Charles F. Connolly is an experienced trial attorney and investigator, whose practice focuses on representing companies and individuals in government and corporate investigations, related criminal and regulatory matters and complex civil litigation. Mr. Connolly currently serves as a member of the firm’s litigation practice steering committee.
Practice & Background
Mr. Connolly represents clients in wide variety of matters relating to federal and state criminal and regulatory enforcement, including federal and state securities laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), and Anti-Money Laundering (AML), federal procurement, public corruption and U.S. sanctions regimes. He has significant experience investigating and trying complex financial fraud cases and leading internal investigations.
Prior to joining the firm, he served in the leadership offices of the Department of Justice as the acting deputy chief of staff and counselor to the Attorney General of the United States. In that position, Mr. Connolly advised the Attorney General on legal and policy issues involving criminal law enforcement, corporate fraud, public corruption, death penalty cases, and congressional oversight matters.
Immediately prior to joining the firm, Mr. Connolly served as chief of the Financial Crimes & Public Corruption Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted and investigated complex financial crimes, including corporate and securities fraud, TARP fraud, bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, FCPA, mortgage fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, public corruption and other complex financial frauds. From 2002-2009, Mr. Connolly was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. He served as a lead prosecutor on one of the largest criminal cases arising out of the financial crises; the successful jury trial and conviction of the former Chairman and owner of what was once the largest private mortgage origination company in the country, in a $3 billion bank and securities fraud case. He also served as the lead prosecutor in a sixteen-week, four-defendant jury trial involving charges of accounting fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Mr. Connolly has briefed and argued appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and has won appellate arguments involving corporate attorney-client privilege and securities fraud venue issues (In re Grand Jury Subpoena: Under Seal, 415 F.3d 333 (4th Cir. 2005); U.S. v. Johnson, 510 F.3d 521 (4th Cir. 2007)).
Before joining the government, Mr. Connolly spent seven years in private practice in the Washington, D.C. office of another international law firm as a white-collar criminal defense and securities enforcement attorney. Mr. Connolly is a member of the distinguished Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court, an invitation-only professional organization specializing in white-collar criminal prosecution and defense.
Mr. Connolly served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business Law at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He was also a member of the national moot court team.
Mr. Connolly’s engagements include:
- representing companies, officers and directors in FCPA parallel investigations and enforcement actions
- conducting internal investigations and providing compliance advice on the FCPA and other international anticorruption laws to clients in various industries
- conducting internal investigations for a Fortune 100 company related to alleged financial misconduct of international subsidiaries in China, Mexico and Brazil
- serving as counsel to a monitor of an international bank focused on BSA, AML and sanctions compliance issues
- representing two regional banks in investigations by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ)
- successfully representing a group of large institutional investors in a federal civil suit related to fees improperly collected by the former general partner
- representing an international company in a World Bank corruption investigation resulting in the investigation being closed without any actions against the company or any of its employees
- representing a casino in a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) BSA/AML enforcement action
- leading an internal investigation for an international consulting firm into allegations of potential kickbacks involving one of its employees
- representing a former employee of a major financial institution in a DOJ criminal investigation related to the origination and sale of mortgage-backed securities
- serving as a lead prosecutor on $3 billion, bank and securities fraud jury trial, resulting in conviction of the owner and chairman of one of the largest mortgage origination companies in the country
- serving as lead prosecutor on sixteen-week, four-defendant jury trial involving charges of accounting fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice
- working with the Criminal Division Fraud Section on significant FCPA Corporate Deferred Prosecution Agreements
- leading negotiations of a $210 million deferred prosecution agreement with a Fortune 50 company
- Chief, Financial Crimes & Public Corruption Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia
- Deputy Chief, Financial Crimes & Public Corruption Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia
- Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia
- Acting Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General
- Counselor, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General.
Awards and Accolades
- Recognized in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers, 2016
- Recognized as “2013 Attorneys Who Matter” by Ethisphere magazine.
- 2013 Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service
- 2011 Assistant Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award
- 2011 Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, Award for Excellence.
- Panelist, “Litigation Forum: Keeping Your Head When Everyone Around You Is Losing Theirs,” Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region, Washington, D.C. (September 7, 2017)
- Panelist, “The Yates Memo: A Lawyer’s Professional Responsibility,” FDLI Webinar (December 14, 2016)
- Co-chair, “Compliance Challenges: What Keeps In-House Counsel Up at Night,” Corporate Counsel Symposium, New York, NY (December 2, 2015)
- Moderator, “Taking the Pulse of Regulators: A discussion of regulatory themes in the U.S. and overseas,” Akin Gump Annual New York Investment Funds Conference, New York, NY, (October 13, 2015)
- Panelist, “As the World (Bank) Turns: Compliance and Enforcement Principles in World Contracting,” Akin Gump Seminar, New York, NY (October 1, 2015)
- Panelist, “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2015,” PLI, New York, NY and via webcast (May 5, 2015)
- Panelist, “Responding to a Cybersecurity Breach,” Akin Gump’s seminar on “The Cybersecurity Pandemic,” New York, NY (November 5, 2014)
- Panelist, “Thinking Globally About Discovery – Offensive and Defensive Strategies,” WMACCA Litigation Forum (October 2014)
- Panelist, “DOJ and Congressional Enforcement in the Energy Sector,” The Energy Bar Association, Energy Enforcement Outlook for 2014, Houston, TX (January 30, 2014)
- Panelist, "On the Inside Looking Out – Lessons Learned From the Increased Enforcement Actions Against In-House Counsel,” WMACCA Litigation Forum, Washington, DC (December 4, 2013)
- Panelist, “A Guide to the FCPA and its Accounting Provisions,” Institute of Finance and Management’s Controllers’ Summit, Las Vegas, NV (October 21, 2013).