Pravin Rao

Partner, Perkins Coie

Pravin Rao is well-positioned to defend clients in criminal, regulatory, and civil litigation matters. He has previously served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and as an enforcement branch chief with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Pravin has experience representing companies, boards, and senior executives in high-stakes criminal and regulatory investigations and proceedings, cross-border internal investigations, cybersecurity matters, and securities and other litigation. These matters include inquiries by the DOJ, SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state attorney generals, and other governmental and self-regulatory agencies. Pravin has served on the firmwide executive committee and audit committee, and was formerly the chair of the firm’s White Collar & Investigations practice.

Pravin has assisted clients in dealing with issues related to accounting and financial fraud, foreign/domestic bribery and corruption, OFAC/sanctions, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, insider trading and other securities fraud, cyber breaches, ransomware attacks, data privacy, tax fraud, the False Claims Act, and related civil litigation. Pravin has handled investigations related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Pravin was chosen by the DOJ and SEC in a multiyear appointment to be the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) monitor of a large multinational corporation to oversee, evaluate, and test its anti-corruption compliance program (one of only 36 such appointments in the last decade). He has also served as a court-appointed examiner in a federal bankruptcy proceeding where he was tasked with investigating a company’s pension program. Pravin was recently appointed a Cook County special state’s attorney to represent the Cook County Board of Ethics to investigate and litigate ethical conduct violations by a Cook County elected official. The matter was successfully concluded with the Cook County Board of Ethics achieving all requested relief.
Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Pravin served as an assistant U.S. attorney where he supervised and developed strategies in investigations that targeted violations of federal criminal law, including commodity and securities fraud, bank fraud, mail/wire fraud, mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, cyber fraud, copyright infringement, public corruption, tax offenses, health care fraud, money laundering, arson, narcotics, firearms, civil rights violations, child pornography, perjury, and obstruction. Pravin was a member of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit. Pravin has developed a unique perspective from conducting parallel investigations with the SEC, CFTC, and other regulators in complex cases involving large publicly traded companies, officers and directors, broker-dealers, and hedge funds. Pravin has tried a number of jury trials as a "first chair" and argued numerous appeals in both federal and state courts.

Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Pravin served as an enforcement branch chief with the SEC, where he directed numerous high profile investigations and litigation involving revenue recognition, financial statement and disclosure fraud, insider trading, investment advisory fraud, prime bank and Ponzi schemes, market manipulation, failure to supervise, broker-dealer misconduct, and record-keeping, reporting and registration violations. He has maintained his ties to the SEC, having served as regional chair of the Association of SEC Alumni while at Perkins Coie.

Pravin is a frequent commentator in the press on the government's fraud enforcement efforts and the SEC, especially where these topics intersect the criminal arena, and has been quoted in BusinessWeek, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and other TV and print media. He writes regularly on these same topics and is often invited to speak to in-house counsel and industry groups. Finally, Pravin has also been retained as an expert witness in court and FINRA arbitration settings where securities laws were at issue.