts and features commentary from former federal prosecutors. Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense Partner Brian Kelly is quoted.

Nevada judge grants restraining order in Wynn case

Boston Herald | November 19, 2018

Boston Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in this article on a Nevada judge’s decision to temporarily prevent the release of a Massachusetts Gaming Commission report containing privileged information about Steve Wynn.

Former federal prosecutor speaks out following Bulger’s death

NBC Boston | October 31, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly, who prosecuted Boston gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger, discusses Bulger’s death this week inside a West Virginia prison.

Convicted killer James “Whitey” Bulger killed

WGBH-TV (PBS affiliate Boston) | October 31, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly, who prosecuted Boston gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger, discusses Bulger’s death this week inside a West Virginia prison.

Bulger was killed when cells were unlocked for breakfast

The Wall Street Journal | October 31, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly, who prosecuted Boston gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger, discusses Bulger’s death this week inside a West Virginia prison.

Boston gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger killed in prison a day after transfer

NBC Boston | October 30, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly, who prosecuted Boston gangster ‘Whitey’ Bulger, discusses Bulger’s death this week inside a West Virginia prison.

Plaintiffs firms in State Street probe in talks to settle with special master

National Law Journal | August 21, 2018

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in this story on his ongoing representation of Thornton Law Firm in a dispute over billing in a securities class action case.

Could the trial of former campaign chair Paul Manafort spell legal trouble for President Trump?

WGBH TV (Boston PBS affiliate) | July 30, 2018

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly appeared on the WGBH program Greater Boston, discussing what Paul Manafort’s trial could mean for President Trump.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission looking into whether Steve Wynn still has 'residual influence' on Wynn Resorts

MassLive.com | April 11, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston government investigations and white-collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in several stories discussing his representation of Steve Wynn, the founder of Wynn Resorts LLC, which is building a casino in Everett.

Mass. regulator to probe Steve Wynn’s remaining influence on company

Boston Business Journal | April 11, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston government investigations and white-collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in several stories discussing his representation of Steve Wynn, the founder of Wynn Resorts LLC, which is building a casino in Everett.

Steve Wynn wants his name cut from Massachusetts casino license

Bloomberg News | April 11, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston government investigations and white-collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in several stories discussing his representation of Steve Wynn, the founder of Wynn Resorts LLC, which is building a casino in Everett.

Massachusetts asked to remove Steve Wynn from casino license

Associated Press | April 11, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston government investigations and white-collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in several stories discussing his representation of Steve Wynn, the founder of Wynn Resorts LLC, which is building a casino in Everett.

Mass. Asbestos Removal Co. Owes Union $700K, Judge Says

Law360 | March 29, 2018

This article focuses on recent developments in a federal case involving the pay of unionized construction workers and quotes government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly.  The article also mentions associate Eric Walz for representing asbestos-removal company SMI Demolition Inc.

Billionaire Insys founder can remove ankle monitor: judge

Reuters (also picked up in U.S. News and World Report) | November 27, 2017

This coverage quotes Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly, who successfully argued that his client, Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor, is not a flight risk and should not have to wear an ankle bracelet with GPS monitoring.

Billionaire pharmaceuticals entrepreneur indicted in alleged fentanyl fraud scheme

Wall Street Journal | October 25, 2017

This article quotes Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly for representing John Kapoor, the former chief executive of pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics, Inc. in an ongoing investigation.

Contact

Brian T. Kelly

Partner

Boston

Phone: 617-345-1065


Fax: 855-714-9513

University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D.

Dartmouth College, B.A., magna cum laude

California

Massachusetts

U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Brian was selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 in the field of Criminal Defense: General Practice and Criminal Defense: White-Collar. He was previously recognized by Best Lawyers in 2020. He was also recognized as a “Litigation Star” in the 2020 edition of Benchmark Litigation.

Brian has been recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2020 for Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Massachusetts).

Brian was the recipient of the 2004 Exceptional Service Award—the Department of Justice’s highest award received in Washington, DC, from the United States Attorney General.

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