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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

  • “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.

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.

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.

Exclusive: Prosecutors identify Insys founder as unindicted co-conspirator in opioid case

Reuters | September 13, 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.

Should judiciary limit PACER access to protect informants?

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | June 28, 2017

Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in this article about public access to criminal dockets on PACER.

Former Massachusetts chemist to pay $2M to wrongly convicted man

WBUR-FM (Boston NPR affiliate) | June 21, 2017

In this radio segment, Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly discusses the latest developments in the case of former Massachusetts lab worker Annie Dookhan.  This week, a federal judge ordered Dookhan to pay more than $2 million to a man who was wrongly convicted as a result of Dookhan’s role in falsifying evidence.

Illegal immigrant cases on docket

The Boston Herald | May 29, 2017

Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in this article about the recent media blitz from the Massachusetts U.S. attorney’s office publicizing its work with illegal immigration cases.

3 federal prosecutors in Mass. seek US attorney post

Boston Globe | May 12, 2017

Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly was quoted in this article about the three possible replacements for the US Attorney for Massachusetts position.

Prosecutors submit shortened list of Dookhan convictions they want upheld

WBUR (NPR Boston affiliate) | April 17, 2017

Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly provided third-party commentary about the ramifications of former state chemist Annie Dookhan’s falsification of tens of thousands of drug tests.

RI Commerce agrees to $50K penalty to SEC for role in 38 Studios deal

Providence Journal | March 28, 2017

Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in this article about an SEC matter regarding a 2010 bond-offering.

Lahey Clinic embroiled in Bermuda’s ongoing political tumult

Boston Globe | February 14, 2017

This article is about a federal lawsuit filed by the government of Bermuda alleging civil racketeering charges against Massachusetts-based Lahey Clinic.  Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly provides third party commentary on the unusual case.

Meet the judge who will hear the Boston legal challenge of Trump’s ban

Boston Globe | February 02, 2017

This article focuses on the judge who will hear Boston’s challenge of the Trump administration’s recent executive order regarding the immigration ban. Boston government investigations and white collar defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted discussing Judge Gorton’s judicial style.

Federal prosecutors launch probe of law firm over donations

The Boston Globe | November 15, 2016

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in this article about the opening of a grand jury investigation of a Massachusetts law firm for its contributions to political candidates.

More calls for a probe of Thornton law firm’s political donations

The Boston Globe | November 01, 2016

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted in regarding his representation of a Massachusetts law firm and its contributions to political candidates.

Spotlight: Law firm ‘bonuses’ tied to political donations

Boston Globe | October 28, 2016

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is included in this article about a high-profile client matter involving a Massachusetts law firm and its political contributions.

Cannava Fighting SEC's Effort to Put Him Back in 38 Studios Suit

The Bond Buyer | October 02, 2016

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly is quoted throughout this piece that follows the ongoing developments in the fight between Peter Cannava and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Boston commercial litigation partner Steve LaRose and associate Kathleen Ceglarski Burns are also part of the legal team representing Cannava.

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© 2020 in the field of Criminal Defense: General Practice.

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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