Steven Shaw is active in investigations and litigation matters, specializing in civil fraud and white collar criminal litigation. Prior to joining Nichols Liu, Steve was Senior of Counsel, Covington & Burling; and a partner in Weil Gotshal & Manges, and in Howrey & Simon. He also served as Deputy General Counsel (Contractor Responsibility), Department of the Air Force, where he was the Air Force Debarring and Suspending Official, and managed the Air Force’s Coordination of Fraud Remedies Program.
In his 16 years as an Air Force debarring official, he managed the debarment and fraud remedies program which was recognized by two US Senators and the President’s OMB Procurement Chief as being the country’s “Gold Standard.” Steve has also served as Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas, Trial Attorney with the DOJ Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Chief of the Enforcement Division of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Steve has been a lead trial attorney in over 200 jury trials, and was a lead appellate attorney before the Fifth and Ninth Circuits. He is also recognized internationally as an expert on ethics and compliance for government contractors.
- American University, Washington College of Law, J.D., 1973
- Franklin and Marshall College, B.A., 1969
Bar and Court Admissions
- District of Columbia Bar
- Maryland State Bar
- Ethics Resource Center, Fellow
- Member of the Senior Executive Service
- American Bar Association, Public Contract Law Section, Committee on Suspension & Debarment
- Ethisphere, Attorneys Who Matter, Government Contracting (2013)
- Legal 500 US, Litigation – International Trade (2013)
- Outstanding Civilian Service Medal – awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force (July 2012)
- President’s Council on Integrity & Efficiency, Awards of Excellence (2006 and 2007)
- Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Achievement Award (2005)
- Air Force General Counsel’s Award (2003)
- Exemplary Civilian Service Medal (2002)
- Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, Secretary of the Air Force (2000)
- Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation Commendation (1984)
- Attorney General’s Special Commendation (1984)
- U.S. Department of Justice Special Achievement Award (1982 and 1983)
Practice & Expertise
- Internal and Government Investigations
- False Claims
- Crisis Management
- Suspension and Debarment
- Led a USAID – Development Industry task force in 2013 establishing best compliance practices.
- Successfully represented a $110 million international health care NGO in connection with USAID allegations of mischarging and FCPA violations in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014.
- Managed an internal investigation into allegations of accounting fraud by a $70 million NGO, and successful disclosure to and resolution with USAID.
- Successfully represented a $50 million USAID funded NGO in a government investigation focused on alleged fraud on an Afghanistan program.
- Successfully persuaded USAID-IG to revise a negative report alleging fraud in a Pakistan program, on behalf of a $60 million international NGO.
- Represented a Fortune 100 electrical components manufacturer in its defense of a federal criminal grand jury investigation into allegations of mislabeling of heat shrinkable electrical tubing that had been sold to the military. He persuaded the government to conclude its investigation without seeking an indictment.
- Represented Alamo Aircraft Supply Company, a large San Antonio, Texas, supplier of aircraft parts to the Department of the Air Force, against a federal Mail Fraud indictment. Alamo was charged with having defrauded the government with regard to the sale of millions of dollars of parts. After two weeks of testimony, our motion to suppress evidence obtained by a federal wiretap was granted, based upon our claim that the warrant had been obtained unlawfully. Following the suppression of the evidence, the indictment was dismissed. The Department of Justice was then persuaded to decline the trial attorney’s recommendation that Alamo be indicted for antitrust violations for the same conduct.
- Represented the President of a Fortune 300 NASA contractor in a federal grand jury investigation in Houston, Texas. It was alleged that the client and his company defrauded NASA in the manner in which it submitted invoices on a cost-plus contract. Upon completion of the one-year investigation, he persuaded the U.S. Attorney to decline prosecution.
- Represented a high level NASA official against allegations of criminal conflict of interest arising out of his award of contracts to an affiliated company. He persuaded the government to decline prosecution, and to dismiss an adverse personnel action that had been initiated.
- Represented a manufacturer against allegations that it had defrauded the military in the manner in which it submitted invoices. The client was also alleged to have obstructed the investigation by concealing subpoenaed documents.
- Represented a contractor against government allegations that the client’s employees had solicited and accepted gratuities from an electrical subcontractor, in order to obtain a contract for the construction of an Army facility in South Carolina. Following execution of a search warrant, and completion of an internal investigation, the government was persuaded to decline prosecution.
- Represented a large defense contractor with regard to a DoD Inspector General’s document subpoena, a work suspension order and the related criminal investigation. The government alleged that the client had submitted false invoices for work that had not been performed on a $10 million contract for the design and construction of a computerized security system. Following review and production of several thousand documents, and the completion of our internal investigation, the government declined criminal prosecution.
- Managed an internal investigation into allegations that a subsidiary had acquired assets of a competitor without having made the requisite Hart-Scott-Rodino filings with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Represented a large mining company with regard to a criminal investigation conducted by DoJ’s Antitrust Division. It was alleged that the client had conspired with its largest competitor to limit production, and, therefore, the U.S. market, for certain of its mineral products. The government was persuaded to conclude its investigation without initiating criminal charges.
- Represented the president of a publicly traded high technology company in the defense of a class action securities fraud action in the Northern District of Ohio. It was alleged that the client defrauded investors by conspiring with others to issue false and misleading public statements in violation of federal securities laws, so as to artificially inflate the price of the company’s securities to enable his client to benefit from insider trades. Following certification of the class, the completion of discovery, which he conducted over a two-year period, and the preparation of experts, his motion for summary judgment was granted.
- Defended a large medical clinic and its doctors against a federal RICO action brought by an insurance carrier in federal court in Los Angeles. The carrier alleged that the defendants had engaged in a pattern of racketeering by which they submitted fraudulent statements to the plaintiff for medical services that were not necessary and/or which had not been provided. The litigation settled following 18 months of discovery and the resolution of numerous procedural and dispositive motions.
- Represented a Los Angeles medical clinic in a federal antitrust action against several insurance companies in which we alleged that the carriers had conspired in the manner in which they paid my client’s statements. The litigation settled following 12 months of discovery and motions practice.
- Represented a former officer of a savings and loan association in a qui tam action brought in the name of the United States, under the False Claims Act. He alleged that the defendant had made false claims and statements to the FDIC and to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Managed an internal investigation and led the defense of a grand jury investigation into horizontal price fixing allegations involving the sale of drilling fluids to major oil companies. He coordinated the production of hundreds of thousands of documents and interviewed and prepared several former and then current employees for their grand jury appearances. Although the investigation related to a subsidiary, the government attempted to reach high level officials in the parent, whom he also represented. He ultimately dissuaded the Department of Justice from initiating any criminal actions.
- Represented this company in an internal investigation and defense of a grand jury investigation into horizontal price fixing in the sale of oil field drill bits.
- Led an internal investigation into allegations that the client had been engaged in horizontal price fixing with regard to the establishment of air cargo tariffs. Although there was some threat of criminal prosecution, none is known to have been initiated.
CLIENT ALERT: DOJ Issues New Guidance on Monitors, Nichols Liu LLP (October 30, 2018). Co-Authors: Steven Shaw, Jason Lynch.
CLIENT ALERT: Government’s Annual Suspensions & Debarment Report,”Nichols Liu LLP (September 6, 2018). Co-Authors: Steven Shaw, Jason C. Lynch.
“The Practitioner’s Guide to Suspension and Debarment,” American Bar Association (2002),
“Debarment From Government Contracts,” Today’s General Counsel (June/July 2013), Author
“Contracting In A Perfect Storm Of Enforcement Risk: Part 2,” Law360 (6/13/2013), Co-Author
“Contracting In A Perfect Storm Of Enforcement Risk: Part 1,” Law360 (5/22/2013), Co-Author
“Lance Armstrong’s FCA Woes: 3 Lessons For Contractors,” Law360 (3/22/2013), Co-Author
“Contractor Responsibility: Toward An Integrated Approach to Legal Risk Management,” Thomson Reuters(March 2013), Co-Author
“Don’t Go Overboard Banning Military Contractors,” Reuters (8/8/2012), Author
“Path of an Investigation: How a Major Contractor’s Ethics Office and Air Force Procurement Fraud and Suspension/Debarment Apparatus Deal With Allegations of Potential Fraud and Unethical Conduct,” Public Contract Law Journal, ABA (Spring 2011), Co-Author
“Suspension & Debarment: Emerging Issues in Law and Policy,” George Washington University Law School, Public Procurement Law Review (2004), Author