Thomas C. Frongillo
Thomas C. Frongillo, is the Co-Managing Partner of the Boston Office and the Co-Chair of the Firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice. He is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, and a trial lawyer with over 35 years of litigation experience, specializing in white collar criminal defense and complex commercial litigation. Mr. Frongillo represents corporations and individuals in white collar prosecutions and corporate and regulatory investigations involving the Economic Espionage Act (EEA), cryptocurrency, health care fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud, public corruption, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and environmental crimes.
Throughout his career, both as a private practitioner and as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Frongillo has been called upon to handle a multitude of complex, high-stakes cases involving a wide range of legal issues in jurisdictions across the country. In 2013, he served as Special Counsel to the Massachusetts House of Representatives Committee on Ethics in an investigation of possible misconduct by a State Representative. He has represented the Massachusetts Legislature in a federal grand jury investigation of alleged corrupt hiring practices involving the Massachusetts Office of the Commissioner of Probation. In other high-profile matters, Mr. Frongillo has successfully represented the majority owners of an NBA team in a dispute concerning a trade of one of the NBA’s top players; the engineers who designed the ceiling of the Big Dig’s connector tunnel near Logan Airport in Boston that collapsed in 2006; a Fortune 50 company in an investigation by the SEC of alleged securities fraud stemming from the financial crisis of 2008; a bank in the Nation’s largest bank failure; a University in an investigation of alleged financial impropriety by its former president; and a non-profit Rhode Island hospital indicted on federal public corruption charges. He represented the City of Boston in proceedings before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in connection with the proposed development of a casino in the Boston area.
A former trial advocacy instructor at the Attorney General’s Institute for Trial Advocacy, Mr. Frongillo is well known for his thorough preparation and courtroom skills. In 2009, he obtained an acquittal of a senior executive of W.R. Grace in a landmark three-month criminal jury trial, United States v. W.R. Grace, in which his client was vindicated on charges of knowing endangerment under the Clean Air Act and conspiracy to defraud the United States. The Justice Department characterized the case as the most significant criminal environmental prosecution in United States history. Due to Mr. Frongillo’s cross-examination of the government’s key witness, evidence of the government’s discovery violations were exposed, which resulted in a mid-trial hearing on prosecutorial misconduct. Ultimately, this incident played a key role in the Justice Department’s subsequent overhaul of its criminal discovery practices. Recently, in 2018, he obtained an acquittal of a prominent real estate developer charged with committing extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act in United States v. DeCicco. In that case, through vigorous discovery efforts, the defense uncovered evidence of undocumented meetings between federal agents and a government confidential source, as well as the government’s failure to preserve critical evidence. This resulted in the district court’s issuance of jury instructions on spoliation of evidence and the government’s failure to follow normal investigatory practices.
While serving as an Assistant United States Attorney, federal law enforcement agencies frequently called on Mr. Frongillo to handle some of their most important and difficult cases. Mr. Frongillo was the lead prosecutor in a case known as Operation Southwest Express, which involved the indictment of over 100 individuals in several jurisdictions in the largest narcotics and money laundering case investigated by the FBI at that time. Mr. Frongillo also was a member of the prosecution team in United States v. Darryl Whiting, a/k/a “God,” a case involving the trial of The New York Boys, a violent inner-city gang consisting of over 50 members and the subject of the movie In Too Deep. Many of his cases also involved the investigation of money laundering and tax violations. In his 10 years as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Frongillo worked closely with the FBI, IRS, DEA, Boston Police and Massachusetts State Police, and was instrumental in the formation of a task force of those law enforcement agencies that later dismantled several organized criminal enterprises in New England.
A leader in his field, Mr. Frongillo is a frequent author and speaker on white collar and regulatory issues. In the wake of September 11th, he consulted with members of the United States Treasury, the SEC, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network regarding their promulgation of anti-money laundering federal regulations under the USA Patriot Act.
He has been named a “Leading Lawyer” for White Collar Criminal Defense and for Trade Secrets by The Legal 500 USA, a “Best Lawyer” in White Collar Criminal Defense by The Best Lawyers in America© , and a “Leading Lawyer” by Chambers USA, which noted that he has been described by clients as “one of the smartest people I’ve ever met” and an advocate who “brings a very calming influence.” His publication titled “The Reinvigorated Confrontation Clause: A New Basis to Challenge the Admission of Evidence from Non-Testifying Forensic Experts in White Collar Prosecutions,” received the IADC 2015 George W. Yancey Memorial Award. While serving as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Frongillo received many awards and commendations from the United States Department of Justice, the FBI, the DEA, the ATF, the Customs Service, the IRS, and various state and local law enforcement agencies.
Cybersecurity & Data Privacy
Trade Secret Litigation
White Collar Defense & Government Investigations
J.D., University of Virginia School of Law
B.A., College of the Holy Cross
Assistant United States Attorney
District of Massachusetts
State Bar of Massachusetts
United States District Court, Massachusetts
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
MEMBERSHIPS & AFFILIATIONS
Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Litigation Counsel of America
Former Chair of the White Collar Defense and Criminal Investigations Committee of the International Association of Defense Counsel
Former Co-Chair of the White Collar Crime Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Member of the Board of Overseers of the Epiphany School of Boston
Previous member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Boston Legal Services
Previous member of the Brown University Parents Leadership Group.
When the Government Comes Calling on Your Civil Client, co-authored with, Paul Mogin, Williams and Connolly LLP; Sonia Escobio O’Donnell, Sonia Escobio O’Donnell PA; M.C. Sungaila, Haynes and Boone LLP, February 2018.
Yet Another Revision of the Justice Department’s Requirements for Corporations to Obtain Cooperation Credit in Criminal Investigations, with Caroline Simons. Fish Litigation Blog, November 2015.
High Court Declines Certiorari Petitionin U.S. v. Newman, with Caroline Simons. Fish Litigation Blog, October 2015.
The SEC’s Gambit in Peixoto Backfires: The Commission Is Forced To Dismiss Its Administrative Case Against Peixoto Following Newman Decision, with Caroline Simons. Fish Litigation Blog, December 2014.
SEC looks to tackle insider trading on its home field – defense bar claims unnecessary roughness, with Caroline Simons. Fish Litigation Blog, December 2014.
Reverse Payment Settlements in Jeopardy Following Supreme Court Ruling in FTC v. Actavis, Fish & Richardson Client Alert, June 19, 2013.
The Reinvigorated Confrontation Clause: A New Basis to Challenge the Admission of Evidence from Nontestifying Forensic Experts in WhiteCollar Prosecutions, with Caroline Simons, Matthew Knowles, and Jacklyn Essinger, The Champion, April 2013.
FCPA: Minefield for Drug and Device Industries, with Caroline Simons, New England In-House, September 2012.
Environmental Prosecutions: Criminal Liability without Mens Rea and Exposure Under the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine, with Douglas S. Brooks, 79 Def. Counsel J. No. 1, 12. January 2012.
The Shifting Sands of Government Regulation, IADC Corporate Counsel College Journal, Volume 2, October 2011.
Be Prepared When Government Agents Show Up With a Search Warrant: A Corporate Counsel’s Guide, with Graham O’Donoghue, IADC, July 2011.
Corporate Privilege Waivers in Federal Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions, IADC’s White Collar Defense & Investigation Committee Newsletter, September 2010.
It’sTime to Level the Playing Field – The Defense’s Use of Evidence From Social Networking Sites, The Champion, August 2010.
Recent Amendments to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for Effective Compliance and Ethics Programs, IADC’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Committee Newsletter, August 2010.
NewSentencing Guidelines for Corporate Defendants, The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, July 2010.
Client Alert: SEC Follows DOJ in Limiting the Use of Waiver of Attorney – Client and Work Product Privileges as a Requirement of Cooperation, November 2008.
DOJ’s Revision of its Charging Guidelines in Corporate Prosecutions – Major Changes in Tone, Minor Changes in Substance, Vol. 21 No. 5, Andrews White-Collar Crime Reporter.
Pitting Companies Against Their Employees: DOJ’s New Approach to Prosecuting White Collar Crime, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Representing Directors, Officers and Employee in Securities Cases, 2005.
Late Trading of Mutual Funds: Chinks in the Armor of the Regulators’ Claim That it Is Illegal Per Se, Vol. 18 No. 11, Andrews White-Collar Crime Reporter, 2004.
Sentence Reduction or Self-Destruction: Do the Benefits of the “Safety Valve” Outweigh its Burdens?, Boston Bar Association, Criminal Law Section Newsletter, 2001.
The Admission of Co-Conspirator Statements, Vo. 20, Massachusetts Practice, Evidence 2d Ed., §§ 801.24 – 801.29, 1998.
Is Your Client in Danger of Criminal Charges, presented at IADC Midyear Meeting, February 13, 2018.
Practical Advice for Responding to Employee Complaints and Government Investigations: Keeping the Mole Hill from Becoming a Mountain, co-moderator, IADC (April 2017).
Beyond the Basics: Understanding and Maximizing Enforcement of Your Trade Secrets in the Global Age, with Caroline Simons, a Fish INSIGHTS webinar (May 2016)
Cyberattack: Quarterbacking the Company’s Response to the Most Sophisticated Threats, a Fish INSIGHTS webinar (November 2015)
Criminal and Regulatory Issues and Trends Facing Drug and Medical Device Industries: From GMP Violations to Anti-Corruption Enforcement, Life Sciences IP Summit 2015 (Cambridge, MA, November 5, 2015)
The Investigation of GM’s Ignition Switch Recall: Impacts on In-House and Outside Counsel (Chicago, IL, April 17, 2015) IADC Corporate Counsel College Conference
Criminal and Regulatory Issues and Trends Facing Drug and Medical Device Industries from GMP Violations to Anti-Corruption Enforcement, Life Sciences Summit 2015 (Silicon Valley, CA, February 2015).
Protecting the Attorney-Client Privilege (and In-House Counsel) in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Corporate Investigations, (Fort Meyers, FL, February 16, 2015) IADC
Responding to (and Guarding Against) Trade Secret Theft: Perspectives of Former Federal Prosecutors, with Bill Mateja, a Fish INSIGHTS webinar (February 2014)
The Federal Criminalization of Trade Secret Theft (San Diego, CA, February 8, 2014) IADC Midyear Meeting
Trends from 2013 Anti-Corruption Enforcement: Right-Sizing Your Company’s Global Response (January 22, 2014) IADC
Around the World in 60 Minutes: A Global Update on Recent Anticorruption Enforcement Efforts, with Bill Mateja, a Fish INSIGHTS webinar (January 2014)
Boston IP American Inn of Court: Reenactment of Oral Argument in the Supreme Court case of Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis (Boston, MA, October 29, 2013)
White Collar Criminal Enforcement: Subject Matter Expansion, Trends and “New” Guidance (Chicago, IL, April 25-26, 2013) IADC Corporate Counsel College
Pharmaceutical Regulatory and Compliance Congress and Best Practice Forum (Washington, D.C., November 5, 2012), The Pharmaceutical Compliance Forum
The 2012 E-Discovery Briefing: How to Respond to Increasing Costs (Boston, MA, October 4, 2012) The Huron Legal Institute
Pigs Do Fly: Why the Government Dismissed the Charges in United States v. Stryker BioTech During Trial (Asheville, North Carolina, July 10, 2012) International Association of Defense Counsel’s 2012 Annual Meeting
Criminalization of Corporate Conduct and Congressional Investigations (Chicago, IL, April 26-27, 2012) IADC Corporate Counsel College Conference
Weil and Deloitte Life Sciences Roundtable Discussion: Risky Business – Life Sciences in an Ever-Changing Landscape (Waltham, MA, April 4, 2012)
Worldwide Enforcement of Anti-Corruption Laws — Navigating the International Business Minefield (Rancho Mirage, CA, February 11-16, 2012) IADC Midyear Meeting
Compliance Risk in an Era of Heightened FCPA Enforcement & SEC Whistleblower Bounties (New York, NY, November 8-9, 2011) NACD Directorship 100 Forum
Knock, Knock! Who’s There? Government Agents Looking For Answers! What’s Your Plan For This Unpleasant Scenario? (Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, July 9 – 14, 2011) IADC Annual Meeting
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, How To Avoid Trouble, And What To Do If Trouble Comes Looking For You (Wilmington, DE, June 8, 2011) National Association of Corporate Directors
Shifting Sands Of Government Regulation – That Was Then, This Is Now. What Can You Expect From The Regulators Next? Updates From Former Agency Officials And Experts (Chicago, IL, April 14-15, 2011) IADC Corporate Counsel College Conference
The Anatomy of High Stakes Litigation: The Criminal Environmental Trial of W.R. Grace and Its Executives (Worcester, MA, April 6, 2011) College of the Holy Cross
Big Cases: What To Do In The Beginning (San Diego, CA, March 3, 2011) ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime
Stress Test For The Corporate Counsel’s Attorney-Client Privilege (Pebble Beach, CA, February 20, 2011) IADC Midyear Meeting
To Cooperate or Not to Cooperate – Do’s and Don’ts in Regulatory Investigations (Paris, France, October 7-8, 2010) IADC International Corporate Counsel College Conference
Weil and Deloitte Life Sciences Seminar: Great Discoveries – Great Challenges (Boston, MA, May 20, 2010)
Brady and the Failure to Disclose Exculpatory Evidence (Miami Beach, FL, February 24-26, 2010) ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime
Jury Trials in the Age of Social Networking (Naples, FL, February 15, 2010) IADC Midyear Meeting
UnitedStatesv.W.R.Grace: Lessons Learned from the Largest Environmental Prosecution in U.S. History (Boston, MA, October 15, 2009) Boston Bar Association
Business Crime Prosecutions Under the Obama Administration (Boston, MA, October 5, 2009) Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
Representing Directors, Officers and Employees in Securities Case, Legal Trends and Cutting Edge Issues Impacting Public Companies (Boston, MA, 2005) Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
Internal Investigations and Mutual Funds(Boston, MA, May 12, 2004) Boston Bar Association
Federal Court Criminal Practice: A Primer (Boston, MA, October 23, 1996) Massachusetts Bar Association