Overview

Shardul Desai is a cybersecurity, data privacy, and white collar defense and government investigations attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Desai has extensive experience in handling cyber intrusions and data breaches, trade secret thefts, emerging technology matters and complex white collar investigations. With a computer science and physics background, Mr. Desai is highly skilled and knowledgeable to advise companies on novel issues at the intersection of law, technology and data privacy.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Desai was a federal prosecutor in the Cyber and National Security Section and the Economic Crimes Section at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. For more than eight years, Mr. Desai was the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Assistant U.S. Attorney for the office where he led groundbreaking cybercrime investigations, built international cooperation on cyber matters, and used emerging technologies, including facial recognition and cryptocurrency blockchain analysis, to advance prosecutions.

Mr. Desai received the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award for leading the landmark GameOver Zeus prosecution and for helping design a cyber operation to dismantle the GameOver Zeus botnet that caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to the U.S. financial sector. He also led the investigation of the Evil Corp group, which was responsible for the Bugat/Dridex malware that caused an estimated $100 million or more of loss to the banking system worldwide, and led a novel law enforcement operation, which the Attorney General later announced as the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) operation, that targeted illegal opioid distribution on darknet marketplaces.

In addition to his vast experience with cybercrime matters, Mr. Desai has investigated and prosecuted numerous corporate trade secret theft cases, money laundering operations and complex white collar crimes, including healthcare fraud, tax fraud and various financial frauds concerning investment schemes, corporate fraud, embezzlement and consumer frauds. Mr. Desai also has tried nine criminal jury trials, including a tax fraud trial, an investment scheme-related mail/wire fraud trial, a corporate fraud and embezzlement mail/wire fraud trial, and a securities fraud trial. He also has argued a national security case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Mr. Desai has significant science and engineering experience. He analyzed the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) weapons systems as a defense contractor, and he analyzed data from the Hubble Space Telescope on Jupiter. Because of his scientific and engineering background, he has a strong technical understanding of the emerging technological revolution in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics and autonomous vehicles (AV).

Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Mr. Desai was a litigation associate for a global law firm, and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Raymond Gruender of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Credentials

Education
  • Duke University School of Law, J.D.
  • Duke University School of Law, LL.M., International and Comparative Law
  • Duke University School of Law, M.A., Political Science
  • Washington University in St. Louis, B.S., Computer Science, magna cum laude
  • Washington University in St. Louis, B.A., Political Science, with honors
  • Washington University in St. Louis, B.S., Physics, magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Pennsylvania
  • North Carolina
  • District of Columbia
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Honors & Awards
  • Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 2015
  • Assistant Attorney General's Exceptional Service Award, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 2014
  • Director Commendation, U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA), 2019
  • Certificate of Recognition, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 2019
  • Law Enforcement Agency Director (LEAD) Team Award, Western District of Pennsylvania, 2017

Publications

News