Peter E. Gelhaar

Peter E. Gelhaar
T 617.720.2880 x113
biography (pdf)


As a former federal prosecutor, Peter Gelhaar brings a rare combination of experience, reputation and relationships to bear in defending individuals, companies and other entities facing white collar criminal, SEC or other government enforcement investigations or charges and high stakes civil litigation.

Peter’s defense of his clients begins with his understanding of how to assess and overcome the allegations brought against them. He understands that cases are usually won on the facts. Tapping decades of experience, Peter investigates the facts thoroughly and forms effective arguments to persuade prosecutors to decline to pursue their cases.

Peter defends a wide range of businesses whose activities intersect with regulatory scrutiny involving securities enforcement, health care, financial services, and government procurement. He also represents individuals in investigations and proceedings before professional disciplinary boards.

Peter’s success defending white collar criminal and securities enforcement investigations is tied to his tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. As a Federal prosecutor, he served in the Criminal Division as a member of the Major Crimes and Public Corruption Units, and in the Civil Division as Deputy Chief and Chief of Affirmative Civil Enforcement. Having specialized in the prosecution of cases involving financial fraud, government contracting fraud, and health care fraud, he has an insider’s view of how best to defend against these cases.

Over the years, Peter has earned a reputation for working collaboratively and respectfully with all parties involved with bringing and defending cases. As a result, he has been appointed to serve on critical oversight boards including the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Commission which plays a key role in selecting judges in the Commonwealth, and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine which oversees the medical profession. Peter also served as New England Regional Co-Chair of the American Bar Association's White Collar Crime Subcommittee. He is a frequent panelist in programs educating lawyers on criminal white collar and securities enforcement topics.

Peter is recognized as a Massachusetts leader in white collar crime and government investigations by Chambers USA which notes his “deep strategic sense.” Chambers has observed that Peter “maintains a broad white-collar criminal litigation and investigations practice” with an “inordinate level of expertise in healthcare fraud matters… [and a] practical approach that doesn't involve reinventing the wheel.” He has also been named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer and recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® for many consecutive years in a peer-driven selection process.

Peter serves as a Corporator for the Perkins School for the Blind, and serves as a Board member for Dress For Success Boston and the Narrow River Preservation Association.


White Collar Defense & Government Investigations

  • Obtained the dismissal at trial of bank fraud and bank bribery charges against the president and director of a large metropolitan Boston bank.
  • Obtained a not guilty verdict against an individual accused of defrauding a federal agency.
  • Successfully defended numerous targets of grand jury investigations addressing allegations of health care fraud.
  • Exonerated numerous individuals accused of committing fraud against Federal and State taxing authorities.
  • Successfully represented individuals involved in investigations concerning alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Successfully represented a defense contractor executive in an allegation of fraudulent pricing of work, creating false records and lying to auditors.
  • Represented executives outside the United States in an investigation of patient injury allegedly tied to a medical device.

SEC Enforcement Defense

  • Successfully represented numerous individuals accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of committing investor fraud, insider trading, accounting fraud violations, the market-timing of mutual funds, and the back-dating of stock options.
  • Successfully defended investment advisors in investigations conducted by Federal prosecutors and securities regulators into fraudulent investment practices.
  • Represented an investment advisor in an SEC investigation related to promotional materials.



  • JD, cum laude, Boston College Law School, 1982, Boston College Law Review
  • BA, cum laude, University of Vermont, 1978, Phi Beta Kappa


  • Massachusetts Superior Court


  • Massachusetts
  • United States District Court (D. Mass.)
  • United States Court of Appeals (1st Cir.)