William P. Devereaux is a Principal with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC and leads the firm’s Criminal Defense Team. Attorney Devereaux is a prominent and highly respected criminal and civil litigator, who also has contributed considerable time and effort throughout his thirty five years of practice to provide pro bono legal representation to nonprofit organizations, and has served on several charitable boards. Mr. Devereaux’s practice has included the representation of high-profile clients, including CEOs, doctors, lawyers, and leading political figures in state and federal court. He was the first attorney in the United States to successfully negotiate a “Deferred Prosecution Agreement” for a hospital and he is the original author of “Rhode Island’s Guide to Grand Jury Service.”
Attorney Devereaux routinely appears before the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to representing individuals in criminal defense matters, Mr. Devereaux represents for profit and non-profit organizations with respect to health care fraud, money laundering, securities disputes and product liability issues. He represents clients before the Department of Justice, the HHS Office of Inspector General and Office of Civil Rights and defends individuals and agencies with respect to Medicaid and Medicaid fraud, enforcement actions and agency audits. He has also represented casino developers, municipalities and Native American Tribes with respect to gaming, licensing, permitting and contracting issues involving the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Attorney Devereaux is highly regarded for his ability to manage grand jury and other governmental investigations to avoid indictments or actions by regulators. After graduating from Suffolk University Law School, Attorney Devereaux served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps during which time he acted as Senior Defense Counsel for the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii. He later served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Rhode Island and prosecuted organized crime and major felony cases, as well as environmental criminal offenses. As an Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Devereaux also served as supervising attorney for statewide Grand Jury matters.
Attorney Devereaux is a prominent member of the Rhode Island and Massachusetts legal communities and has been honored by his peers and judges with the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell, which is the highest rating based on both legal ability and ethics. He has also been selected annually by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, was honored as a recipient of a 2021 Professional Excellence in Law Award by Rhode Island Monthly, and is recognized as a Civil Litigation and Criminal Defense Super Lawyer.
Attorney Devereaux is one of the co-founders at Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. He is admitted to practice law in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals for the Armed Forces. Attorney Devereaux is a retired Captain in the United States Naval Reserve.
Areas of Practice
- Criminal Defense
- Health Care
- Cyber Law
- Massachusetts, 1979
- Rhode Island, 1979
- U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Honors and Awards
- Pro Bono Publico Recipient, RI Bar Association
- Best Lawyers in America
- Super Lawyers
- Professional Excellence in Law Award, Rhode Island Monthly
- Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts
- J.D. – 1979
- Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
- B.A. – 1975
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Rhode Island Bar Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- American Association for Justice
- Representation involving breach of contract/title insurance litigation in a variety of civil matters, including a trespass and title case involving a complex dispute between corporate owners and occupiers of land. Lead counsel in the defense of the Narragansett Indian Tribe in a breach of contract action brought by a large national gaming company.
- Successfully handled the representation of a local hospital that was investigated by the FBI for honest services fraud allegations involving the former CEO’s hiring of a part-time state senator as well as Medicaid fraud allegations. Negotiated the first Deferred Prosecution Agreement involving a health care provider in the country.
- Represented employees of Beacon Mutual Insurance Co. in a grand jury investigation.
- Represented the speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives in a state grand jury investigation regarding alleged fraud in a workers’ compensation insurance matter. The representation resulted in no indictments.
- Represented the president of the Rhode Island State Senate in a federal grand jury investigation involving certain regional banks. The representation resulted in no indictments.
- Successfully defended a corporate client in Massachusetts Superior Court in the wrongful death case of a teenager.
- Successfully defended a national insurance company in coverage denial claims.
- Appointed to head the first environmental crimes unit of the RI Attorney General Office as a former assistant attorney general for the state of Rhode Island. In this position and in the private sector, handled both civil and criminal cases involving issues regarding storing, transporting and disposing of hazardous waste materials. In the civil context, successfully represented a local fire district whose property was contaminated by an oil company, a metal recycling facility investigated by state and federal authorities for alleged civil and criminal violations, and a Rhode Island waste hauler who had been sued by the U.S. government.
- Successfully defended the Rhode Island Lottery Commission in a highly publicized case in which the former executive director alleged wrongful termination and certain pension benefits.
- Successfully defended Cigna Insurance Co. and the University of Rhode Island in an action alleging gender discrimination and anti-trust violations in the administration of the university’s health services plan.
- Handled the litigation of a trespass and title case involving a complex dispute between corporate owners and occupiers of land. Achieved a significant victory when the judge denied the plaintiffs’ ability to seek punitive damages after a lengthy hearing.
- Defended the Narragansett Indian Tribe in a breach of contract action brought by a large national gaming company.
- Successfully handled a property damage claim initially brought by the U.S. trustee in bankruptcy against a large corporate warehousing facility.
- Successfully defended a corporate client in Massachusetts Superior Court in the wrongful death case of a teenager. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant.
- Represented a national insurance company in several successful cases during a multiyear period concerning denial of insurance coverage due to fraud and failure of the insured to cooperate.
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