Eric K. Gerard

Counsel

EDUCATION
  • Washington & Lee University
    B.A. 2003, summa cum laude
  • The Johns Hopkins University
    M.A. 2009, with honors
  • University of Virginia School of Law
    J.D. 2009, Order of the Coif
ADMISSIONS
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Texas
  • USDC, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • USDC, Southern District of New York
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Eric K. Gerard, counsel to the Firm, is a former federal prosecutor and experienced trial lawyer whose practice focuses on securities fraud, consumer class actions, and qui tam litigation. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, earning Order of the Coif honors while completing a master’s degree in international economics at the Johns Hopkins University.

Before joining Kessler Topaz, Eric worked as an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, as a litigator at an international law firm, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. At the Justice Department, Eric served in the white-collar and major crimes sections of the Criminal Division and in the affirmative civil enforcement (ACE) section responsible for investigating fraud against the United States. He has tried a range of complex cases to verdict, including international money laundering, wire fraud, securities counterfeiting, identity theft, obstruction of justice, civil healthcare liability claims, and murder-for-hire.

Experience
Ongoing Cases
  • Kessler Topaz represents Sjunde AP-Fonden (“AP7”), one of Sweden’s largest pension funds, in a securities fraud class action against Goldman Sachs in the Southern District of New York.  This case arises out of Goldman’s role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”) money laundering scandal, one of the largest financial frauds in recent memory.  

    In 2012 and 2013, Goldman served as the underwriter for 1MDB, the Malaysia state investment fund masterminded by financier Jho Low, in connection with three state-guaranteed bond offerings.  In concert with Goldman, Low and other conspirators including government officials from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ran an expansive bribery ring, siphoning $4.5 billion from the bond deals which Goldman peddled as investments for Malaysian state energy projects.  In actuality, the deals were shell transactions used to facilitate the historic money laundering scheme.  Nearly $700 million of the diverted funds ended up in the private bank account of Najib Razak, Malaysia’s now-disgraced prime minister who was convicted for abuse of power in 2020.  Other funds were funnelled to Low and his associates and were used to buy luxury real estate in New York and Paris, super yachts, and even help finance the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  

    Goldman netted $600 million in fees for the three bond offerings—over 100 times the customary fee for comparable deals.  In October 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Goldman’s Malaysia subsidiary had pled guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) which criminalizes the payment of bribes to foreign officials, and that Goldman had agreed to pay $2.9 billion pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement.  This amount includes the largest ever penalty under the FCPA.  

    AP7 filed a 200-page complaint on October 2019 alleging that Goldman and its former executives, including Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary Cohn, violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act by making false and misleading statements about Goldman’s role in the 1MDB fraud.  When media reports began to surface about the collapse of 1MDB, Goldman denied any involvement in the criminal scheme.  Simultaneously, Goldman misrepresented its risk controls and continued to falsely tout the robustness of its compliance measures.  Defendants’ motion to dismiss is currently pending before U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick.  
     

  • In January 2019, Kessler Topaz filed a class action in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on behalf of a U.S. institutional investor against Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (AAP), its CEO Thomas R. Greco, and its former CFO Thomas Okray.  The complaint alleges that Greco and Okray disregarded internal forecasts of negative sales growth and made materially false and misleading statements regarding AAP’s ability to deliver “positive” sales and operating margin growth in fiscal year 2017.    

    On February 7, 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews sustained in large part the investors’ claims.  Discovery is ongoing.

Speaking Engagements

“Case Study in International Money Laundering,” Financial Crimes and Inspectors General Council (2018)

“Emerging Trends in Securities Enforcement,” Hillsborough County Bar Association (2017)

“Effective Opening Statements,” Goldberg Inn of Court (2017)

“Address on Behalf of the New Inductees,” Texas Board of Law Examiners (2014)

“Prosecuting Opportunistic Hate Crimes,” Anti-Defamation League, New England Region (2007)

Publication

The Health Lawyer (ABA), “Supreme Dilemma: Handling Conflicts Between State Medical Privacy Laws and Federal Investigative Subpoenas” (Aug. 2019)

Regulatory Compliance Watch, “Lessons in Due Diligence Seen in Case of Jailed Fraudster” (Dec. 2018) (quoted)

Texas Lawyer, “Timely Disclosure Requirements of Texas’s Responsible Third-Party Statute” (Nov. 2015)

Houston Lawyer, “Joint Venturing the Case” (July/Aug. 2015)

Texas Bar Journal, “Called to the Bar” (July 2014)

Developments in Mental Health Law, “Waiting in the Wings: Assessing the Admissibility of Neuroimagery Evidence for Lie Detection” (2008)

Awards/Ranking

Top Complex Financial Crimes Investigation, Inspectors General Council (2018)

Outstanding Legal Article Award, Houston Bar Foundation (2017)

Rising Star, Super Lawyers Magazine (2016)

Houston’s Top Lawyers, Houstonia Magazine (2016)

Top Scorer, Texas Bar Exam (2014)

Order of the Coif, Virginia Chapter (2009)

National Finalist, National Trial Competition (2008)

Membership

Taxpayers Against Fraud