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A. John Pappalardo focuses his international practice on federal white collar criminal defense, representing corporations and individuals in federal and international investigations. With 45 years of litigation experience, he represents clients in matters relating to FCPA issues, SEC investigations, fraud, banking investigations including money laundering, insider trading, RICO, global anticorruption, and other white collar crimes. John’s clients include numerous corporations and businesses, attorneys, U.S. Congressmen, medical doctors, members of the federal judiciary, and three former or current foreign heads of state. John has conducted many significant representations, including the landmark case in which he represented former YUKOS Oil Company CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was on trial for fraud and tax evasion. He currently represents and has represented Fortune 500 companies in connection with their business dealings on five continents. Additionally, John represents companies and their boards of directors, including structuring and conducting internal investigations, developing compliance guidelines, and implementing compliance programs.

Prior to joining the firm, John was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and a Commissioner of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.


  • White collar criminal defense
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Anti-money laundering
  • Internal investigations
  • Securities fraud
  • Health care fraud and abuse
  • Public corruption
  • Campaign finance
  • Financial institution fraud
  • Medical ethics
  • Commercial bribery
  • Defense procurement fraud
  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Computer fraud
  • Criminal tax
  • Regulatory matters



  • Represented Rafael Márquez, the most successful soccer player in Mexico’s history, in his successful delisting from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN), which spanned 5-years and included negotiations with various U.S. agencies, the Mexican government, and the U.S. consulate in Mexico.
  • Representation of the leading daily fantasy sports company in the US by conducting internal investigations and structuring compliance programs.
  • Representation of a former federation president and executive committee member of FIFA relating to RICO charges brought by the DOJ.
  • Representation of a high level official of a Japanese company in connection with a large scale criminal antitrust investigation being conducted by the US DOJ and several other countries.
  • Representation of a sovereign country relating to its status in the world community concerning its removal from a “grey list” due to anti money laundering laws.
  • Representation of a multinational financial institution by structuring its anti-corruption compliance programs on four continents.
  • Represented large international pharmaceutical company relating to FCPA matters arising out of South American and Eastern European sales. No charges were brought by either the DOJ or the SEC.
  • Represented a multinational medical device company in connection with corruption allegations in China which resulted in an internal investigation, revision of the anti-corruption compliance program and training involving Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
  • Represented the CEO and part owner of an energy company under investigation by the US DOJ for corruption relating to the construction of an energy facility in Kazakhstan. No action was taken by the DOJ.
  • Represented large retail company with operations in over twenty countries conducting internal investigations, designing and implementing anti-corruption compliance programs and interacting with outside legal and accounting professionals.
  • Represented former head of state in connection with a multi-country fraud investigation focused on treaty violations, money laundering and the FCPA. No charges were brought by the DOJ and charges made by other countries were dismissed.
  • Represented prominent international company in the arms industry relating to a highly publicized FCPA undercover "sting" conducted by the DOJ and the SEC collateral investigation. After a four year investigation, DOJ declined to bring charges and the company settled with the SEC on a books and records administrative action for a minimal amount.
  • Represented multinational medical device company in connection with a federal fraud investigation resulting in no charges against the company and its employees (charges were brought against all others investigated).
  • Represented major investment company relating to a high profile "pay-to-play" fraud investigation resulting in no action taken against the company or its employees.
  • Represented CEO and president of a company with international scope relating to a comprehensive three year DOJ and SEC investigation, including insider trading. No charges were brought by either agency.
  • Represented president of a defense contractor who was under investigation for kickbacks to subcontractors resulting in no charges being brought.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of an action brought by the SEC against the president of a major fund relating to market timing and fraud.
  • Defended businessman charged in a multi-defendant federal corruption case resulting in a one-month jury trial. The businessman was the only defendant found not guilty on all counts.
  • Represented Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his associated companies over a ten year period in case involving the Russian government's takeover of YUKOS Oil Company and prosecution of its former CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev on charges of fraud and tax evasion.
  • Defended four year criminal investigation by the Department of Justice against a large energy company and pipeline operator which experienced a rupture in a natural gas pipeline causing multiple deaths.  Criminal prosecution was declined.
  • Represented private company that was the object of a freezing order by Switzerland pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The order was ruled improper by the Swiss court and in addition to releasing several billion dollars, the prosecutor was fined.
  • Acted as lead counsel on an internal investigation for an international privately held company resulting in the filing of a civil RICO action in federal court which recovered more than six-million dollars, including that from a former high level employee who was also criminally prosecuted and served significant prison time.
  • Represented high level executive targeted in a fraud scheme which resulted in several indictments and convictions after a three-year federal investigation. No action was taken, civil or criminal, against this Fortune 500 executive and member of its board of directors.
  • Represented sitting congressman who was targeted in a long term federal investigation resulting in the indictments of his former chief of staff and a Washington lobbyist. No civil or criminal action was taken.
  • Represented medical doctor targeted for fraud relating to a federal grant. No action taken by the government or the institution.
  • Represented optometrist charged with fraud and larceny relating to the operation of several offices. His and his wife’s case dismissed.
  • Represented businessman and his company charged with violations of the Fraud and Kickback Statutes after a two-year criminal investigation. His case was never prosecuted.
  • Represented public agency, which was the subject of a two-year federal criminal investigation concerning its practices, which resulted in indictments of two past board members for kickbacks and extortion. No action was taken against the agency in any forum.
  • U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts, 1981-1987, 1989-1993
    • U.S. Attorney, 1992-1993
    • Chief, Criminal Division; First Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1989-1992
    • Chief, Public Corruption Unit, 1986-1987
    • Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1981-1986
  • Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1978-1981, 1987-1989
    • Deputy Attorney General; Chief of the Criminal Bureau, 1987-1989
    • Chief, Public Integrity Unit, 1981
    • Special Commission Concerning State and County Buildings, 1978-1981
  • Assistant District Attorney, Office of the District Attorney, Norfolk County, 1975-1978
  • Lecturer, Introduction to Advocacy, Harvard Law School, 1993-1997
  • Lecturer, Government Lawyer Course, Harvard Law School, 1989

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White-Collar; Litigation - Securities, 2006-2024
  • Team Member, a Law360 “Environmental Practice Group of the Year, 2022
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Massachusetts Super Lawyers, 2004-2023
    • "Top 100 Lawyers in Massachusetts," 2004-2005
  • Listed, Boston magazine, "Top Lawyers - Criminal Defense White Collar," 2022-2023
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2016-2019
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Environmental Law, 2016
  • Awarded, "Best of Class," The Best of the U.S. LLC, 2007
  • Listed, Who's Who in America
  • Received, "Law & Justice" Award, Massachusetts Sons of Italy
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Member, Boston Bar Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Past Director, Bowdoin Club of Boston
  • Adjunct Professor, Harvard University Law School, Advanced Topics in Criminal Law, 1990-2002


  • J.D., Suffolk University Law School, 1974
  • B.A., Government, Bowdoin College, 1971
    • Lancaster Scholarship
  • Massachusetts
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts