Byron McLain gets answers to clients’ questions quickly and efficiently. He prides himself on responding immediately to client inquiries, with concrete solutions that address not only the legal issues but also the potential impact on a client’s business. His primary objective as an attorney is to help his clients avoid investigations or prosecutions, or to discretely minimize the negative impact if an investigation or prosecution cannot be avoided.
Byron is a Los Angeles-based litigator and white-collar criminal defense lawyer at Foley & Lardner LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations, Securities Enforcement & Litigation, and Distribution & Franchise Practice Areas. He also is a member of the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) Team. Byron also works closely with the Health Care, Cannabis, and Sports & Entertainment Industry Teams. Byron also is the chair of Foley & Lardner’s Racial Justice and Equity Practice Group.
Byron investigates, litigates, and tries complex criminal and civil cases, including those involving government investigations. He also conducts corporate internal investigations and often successfully persuades the government not to pursue investigations of his clients. As a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, Byron has leveraged his extensive knowledge and broad network of relationships to achieve the best results for his clients in a very discrete manner. He is strongly adept at articulating complex issues in layman’s terms across industries and at humanizing corporate clients so they are relatable as witnesses during interviews and at trial. Byron also advises clients concerning the distribution and marketing of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies, in order to best avoid these assets from being construed as securities by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Byron previously served as deputy chief of the General Crimes Section in the U.S. Attorney’s office (USAO) for the Central District of California, where he co-supervised a training section of more than 50 assistant U.S. attorneys. He also served as a prosecutor in the Major Frauds Section of the Criminal Division, where he investigated and prosecuted white collar crime. As a fraud lawyer at the USAO Los Angeles location, he has tried many criminal cases to jury verdict and argued cases before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His experience includes navigating criminal and civil allegations concerning health care fraud, securities law violations, false claims, kickbacks, wire and mail fraud, tax conspiracy fraud, movie investment fraud, obstruction of justice, marijuana/cannabis distribution, and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud.
Byron has a specialized knowledge of the health care claims and reimbursement industry. He served as the USAO’s health care fraud coordinator, where he evaluated health care-related False Claim Act (FCA) civil claims and determined whether criminal investigations should be initiated. He coordinated with other assistant U.S. attorneys and investigative agencies to identify the USAO’s top priority cases in home health care, hospice, prescription drugs, and skilled nursing facility care. He also worked with the U.S. Department of Justice’s local Medicare Fraud Strike Force and assisted with the coordination and organization of its annual national sweep of health care criminal cases.
- Represented a medical provider as a potential victim in a multifaceted money laundering and fraud scheme investigation involving the sale of alleged counterfeit medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Represented a hospital as a potential witness in an investigation of a third-party company concerning its investment in multiple clinical trials
- Conducted an internal investigation for a health care company regarding federal criminal allegations of a PPP loan fraud scheme by a former employee and the potential misappropriation of company resources
- Represented a health care services company in a qui tam investigation and avoided any recommendation of civil or criminal charges from the U.S. Department of HHS-OIG to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago
- Represented a health care provider in a criminal False Claims Act matter relating to billing and claims for alleged medically non-reimbursable treatment
- Co-author, “Employee charged with COVID relief fraud? Questions for GCs,” Daily Journal (May 14, 2021)
- Co-author, “Providing Intended Loss in Criminal Health Care Cases,” Daily Journal (March 4, 2019)
Cryptocurrency and NFTs
- Represent a client defending itself against a Securities and Exchange investigation related to the production, marketing and distribution of certain NFTs
- Represent a client that seeks to create a NFT exchange based outside the United States and to avoid the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission
- Moderator, “NIL and the Shifting Legal Landscape of College Sports,” Foley & Lardner Webinar (November 9, 2021)
- Panelist, “Minting & Selling an NFT – Live Demo & Legal Analysis,” Foley & Lardner Webinar (September 14, 2021)
- Panelist, Intellectual Property Rights and NFTs and Best Practices for Licensing Commercial Technical Data & Software to the US Government (“Are NFTs a Security?”), National Bar Association Conference (July 25, 2021)
General Government Investigations
- Conducted an internal investigation for a mining company regarding the alleged misappropriation of company funds, employee harassment, wage & hour violations, potential tax violations and successfully avoided any associated SEC investigation for civil or criminal liability against client
- Represented a potential target in a Ponzi scheme and successfully avoided any charges against client from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles
- Represented a webhosting company executive as a potential target in a grand jury investigation involving allegations of bank fraud, wire fraud, other criminal offenses and successfully avoided any charges against client from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston
- Represented a potential witness in a multi-faceted bankruptcy fraud scheme, involving the concealment of tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. government and creditors
- Panelist, “White Collar Investigations,” Black In House Counsel Network Seminar (October 21, 2021)
- Co-author, “Should Law Firms Worry About Civil Liability From Their PPP Loans?,” Daily Journal (April 13, 2021)
- Co-author, “Five Developments Identified in Criminal and Civil Enforcement of PPP Loans,” Foley Insights (March 17, 2021)
- Author, “Top 10 tips for preparing and presenting your opening statement at trial,” Daily Journal (February 19, 2020)
- Represented a client in the food service industry to assist with establishing franchisor status under California law and other applicable states.
- Represented a client in the beauty services industry to assist with establishing trademark protection and franchisor status under Oklahoma law.
- Served as co-lead trial defense counsel for a regional transportation company, which successfully negotiated a very favorable settlement concerning allegations of employee negligence in a traffic accident involving significant injuries to plaintiff
- Represented a municipal government entity concerning allegations of negligence, violation of mandatory duty, waste of public funds and other civil allegations
- Served as co-chair of the LA Police Commission’s Advisory Committee on Building Trust and Equity, which was tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of LAPD policies and procedures and delivering recommendations for additional reforms
- 2020 Los Angeles Business Journal – Top Minority Attorney in Los Angeles
- 2020 Century City Bar Association – White Collar Lawyer of the Year Award
- 2016 John M. Langston Bar Association – President’s Award
- Harvard Law School (J.D., 2007)
- Harvard University (A.B., cum laude, 2000)
- Recipient, Harvard College Academic Achievement Scholarship
- Recipient, Roger Annenberg Academic Achievement Scholarship
- 2019 president and lifetime member, John M. Langston Bar Association (Los Angeles-based African-American bar organization)
- Board of trustees, NALP Foundation
- Board director, Harvard Law School Association Black Alumni Network
- Board member, Bet Tzedek Legal Services
- Past board member, Los Angeles County Bar Association Judicial Appointments Committee
- Lifetime member, Harvard Club of Southern California
- Lifetime member, Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Associations (BESLA)
- Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, National Bar Association
- Member, American Inns of Court
- Co-chair, Jack and Jill, Inc. – Father’s Auxiliary Group, Los Angeles chapter
- Member, Central District of California Standing Committee on Attorney Discipline
- Central District of California
- Southern District of California
- Northern District of California
- Eastern District of California
- Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals