Conn Kavanaugh has extensive experience advising businesses and individuals who are the subject of criminal or regulatory investigations or proceedings. Several of our partners are former prosecutors, and that expertise is brought to every case we handle. Each case involves mastery of the underlying facts and an assessment of the risks and exposure so that important decisions can be made. Many of our clients are individuals, for whom the experience can be particularly difficult.
The criminal and regulatory matters handled by Conn Kavanaugh involve a close working relationship with counsel for other parties, usually under a protected joint-defense arrangement. Also, the centerpiece of our successful representation of clients in this area is the credibility we have with prosecutors. We pride ourselves on being known as tough negotiators who are not afraid of taking cases to trial.
Conn Kavanaugh has a thorough understanding of the many and complex federal and state laws in this area. We stay abreast of trends in the law, some of which develop rapidly. Our goal, in any case, is to assist our clients in assessing risks and deciding strategy. We prepare every case intending to present it to a jury, but we quickly assess whether a negotiated resolution is the preferred course.
Conn Kavanaugh also represents business entities who may have been victims of criminal conduct by employees or others. We are experienced in conducting confidential internal investigations to identify wrongdoers, assess harm, and recommend remedial action.
Even the finest organizations can find themselves in a situation where an internal investigation is needed. Internal
investigations are always part of the process when the possibility of white collar criminal activity or a regulatory
investigation arises. Sometimes, client organizations may elect to conduct a proactive internal investigation to
forestall regulatory scrutiny or criminal charges, or simply to prevent behavior that disrupts their operations.
In either scenario, the Conn Kavanaugh team is composed of topflight litigators with decades of experience in
conducting these sensitive investigations with complete discretion and confidentiality.
Our Internal Investigations team focuses on uncovering activities that could trigger regulatory scrutiny or public
corruption charges, assessing the extent of the problem, and taking corrective action to mitigate undesirable
consequences with as little disruption to the client individual or company as possible. In those matters already
under government scrutiny, our goal is to persuade prosecutors not to pursue criminal charges at all. When criminal
charges are pursued, our seasoned trial lawyers–several of whom are former prosecutors – are well-equipped
to defend matters throughout the entire process, including handling grand jury subpoenas, complex jury trials,
Our attorneys are called upon to investigate virtually any behavior that disrupts the smooth operation of
organizations and threatens reputations. We frequently advise clients to undertake such internal investigations
immediately upon discovering that any irregularities may have occurred. Issues that at first appear to be minor
often turn out to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg. With our expertise, clients may develop the best plan of
defense to white collar and regulatory crises, both inside and outside of the courtroom.
Triggers for Internal Investigations
Allegations of or suspicions of:
- Public corruption
- Corporate regulatory compliance
- Ethics violations
- Unlawful kickbacks
- Healthcare fraud and Federal grant fraud
- Securities fraud
- Broker misconduct
- Financial fraud, False statements, and Overbilling
- False Claim or Qui Tam Matters
- Disadvantaged Business Enterprise fraud
- Workplace misconduct, discrimination, hostile work environment
- Sexual harassment and sexual favoritism
- Title IX issues
- Wage and hour violations
- Immigration fraud
- Tax fraud
- Consumer Investigative Demands (CIDs)
In addition to representing individuals targeted by government investigations, we represent a wide range of
organizations. Typically, we are contacted by Corporate General Counsel, Principal Owners of Companies, Board
Presidents, CEOs, Presidents of Trade Organizations, or Town Counsel to conduct confidential internal investigations
before, during, and even after there has been any government scrutiny. Those organizations include:
- For-profit corporations both large and small
- Non-profit organizations and charities
- Municipalities, cities, towns
- Fire departments, police departments, public works departments and other municipal entities
Once our attorneys have been briefed by the client, most or all of these activities will follow.
- Comprehensive document review of all relevant books and records
- Interviews of affected executives, officers, employees, and related staff
- Evaluation of the facts to determine possible criminal and civil exposure
- Identification of the scope of involvement in the issue at hand
- Assistance in setting realistic objectives for successful outcomes
- Recommendations to prevent future incidences
- Preparation of disclosure documents or Investigative Reports
- Facilitation of criminal prosecution or pursuit of civil claims against inside corporate wrong doers
- Development of a prevention plan to mitigate risk of a public investigation
- Defense to a government investigation if one should become necessary
- Defending clients if charges or indictments are filed
- Assistance in avoiding public exposure, embarrassment, media attention, and further investigations,
to the extent possible
Co-Chair of Conn Kavanaugh’s White Collar and Regulatory Practice Group, Carol Starkey is a trial lawyer with more than three decades of experience in white collar criminal defense and regulatory law. She handles all stages of the process: conducting internal investigations, responding to grand jury subpoenas, knowing who to meet in state and federal prosecutors’ offices to defend companies and individuals from facing government scrutiny, criminal indictments or complaints, handling complex jury trials and appeals.
Prior to joining the firm as a white collar defense attorney, Carol was a prosecutor for fourteen years, first as an
Assistant District Attorney, and then as Chief of the Economic Crimes Division of the Massachusetts Attorney
General’s Office, where she concentrated in white collar crime and public corruption. There, she prosecuted
hundreds of white collar crime and public corruption cases, including some of the largest cases ever indicted
on behalf of the Commonwealth. That experience now informs her defense work with first-hand knowledge
about how the government prioritizes, handles, and resolves high stakes matters involving both individuals
and corporations. Her deep background as a prosecutor and her current civil and criminal defense work give
her perspective from all angles, whether she is conducting internal investigations for her clients, or preventing,
mitigating, and defending against liability in all types of civil and criminal matters.
Compliance / Internal Investigations
- Conducting complex internal investigations into allegations of workplace misconduct, fraud and false billing schemes.
- Conducting internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and work-place misconduct.
- Conducting internal investigation into potential wage and hour violations, tax fraud and financial misconduct by client company’s employees.
- Conducting internal investigation of alleged broker misconduct on behalf of client company.
State / Federal Fraud Charges
- Representation of individual who was the subject of federal anti-kickback investigation involving pharmaceutical company and clinic.
- Representation of senior executive for allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and claims of trade secret violations, successfully obtaining dismissal of all claims prior to trial without payment.
- Representation of companies who are victims of internal fraud, conducting internal investigations to assess the extent of the wrongdoing and representing the companies’ interests throughout the prosecution.
- Representation of a law firm and principle shareholder under federal investigation for obtaining and causing kickbacks and unearned fees in connection with an alleged mortgage fraud scheme.
- Representation of Executive in defense of allegations of bank fraud of over twenty million dollars.
- Representation of family members victimized by the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
- Representation of business executives and their companies in defense of civil racketeering charges, successfully obtaining a directed verdict at trial.
- Representation of attorneys before the Board of Bar Overseers in disciplinary proceedings.
- Representation of attorneys and law firms in defense of legal malpractice and fraudulent misrepresentation charges.
- Representation of individual accountant for Bank accused of accounting errors and material wrongdoing.
- Representation of immunized witness in tax fraud investigation.
- Representation of employees of company accused of federal tax fraud.
State / Federal Investigations
- Representation of senior health care executive against federal allegations of false claims and health care fraud, successfully keeping client from indictment.
- Representation of insurers in defense of criminal victims’ law suits against the insured.
- Representation of numerous individuals involved in state and federal grand jury investigations.
- Representation of individuals in federal health care fraud investigations.
- Representation of businesses and individuals as witnesses in criminal trade regulation investigation.
- Multiple representations of health care providers before Boards of Registration.
- Representation of individual charged with vehicular homicide.
- Representation of individual charged with felony assault on a law enforcement officer during airport confrontation.
- Representation of individual charged with identity fraud, computer violations, and wiretap and privacy violations.
- Representation of individual in appeal and new trial motion after sex offense convictions.
- Representation of individual accused of felony assault and reckless endangerment though use of a car to crash through building.
- Representation of individuals in violation of domestic restraining orders.