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William "Bill" C. Athanas

Bill Athanas represents companies and individuals in all facets of government investigations, including those charged in grand jury investigations and other government enforcement actions.  His clients include those accused of federal crimes and those facing SEC enforcement actions, as well as healthcare providers confronting False Claims Act investigations and lawsuits, witnesses called to testify in federal and state grand jury investigations, and companies subpoenaed to produce documents in ongoing investigations.  Whether as part of ongoing government inquiries or otherwise, Bill also regularly conducts internal investigations on behalf of clients in the healthcare, manufacturing and financial services industries.         

In counseling his clients, Bill draws on over twenty years’ experience handling complex white collar criminal matters - both as a federal prosecutor and defense counsel - to provide an insider’s perspective on the range of issues presented whether individuals and companies find themselves in the government’s sights or are simply drawn into investigations as witnesses. He has tried over twenty cases to verdict, and represented scores of individuals and companies facing government inquiries.  

In addition to his experience handling criminal, regulatory and internal investigations and trials in the banking, healthcare and securities areas, Bill’s in-depth knowledge of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enables him to counsel clients engaged in international business on anti-corruption issues.  His clients in this area have included companies operating in the apparel, manufacturing, gaming, pharmaceutical, automotive, and resource extraction industries, as well as professional sports. As part of this work, he regularly provides training for key employees, creates and modifies anti-corruption policies and protocols, and provides day-to-day advice and counsel as FCPA issues arise.

Bill's background and experience are reflected in his research and speaking engagements. He writes and speaks frequently on a range of topics, including:

  • Defense of government enforcement actions
  • Compliance program creation and enhancement strategies
  • Internal investigations
  • Anti-corruption compliance strategies and enforcement trends
  • Federal criminal procedure and sentencing issues

View a full list of Bill’s speaking engagements and research.

From individuals facing federal criminal charges to healthcare companies, manufacturers and financial institutions facing government inquiries, clients appreciate Bill's capacity to fully comprehend their issues and help them navigate in ever-challenging environments.

Honors and Recognitions

  • 2017 Mid-South Super Lawyer

Experience

  • Represented former CEO of local company charged  in the Northern District of Alabama with federal fraud and tax offenses
  • Lead an internal investigation in Asia for the wholly owned subsidiary of a publicly traded corporation
  • Represented a large publicly traded entity in the defense of False Claims Act qui tam litigation filed in the Northern District of Alabama
  • Represented medical practice in federal investigation of potential violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act relating to alleged importation of unapproved and misbranded medications
  • Represent financial institution officer in federal criminal investigation in the Northern District of Alabama relating to alleged nominee loans
  • Represented corporate entities in ongoing federal grand jury investigation in the Northern District of Alabama regarding alleged improper receipt of federal grant funds
  • Represent management services company in connection with federal investigation of dental claims in the Western District of Kentucky
  • Represented dermatologist and dermatology practice in enforcement action filed by Department of Justice in the Western District of Tennessee alleging violations of federal False Claims Act
  • Represented physician in federal criminal investigation in the Northern District of Alabama involving submission of nurse practitioner claims
  • Represent healthcare provider in defense of ongoing federal grand jury investigation in the Northern District of Alabama regarding alleged violations of the False Claims Act
  • Represent individuals in defense of ongoing securities fraud federal grand jury investigation in the Northern District of Alabama
  • Represent individuals facing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation relating to allegations of securities fraud
  • Represented individual in Securities and Exchange Commission investigation regarding alleged insider trading
  • Represented former chair of publicly traded company audit committee in SEC investigation regarding alleged securities fraud
  • Represented individual charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and healthcare fraud in the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Represented former officers and directors of federally insured financial institutions in Alabama and Florida in connection with claims asserted by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Represented individual charged with fraud and commercial bribery in sentencing proceedings in the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Serve as primary outside anti-corruption counsel advising numerous publicly traded and privately held companies in the manufacturing, apparel, resource extraction, gaming, professional sports, and construction industries on anti-corruption compliance issues

As a federal prosecutor

  • Conducted multi-year investigation of the former Community Bank in Blountsville, Alabama, which culminated in the trial, convictions and imprisonment of five individuals, including the institution's former chief executive officer. The main trial in that case (which lasted over seven weeks) is recognized as the lengthiest and most complex bank fraud case ever tried in the Northern District of Alabama
  • Published a detailed article recounting the issues and challenges faced in that case, entitled "From One Big House to Another: Lessons Learned from the Community Bank Prosecutions” in The Banking Law Journal
  • Tried and secured convictions in a number of high profile matters including:
    • Edward Browning McClain, a sitting state senator charged with bribery and money laundering
    • Suzanne Schmitz, a sitting state representative charged with mail fraud and federal program fraud
    • Gregory Clarke, the pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church charged with filing false tax returns
  • Tried a broad range of cases in federal court, including those involving the False Claims Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, mail, wire, bank, tax and securities fraud and money laundering
  • Handled countless grand jury investigations, evidentiary hearings and sentencing proceedings
  • Authored several briefs and represented the United States in oral arguments before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Professional

  • Chair, White Collar Crime Committee of the Criminal Justice Section of the Alabama Bar (2014-present)
  • Chair, Alabama Bar Association, International Law Section (2011-present)

Prior Affiliations

  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala., 2006-2009
  • Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, Washington, D.C., 2001-2005
  • Associate, Donoghue, Barrett & Singal, Boston, 1997-2001

Education

  • J.D., cum laude, Suffolk University Law School, 1995
    • Suffolk University Law Review
  • B.S., University of New Hampshire, 1992

Legal Services

Industries Served

Bar Admissions

  • Alabama
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First and Eleventh Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, All Districts of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, All Districts of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, All Districts of New Hampshire

Up Close

Bill was a long suffering Red Sox fan until he spent an embarrassingly large percentage of his then-government salary to be present when the team’s 86-year World Series drought ended in St. Louis in 2004.  He does not regret the decision.