Sam Sheldon is head of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group. He is a trial lawyer who represents both plaintiffs and defendants in claims brought under the Federal and State False Claims Acts. Mr. Sheldon also represents companies and senior executives in litigation before the United States federal government including Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services, and other law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Mr. Sheldon’s practice focuses on health care fraud whether in the context of civil, criminal or parallel probes including the False Claims Act and the Stark Act.
As former Deputy Chief of the Criminal Fraud Division and Chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit of United States Department of Justice, Mr. Sheldon was responsible for overseeing the prosecution of health care fraud for the entire United States. His achievements include managing the largest one-day arrest in U.S. history at that time of 107 people engaged in health care fraud totaling over $450 million, and a record total in 2012 of over $1.5 billion in health care fraud charged. Mr. Sheldon tried seven health care fraud cases during his three-year tenure with the Criminal Fraud Division.
Mr. Sheldon is also a former Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), serving the Southern District of Texas. He successfully prosecuted the first agricultural fraud case in the United States (under 7 U.S.C. § 7711), for which he received a special award from the FBI Director commending his prosecution of the case. Additionally, the Assistant Director of the Department of Homeland Security granted him an International Achievement Award for successfully prosecuting several complex import-export fraud cases. Mr. Sheldon tried fourteen cases during his three-year tenure as an AUSA.
Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Mr. Sheldon spent approximately ten years in private practice. He was a litigation associate and then litigation partner in the San Diego office of Cozen O’Connor. Mr. Sheldon specialized in commercial, environmental and insurance subrogation litigation. He also managed his own law firm representing small companies and individuals.
Mr. Sheldon’s legal career is further distinguished by his pro bono work where his accomplishments include successfully persuading Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama to grant seven of his clients’ federal clemency petitions. Feature stories describing Mr. Sheldon’s legal victories have been written in The American Lawyer, National Law Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Diego-Union Tribune, San Diego Lawyer, and featured on ABC Nightly News and the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2015, a victory in one of Mr. Sheldon’s pro bono cases was selected by the Editor of America Lawyer as the “Most Inspiring Pro Bono Win of 2015.”
U.S. District Court Judge David Doty called Mr. Sheldon “a great hero” for dedicating himself to pro bono work. Judge Doty has also written an article for the Federal Sentencing Reporter discussing Mr. Sheldon’s legal successes including the case of Serena Nunn. After serving eleven years in federal prison and then having her sentence commuted by President Clinton, Serena Nunn graduated college from Arizona State University and law school from the University of Michigan. She is currently practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Nunn stated, “Mr. Sheldon inspired me. He is the best person I know.” In 2016, President Obama granted a pardon to Ms. Nunn. In the past 64 years, including Ms. Nunn, there have been only three federal prisoners that have received both a presidential commutation of sentence and then a presidential pardon.