William J. Harrington

William J. Harrington

William J. Harrington

A former federal prosecutor, Bill Harrington is an experienced trial lawyer and appellate advocate. He specializes in criminal defense, government civil and regulatory actions, and internal investigations.

Criminal, Regulatory and Congressional Investigations

Companies and senior executives have chosen Mr. Harrington to defend them in a broad range of high-profile, sensitive criminal, regulatory, and Congressional investigations. He recently acted as trial counsel to the former president of Warner Chilcott in a widely reported victory at a federal anti-kickback criminal trial. Mr. Harrington represents multiple current and former bank executives in benchmark antitrust and fraud investigations, including those related to the foreign exchange markets, LIBOR, precious metals, and ISDAFIX. He also defends senior executives, hedge fund traders and companies in insider trading investigations and prosecutions.

Mr. Harrington’s practice frequently involves novel questions of how regulatory and criminal rules apply to new technologies. Recently, he represented Symphony Communications – a provider of encrypted communications systems – in regulatory matters; CloudFlare – a website optimizer – in disputes with copyright holders over the scope of federal injunctive authority; and GoFundMe – a crowdfunding platform – in sanctions compliance matters.

Mr. Harrington recently represented broker-dealer executives in FSA, DOJ and SEC trading-fee probes, a senior executive in a mismarking investigation, a former state investigator in an investigation related to a New York State anti-corruption commission, and individuals in a federal antitrust investigation of state tax lien sales.

Civil Fraud Suits

Mr. Harrington is an expert in federal civil fraud suits under the False Claims Act and FIRREA. He successfully represented Countrywide Home Loans in defeating a FIRREA and False Claims Act case in which the DOJ contended a sales program known as “HSSL” fraudulently generated mortgage loans that were sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He represents a physicians group – Physicians Alliance Ltd – in a False Claims Act suit related to the formation of a hospital joint venture with a national hospital chain, HMA. Other recent clients include a pharmaceutical company and a military contractor facing False Claims Act allegations. Mr. Harrington is regularly invited to speak to industry and legal groups on the False Claims Act and he writes a quarterly column in the New York Law Journal on federal affirmative fraud suits.

Foreign Bribery and International Money Laundering

Mr. Harrington has extensive experience in foreign bribery allegations and international money laundering matters, having represented consumer product companies, energy company executives, financial institutions and military contractors in both corporate internal and grand jury Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations. He has also designed anti-corruption training materials and compliance policies. His matters have included those raising allegations of corruption or money laundering in Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Lebanon, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and the Ukraine.

Pro Bono

Mr. Harrington represents indigent individuals as a member of both the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit’s pro bono panel.

Professional Experience

Mr. Harrington worked in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from 2006 through 2012. His notable prosecutions, focusing broadly on corruption and fraud cases, include:

  • The bribery scheme involving former New York State Senator Carl Kruger, New York State Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, two hospital CEOs and a registered lobbyist
  • The conviction of investment advisor Ken Starr for embezzling tens of millions of dollars in client funds and defrauding clients through speculative securities investments
  • A Lebanon based-money laundering organization that laundered tens of millions of dollars in fraud proceeds throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia
  • A bank employee’s scheme to mine bank computer systems, steal customer identities and misappropriate millions of dollars in home mortgages
  • The conviction of the employee of a U.S. military contractor for accepting corrupt payments in Afghanistan
  • A scheme to commit access device fraud by using stolen identities, including information obtained by “phishing” financial institution and credit reporting agency data
  • The prosecution of retired Long Island Railroad workers in a widespread, billion dollar disability and health care fraud scheme

In his last two years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Harrington regularly worked on parallel investigations with the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including the management of criminal investigations based on qui tam complaints. He was appointed Criminal Health Care Fraud Coordinator, responsible for the S.D.N.Y.’s fraud prosecutions involving health care providers and pharmaceutical companies. He oversaw a broad range of investigations, including:

  • Foreign and domestic kickback payments paid by U.S. pharmaceutical companies
  • Federal program fraud, including fraudulent billing of Medicare and Medicaid and off-label marketing
  • Embezzlement from hospitals and health care organizations

Mr. Harrington served as a law clerk to the Honorable Chester J. Straub of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2001-2002, and to the Honorable Sidney H. Stein, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1999-2000.

From 2007 through 2012, Mr. Harrington served as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, teaching a course covering the ethical and strategic considerations in exercising federal prosecutorial authority.

Mr. Harrington is a member of the Federal Bar Council. He participated in the Federal Bar Council American Inn of Court from 2002 through 2007.

Mr. Harrington is fluent in Spanish.


Mr. Harrington is recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of the top White Collar Crime & Government Investigations litigators  in New York. Chambers notes that Bill’s  “knowledge and depth in the SEC field is renowned.” Mr. Harrington is also currently recognized as a top white collar lawyer by Legal 500 US and Super Lawyers, and one of the world’s leading white collar crime lawyers by Euromoney’s Expert Guides: White Collar Crime Lawyers. Additionally, he is listed in Global Investigations Review 100, a guide to the world’s leading firms for corporate investigations.

At Yale Law School, Mr. Harrington earned the Potter Stewart Prize (Best Team) in the Morris Tyler Moot Court competition and he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and the Journal of Law and Humanities.

Areas of Practice



J.D., 1999
Yale Law School
B.A., 1995
Yale College
(magna cum laude)


1999-2000 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Honorable Sidney H. Stein
2001-2002 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Honorable Chester J. Straub



New York


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York


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