C. Shawn Cleveland

Partner

Houston
T +1.713.646.1315
F +1.713.751.1717

Overview

For over two decades, Shawn Cleveland has represented clients in high-stakes government and internal investigations, white collar criminal litigation, SEC enforcement actions, and complex litigation. He has established a national reputation for conducting and defending investigations regarding alleged securities fraud, particularly accounting and disclosure fraud, government program fraud, the False Claims Act (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and immigration laws.

Shawn has led numerous teams in state and federal courts and in arbitration, including civil and criminal fraud cases, securities and derivatives lawsuits, and a variety of cases involving fiduciary duties, contracts, lending, mergers and acquisitions, insurance, trade secrets, qui tam claims, and whistleblower retaliation claims.

A trusted advisor, corporate boards and management frequently turn to Shawn for counsel on governance and compliance issues in connection with investigations and litigation. He brings a valuable business-oriented approach to problems based on his long experience advising companies as a lawyer and as a CPA in his prior career.

Select Experience

White Collar Criminal Cases, SEC Enforcement, and Investigations
  • Conducted an audit committee investigation regarding accounting issues for a publicly traded financial services company.
  • Represented a major data company in connection with an internal investigation and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation.
Litigation
  • Represented meat processing company in a defamation case that delivered a historic victory for the client in its lawsuit against major broadcast television network.
  • Represented a national consulting firm in a dispute with a customer over the performance of a consulting contract and professional fees.
More »

Experience

White Collar Criminal Cases, SEC Enforcement, and Investigations
  • Conducted an audit committee investigation regarding accounting issues for a publicly traded financial services company.
  • Represented a major data company in connection with an internal investigation and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation.
  • Conducted an audit committee investigation regarding disclosure issues for a publicly traded energy company.
  • Represented a global retailer in DOJ and SEC investigations into alleged FCPA violations.
  • Represented a publicly traded financial services company in an SEC inquiry into certain transactions and disclosures regarding loss reserves.
  • Conducted an internal investigation and defended a government investigation into alleged violations of immigration law and the FCA at a multinational corporation.
  • Represented the former chief financial officer (CFO) of a publicly traded company in an SEC investigation involving accounting and disclosure issues related to impairments.
  • Represented a medical device company in connection with a DOJ investigation into potential violations of the AKS and the FCA.
  • Conducted an internal investigation into alleged accounting fraud and commercial corruption in the international operations of a major publicly traded multinational corporation.
  • Represented the CFO of a publicly traded company in an SEC investigation involving accounting and disclosure issues related to revenue recognition.
  • Defended a high-ranking state official in an SEC investigation into alleged promotion of investments.
  • Conducted an internal investigation into alleged employment discrimination, retaliation, and code of conduct issues at a global technology and outsourcing company.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a Fortune 500 company into a foreign subsidiary involving allegations of employee misconduct and potential FCA violations.
  • Conducted an internal investigation into allegations regarding a Fortune 500 company’s site security and security workforce.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a Fortune 500 telecommunications company involving allegations of conflicts of interest and other misconduct by employees.
  • Defended officers and employees of a major U.S. financial institution in government investigations and DOJ civil investigative demand (CID) testimony regarding alleged “robo-signing” in connection with foreclosures.
  • Defended chairman of energy commodities and services company in the DOJ investigation and criminal trial following the company's collapse.
  • Represented an officer of a pharmaceutical company in connection with a DOJ investigation into marketing practices and potential violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the FCA.
  • Defended a former president of a publicly traded information technology company in a DOJ investigation into alleged accounting fraud and a “pump and dump” scheme, resolving the case with a favorable plea agreement and sentencing.
  • Defended a former officer of a publicly traded construction company in connection with SEC and DOJ investigations into alleged accounting fraud and insider trading, obtaining a settlement with the SEC and no action by the DOJ.
  • Represented a former chief executive officer of a manufacturing company in connection with an internal investigation into alleged accounting fraud.
Litigation
  • Represented meat processing company in a defamation case that delivered a historic victory for the client in its lawsuit against major broadcast television network.
  • Represented a national consulting firm in a dispute with a customer over the performance of a consulting contract and professional fees.
  • Represented a health care services company in a suit brought by a former employee asserting claims of retaliation for allegedly investigating and reporting violations of the FCA by the company.
  • Represented the former CFO of a publicly traded company in a Texas state court case alleging breach of fiduciary duty and negligence in connection with the company’s accounting and disclosures.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 defense contractor in connection with the evaluation of potential bid protest theories arising from a competitor’s access to proprietary and confidential information.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 defense contractor in a suit against another defense contractor over breach of a subcontract and misappropriation of trade secrets involving complex technology and issues of compliance with contract specifications and test procedures.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 health insurer in litigation over the alleged submission of fraudulent claims and violation of anti-kickback-related exclusions in health plans.
  • Represented a university system in litigation filed by former students claiming that the system had misrepresented its status and plans for obtaining certain types of accreditation and future employment prospects for students.
  • Defended the outside directors of a technology services company in high-profile stock option backdating derivative cases, including securities and breach of fiduciary duty claims, in state and federal courts in Texas and Delaware.
  • Defended chairman of energy commodities and services company in the securities class action litigation that followed the company's collapse.
  • Defeated a merger challenge on behalf of a publicly traded energy company and its officers and directors, overcoming the plaintiff’s request to enjoin the merger and obtaining dismissal of the suit prior to discovery.
  • Defended the chief financial officer of a publicly traded technology company in regulatory, securities class action, and derivative proceedings arising out of earnings manipulation claims against the company; obtained dismissal of the class action, and settled the remaining proceedings.
  • Defended brokerage firms and brokers in National Association of Securities Dealers/Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration proceedings brought by customers.
  • Represented the purchaser of distressed commercial real estate loans in suits over alleged breaches of the loans and loan commitments in state court in Dallas County, Texas.
  • Represented a leading manufacturer of energy drinks in multiple disputes with former distributors in Texas state courts and in arbitration.
  • Represented a major investment bank in litigation over funding transactions and ultimate foreclosure on real estate investments in state court in Gillespie County, Texas.
  • Represented major health insurers and property and casualty insurers in various civil cases involving submission of false claims and fraudulent insurance applications in state and federal courts.
  • Represented a hedge fund in injunctive proceedings in state court in Travis County, Texas, to protect assets sought to be seized by a receiver in litigation against one of the hedge fund’s portfolio companies.
  • Represented an oil and gas exploration and production firm in litigation over alleged breaches of operating agreements in state court in Bexar County, Texas.
  • Represented members of a limited liability company in a suit over merchant power plant development involving allegations of de facto partnership and breach of the duty of loyalty in state court in Dallas County, Texas.
  • Represented a major publicly traded reinsurance brokerage company in a state court suit in Dallas County, Texas, against former company officers involving breach of non-compete agreements, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of confidential information.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Texas "Super Lawyer" (2014 to 2019)
  • D Magazine, "Best Lawyers in Dallas"

Prior Positions

  • The Honorable Richard A. Schell, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas: Judicial Clerkship

Admissions

  • Texas

Education

  • J.D., Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, 1999
  • B.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1993

Blog

In The Blogs

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Antitrust Advocate
CLE Webinar Series: Antitrust and White-Collar Investigations – What You Should Know
By C. Shawn Cleveland, Steven M. Dettelbach, Danyll W. Foix, John R. Fornaciari, Carl W. Hittinger, Jeffrey D. Martino, Carole S. Rendon, Marc G. Schildkraut, George A. Stamboulidis
September 18, 2019
We invite you to join us for one, two or all three of our upcoming high-level webinars offering vital insights into antitrust issues and white-collar investigations. These CLE webinars will be led by our knowledgeable and experienced...
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