Boyd M. Johnson III


Co-Chair, Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice Group


Boyd M. Johnson III is the Co-Chair of WilmerHale’s Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice Group. He has 20 years of experience as a skilled litigator and trial attorney. Mr. Johnson joined the firm in 2011, following a 13-year career with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he served as the Deputy US Attorney and supervised more than 200 Assistant US Attorneys. Chambers USA recognizes him as a leading attorney in New York in White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations in its 2013-2015 editions.

Mr. Johnson represents corporations and their executives in criminal and civil investigations conducted by the US Department of Justice, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Attorney General’s Office, the New York County District Attorney's Office and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. He conducts internal investigations for companies, and advises business organizations on crisis response and media relations. Mr. Johnson's experience includes insider trading and financial fraud investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and public corruption probes, antitrust inquiries, anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act issues, False Claims Act and FIRREA actions, and cybersecurity and data breach matters.

As Deputy US Attorney for the SDNY, Mr. Johnson managed the largest crackdown on Wall Street insider trading in history; the criminal prosecutions and civil forfeiture proceedings related to the Bernard Madoff fraud; the investigation and prosecution of individuals and entities responsible for structuring and promoting international tax shelters; and numerous FCPA, money laundering and cybersecurity matters. Mr. Johnson also participated in the creation of the SDNY’s Civil Frauds Unit in March 2010, and oversaw that Unit’s civil fraud actions in the financial services and healthcare sectors.

Before becoming Deputy US Attorney, Mr. Johnson served as Chief of the SDNY’s Public Corruption Unit. In that capacity, he supervised bribery and embezzlement prosecutions of members of the US Congress, New York State legislators and New York City council members, as well as corruption investigations at the United Nations. While at the SDNY, Mr. Johnson also served as the Chief of the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit, focusing on the extradition of drug kingpins and the identification of global money laundering networks. In that role, he worked with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to build prosecutions against the leaders of the Cali Cartel and the Taliban based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Mr. Johnson was a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award, the US Department of Justice’s highest honor. Mr. Johnson is frequently invited to speak on issues related to corporate criminal liability, financial fraud and insider trading, the FCPA, anti-bribery and corruption, money laundering and cybersecurity.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected as a leading attorney in New York in the White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations category in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Recommended in the white-collar criminal defense litigation category in the 2013 and 2014 editions of The Legal 500, where he was praised for his ‘excellent strategic advice’ and ‘familiarity with government and internal investigations.’
  • Recipient of US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Administrator’s Award, the DEA's highest honor
  • Recipient of Attorney General’s Award, the US Department of Justice’s highest honor
  • Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from Federal Drug Agents Foundation for his dedication to supporting federal, state and local law enforcement  

Publications & News


January 28, 2016

Art World on Display to Law Enforcement

Art has become more than a reflection of its creator's vision and owner's style; it has emerged as an investment and important asset class. Billions of dollars exchange hands in art transactions every year. Unlike other markets, however, there is little government regulation or oversight. 

January 12, 2016

False Claims Act: 2015 Year-in-Review

In 2015, the Justice Department continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations, bringing in nearly $3.6 billion in settlements and judgments. 

December 7, 2015

Supreme Court To Address Permissibility and Scope of Implied Certification Liability Under the False Claims Act

On Friday, December 4, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case raising the questions of whether implied certification liability is permissible under the False Claims Act and, if so, under what circumstances.

September 25, 2015

WilmerHale's Investigations Practice Ranks Second in GIR's "Top 30" Inaugural Listing

WilmerHale's investigations practice is named at the top of Global Investigations Review's inaugural listing of the 30 leading global investigations and compliance practices.

September 10, 2015

DOJ Outlines New Policy Regarding White Collar Cases Against Individuals

The Department of Justice has released a new policy intended to further the Department’s effort to hold individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing. 

May 19, 2015

WilmerHale Practices, Lawyers Ranked Among Nation’s Best by Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2015 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 46 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale attorneys as leaders in their respective fields.

January 29, 2015

False Claims Act: 2014 Year-in-Review

The federal government collected a record-breaking $5.7 billion in False Claims Act (FCA) recoveries in fiscal year (FY) 2014, up from $3.8 billion in FY 2013.

January 5, 2015

FinCEN Assesses $1 Million Civil Penalty Against Former Chief Compliance Officer and Partners with SDNY to Initiate Injunctive Action

Last month, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York combined to take action in United States Department of the Treasury v. Thomas E. Haider against a former Chief Compliance Officer for MoneyGram International Inc. for his alleged failure to implement and maintain a compliance program designed to protect against money laundering and to report suspicious activity.

December 15, 2014

Partner Boyd Johnson Discusses Anti-Insider Trading Tactics

An article by Compliance Intelligence, “CCOs Advised on Anti-Insider Trading Tactics,” published on December 15, 2014, featuring Boyd Johnson.

July 31, 2014

FinCEN Releases Long-Awaited Proposal on Customer Due Diligence (CCD) and Beneficial Ownership

On July 30, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued proposed regulations that would formalize certain financial institutions’ Customer Due Diligence (CDD) requirements and expand the degree to which those institutions must look beyond the nominal account holder to identify the natural persons who own or control certain legal entity customers.

Recent Highlights

Financial Fraud and Insider Trading  

  • Represented US financial services firms in parallel investigations by the DOJ and the SEC regarding derivatives and mortgage-backed securities trading activity
  • Represented Audit and Risk Committee of securities broker dealer in DOJ and SEC investigations concerning offshore trading operations
  • Represented multiple US financial services companies in various DOJ and SEC investigations of alleged insider trading activity
  • Represented international construction management firm in DOJ investigation of historical union billing practices
  • Represented US financial services companies in False Claims Act litigation concerning mortgage backed securities
  • Represented head of global money markets for financial services firm in LIBOR-related investigations by the DOJ, the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission and the UK Financial Conduct Authority
  • Represented senior executives at global financial services firms in DOJ, SEC, and UK FCA investigations of FX trading  

FCPA Matters

  • Represented public company in oil services industry in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Represented General Manager of Ukrainian pharmaceutical company in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Represented Chief Financial Officer of Argentinian pharmaceutical company in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Represented General Manager of Brazilian aeronautical services company in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Advised global financial services firm regarding FCPA issues relating to multi-billion dollar loan syndicate restructuring

Money Laundering Matters

  • Advised US financial services companies in DOJ and SEC investigations of alleged money laundering by financial advisers and their clients
  • Advised US financial services firm in DOJ investigation relating to alleged OFAC violations
  • Conducted internal investigation for global financial services firm relating to anti-money laundering systems

Cybersecurity and Data Breach Matters

  • Represented US financial securities firm in data beach investigations by DOJ, SEC, numerous state attorneys general and various financial regulators
  • Advised US financial securities firm on cybersecurity infrastructure and data privacy issues

Pro Bono Matters

  • Provided pro bono representation to indigent criminal defendants in US Courts of Appeal
  • Represented injured US war veterans in appeals for benefits

Professional Activities

Mr. Johnson is an active member of the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the Federal Bar Council. He has served on the New York City Bar’s White Collar Crime Committee.


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JD, cum laude, Cornell University Law School, 1992, Editor, Cornell International Law Journal

BA, English and Government, magna cum laude, Hamilton College, 1989

Bar Admissions

New York



The Hon. Laughlin Waters, US District Court for the Central District of California, 1992 - 1993