Clay Wheeler is an experienced trial lawyer who handles complex criminal and civil litigation matters. As a member of the firm’s Government Enforcement & Investigations team, Mr. Wheeler helps clients respond to government enforcement actions that carry potential criminal consequences. He also counsels organizational clients on compliance issues and conducts necessary internal investigations.

Mr. Wheeler’s experience includes representing clients in connection with enforcement actions by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the North Carolina Department of Justice. Mr. Wheeler has worked with clients in the banking, retail, hotel, construction, food processing, telecommunications, and health care sectors.

Prior to joining Kilpatrick Townsend, Mr. Wheeler served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina (2002-2011), and Chief of its Economic Crimes Section (2009-2011). As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Wheeler led teams consisting of AUSAs and federal agents in the investigation, prosecution, and, when necessary, trial of complex financial crimes. He worked extensively on securities and investment crimes, computer data theft, tax fraud (including cross-border offenses), money laundering, and health care fraud.

As Chief of the Economic Crimes Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Wheeler was responsible for the work of eight economic crimes prosecutors, covering a broad range of matters, from environmental crimes to mortgage fraud to government contracting fraud. He also served as the office’s Financial Fraud Coordinator, Bankruptcy Fraud Coordinator, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, and Health Care Fraud Coordinator.

Mr. Wheeler clerked for United States District Judge Susan Y. Illston in San Francisco, and practiced with a national law firm in Palo Alto, California, before joining the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mr. Wheeler is a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke Law School where he co-teaches a course on the role of the federal prosecutor.

Mr. Wheeler was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® in 2016 and 2017 for Securities Litigation. He was voted a Business North Carolina magazine “Legal Elite” in 2013 for Criminal Law and was named a “Future Litigation Star” among North Carolina attorneys in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the Benchmark Litigation guide.

Professional & Community Activities

Duke University School of Law, Senior Lecturing Fellow

Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, Board of Directors, Member (2013-2015)

Education

  • Duke University School of Law, J.D. (1997)
    Duke Law Journal, Editor-in-Chief
  • Williams College, B.A. (1992)

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina (2008)
  • California (1997)

Who We Are

What fully engaged means to me:

Using my experience as a federal prosecutor to help clients with their most intractable matters.

Suite 1400, 4208 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC, 27609
USA
t +1 919.420.1717
f +1 919.420.1800
1001 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, NC, 27101-2400
USA
t +1 336.607.7333

Clay C. Wheeler

Experience Highlights

Represented medical practice in False Claims Act litigation
Reached a favorable settlement with a relator, the federal government and State of Georgia for a medical practice in a Federal False Claims Act more
Internal investigation for Audit Committee
Performed an internal investigation with regard to alleged FCPA, fraud and export issues for a company's Audit Committee with regard to conduct more
Internal investigation for medical diagnostic company
Represented an Audit Committee of a medical diagnostic company in conducting an internal investigation involving compliance and assisting with more
Fraud investigation and compliance review
Conducted an internal investigation for a company concerning alleged fraudulent conduct in the Philippines by company employees and third-party more