H. Vincent McKnight Jr.
Washington, DC Managing Partner, Co-Ombudsperson, and Co-Chair of the firm’s Whistleblower & Qui Tam Practice Group
Vincent (Vince) McKnight is Managing Partner of the Washington, DC, Office of Sanford Heisler Sharp, Co-Ombudsperson, and Co-Chair of the firm’s Whistleblower & Qui Tam Practice Group.
Since joining the firm, Vince has received several awards and recognitions. Most recently, he was one of a few plaintiff’s lawyers recognized as an MVP by Law360 in Government Contracts. Martindale-Hubble gave him the Judicial AV Preeminent Rating in 2021, and prior to that, he regularly received the AV Preeminent Rating. He has also been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America and a Super Lawyer. In addition, he was named as a Lawyer of Distinction and listed on the National Black Lawyer Top 100 list.
At Sanford Heisler Sharp, Vince’s practice has focused on representing corporate whistleblowers who have exposed government contract procurement fraud, banking misconduct, securities fraud, and other corporate malfeasance. He has also represented executives in sensitive wrongful discharge and discrimination cases. Vince’s representations have included:
- Representing the former Executive Vice President and Chief Security Officer of Wells Fargo who assisted the OCC, SEC, and DOJ to recover $3.5 Billion in fines and penalties arising out of the “fake account” scandal
- Representing the former Director of Contracts at Navistar who alleged that Navistar misrepresented its pricing structure to the DOD and overcharged the Government in the MRAP vehicle purchase resulting in Navistar agreeing to pay $50 million to settle this case in 2020
- Representing the former Director of Contracts from CDM Smith who alleged that CDM Smith developed an automated process to conduct an audit that dramatically cut the man-hours necessary to complete the job but continued to charge the Government as if the work was still being performed manually, resulting in CDM Smith paying $10 million to resolve these allegations
- Representing the former Director of Contracts at NetApp who alleged that NetApp violated the GSA “Best Price Clause” and overcharged the Government by millions, resulting in NetApp paying $128 million to resolve these allegations
- Representing a former executive at Tenet who alleged that Tenet overcharged the Government by ordering and billing for unnecessary medical tests for patients, leading Tenet to settle these claims for $1.4 million
Vince received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his undergraduate degree from Brown University. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Vince learned trial advocacy in the school’s pioneering clinical program that allowed him to try a case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as a student. He was also on a team of student lawyers that convinced a federal judge that confining a prisoner indefinitely to solitary confinement without meaningful review violated his civil rights.
A member of the District of Columbia and Maryland bars, Vince regularly leads and participates on panels on whistleblower laws at the ABA, the Federal Bar Association, and Taxpayers Against Fraud. He has been quoted in numerous newspapers and press outlets on important whistleblowers matters. He was part of a team of lawyers that consulted with then-Maryland State Senator (now U.S. Congressman) Jamie Raskin to draft the Maryland False Claims Act. Formerly, he served on the Board of Governors for the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan DC. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Taxpayers Against Fraud.
Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Vince completed a clerkship for the Honorable William C. Pryor on the District of Columbia Superior Court and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Over his 40-plus-year career, Vince has tried over 50 cases to verdict and appeared in courts across the U.S. Vince also litigated Adams v. Cohchran, the case in which the DC Court of Appeals first departed from the employment-at-will doctrine (the assumption that employment is for an indefinite amount of time and may be terminated at any time) in the District of Columbia.
When Vince is not lawyering, he enjoys spending time with his family and listening to jazz. As a native Washingtonian, he is an avid fan of all Washington sports teams and regularly attends Wizards games.
- J.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Law
- B.A., Brown University
- Honorable William C. Pryor in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
- District of Columbia, 1980
- Maryland, 2009
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund Conference Committee (2017, 2018)
- The 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Civil Rights & Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
- 2022 National Law Journal Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazers
- 2021 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Industry Leader in Employment Discrimination Law
- 2021 Law360 MVP – Government Contracts
- 2020 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- 2019-22 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Employment Lawyer
- 2019 Lawyers of Distinction
- 2019 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- 2018 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
- Named 2018 Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyer
- 2008–2022 Best Lawyers in America
- Rising Star by Lawdragon
- 2009, 2011-2012, 2017-2020 DC Super Lawyer
- Top Rated Lawyer in Maryland by the Legal Network
Experienced, professional, and candid
I engaged Sanford Heisler Sharp back with a very complex claim that defied the typical profile and circumstances for a plaintiff in a Qui Tam matter. Sanford Heisler Sharp ensured I fully understood their belief in me and my case and made it clear that I had the full weight of the firm behind me in the matter. Vincent Mcknight and his very capable team of lawyers deployed his long tenure and unparalleled respect in the field of Whistleblower claims to pace the investigation, solicit and support meetings, discussions, interrogatories and detailed responses to the DOJ and level set expectations for all parties involved. They were the ultimate legal team and I appreciated the expertise, honesty, candor and partnership in resolving this most complex matter.
– Duquoin K. Burgess, former Director of Contracts, Navistar Defense
Exceeded our expectations.
“We retained Mr. McKnight to represent us in a qui tam matter against one of our competitors that we suspected was violating the federal government contracting guidelines and certifications. The efficiency with which our claim was filed, heard and settled exceeded our expectations and we wouldn’t hesitate to utilize his expertise if the need ever arose again.”
– Malcolm Wilson, Perry & Wilson, Inc.
“We retained Vince McKnight several years ago in a qui tam matter against a company that was illegally selling lamps and furniture from China to the United States Government. He explained the process and was personally available and attentive throughout the course of the action. We had a successful outcome which was important to our company, and to other companies, like mine, that followed the government contract guidelines.”
– Louis M Scutellaro, President, Mario Industries
The whistleblower alleged that Navistar, a U.S. defense contractor, forged invoices, catalogue prices and other data to charge the Government inflated prices for Mine Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. After seven years, Navistar agreed to pay $50 million to resolve the False Claims Act allegations.
According to settlement documents in a qui tam case against California-based network security company Fortinet, Inc., the relator represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp was awarded 19% of the $545,000 the company was fined for selling equipment made in China to the U.S. Government.
CDM Smith, Inc./CDM Federal Programs Corporation False Claims Act Lawsuit – $5.65 Million Settlement
Relator Vincent Bevilacqua, a former employee of CDM Smith, alleged that CDM Smith and CDM Federal Programs Corporation engaged in a scheme to submit inaccurate cost and labor hour estimates and related certifications in a contract with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic.
United States ex rel. Sherwin v. Office Depot (Los Angeles County Superior Court) – $68 Million Settlement
The whistleblower, represented by Altomease Kennedy and California co-counsels, alleged that Office Depot violated the California False Claims Act by overcharging numerous governmental entities, including the city and county of Los Angeles, for office and classroom supplies, and failing to offer them the company’s “best price.” The city of Los Angeles received the largest settlement allocation of more than $11 million.
- High Court False Claims Ruling Underscores Communication Is Key, Bloomberg Law, June 13, 2023
- Alarm bells, arrogance and the crisis at Wells Fargo, AMERICAN BANKER, January 31, 2023
- Sunday Read: Honoring Whistleblowers, National Whistleblower Center, January 31, 2023
- Honeywell’s Damages Success May Be Hard for Others to Repeat, Bloomberg Law, Sept. 2, 2022
- Will Whistleblower Litigation Finally Get Its Day?” Best Lawyers’ All Rise Newsletter, July 25, 2022
- At Invitation Homes, unpermitted work leaves leaky plumbing, faulty repairs, renters say, The Washington Post, July 12, 2022
- As Hacking Threats Increase Whistleblowers May Help Uncover National Security Risks?, LAW.COM, March 03, 2022
- Regulators May Lean on Civil War-Era Law to Ensure Cybersecurity Compliance, LAW.COM, January 14, 2022
- COVID Drives Change in Plaintiffs Firms’ Trial Strategy in 2022, LAW.COM, December 21, 2021
- MVP: Sanford Heisler’s Vincent McKnight, Law360, September 23, 2021
- Corporate boards, consulting, speaking fees: How U.S. generals thrived after Afghanistan, The Wasington Post, September 4, 2021
- Law360 MVP Awards Go To 182 Attys From 77 Firms, Law360, August 30, 2021
- Eight Sanford Heisler Sharp Attorneys Listed In 2022 Best Lawyers, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, August 19, 2021
- Grassley Bill Aims to Slow DOJ’s Pushback on Whistleblower Suits, Bloomberg Law, Aug. 2, 2021
- Grassley Moves to Stop Contractors From Holding U.S. ‘Hostage’, Bloomberg Law, July 29, 2021
- Armored vehicle maker must pay $50 million to settle claim it defrauded Marine Corps, STARS AND STRIPES, May 28, 2021
- Navistar Settles Marine Corps Fraud Case For $50M, Law360, May 27, 2021
- Navistar to pay $50 million to settle complaint accusing it of fraudulent pricing, Defence News, May 28, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces $50 Million Settlement In False Claims Act Case Against Navistar Defense and Navistar International, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, May 27, 2021
- Biden’s Biggest Stick in Buy American Push Is Anti-Fraud Law, Bloomberg Law, Jan. 28, 2021
- In BigLaw Gender Bias Suits, Anonymity Is Fleeting, Law360, September 28, 2020
- Federal lawsuit shows SEC investigating FirstEnergy Corp., Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 17, 2020
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission launches investigation into FirstEnergy Corp., Cleveland, Sep. 15, 2020
- More firms may be exposed to D&O suits over diversity, Business Insurance, September, 14, 2020
- DOJ Targets Funders as Eleventh Cir. Upholds Whistleblower Win, Bloomberg Law, Aug. 28, 2020
- CDM Smith, Inc. and CDM Federal Programs Corporation Settle False Claims Act Suit with Federal Government (Globe Newswire), Globe Newswire, August 27, 2020
- DOJ Pursues Drug Suit That Got Away to Shore Up Dismissal Power, Jan. 6, 2020
- Whistleblower Accuses MRAP Maker of Overcharging US Marine Corps by $1.3 Billion, Sputnik International, June 12, 2019
- Daily Dicta: Sanford Heisler Sitting Pretty in $1.28B Whistleblower Suit, LAW.COM, December 05, 2019
- Navistar Accused Of Overcharging Marine Corps By $1.28B, Law360, December 4, 2019
- Company Settles Whistleblower Case That Led to Former DOJ Lawyer’s Jailing, LAW.COM, April 15, 2019
- Companies Get New Tools to Fight Whistleblower Claims, The Wall Street Journal Newsroom, March 2, 2018
- Whistleblower Says Ch. 11 Filing Can’t Delay Suit, Law360, September 25, 2017
- As the Government Prioritizes Cybersecurity Fraud, Whistleblowers Are Vital to Rooting It Out, Taxpayers Against Fraud, 2022
- The Need for Clarity: Whistleblowers in an Opaque, Digital World, Global Data Review, June 2022.
- Causes of Action by Employee Retaliation and Reprisal Pursuant to the False Claims Act, 31 USC Section 3730 (j). Causes of Action 2d 217, Section 2, West 2003.
- Biomechanics of VDT Carpal Tunnel Cases. Trial. June 1991.
- February 9, 2021, Panelist
Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF), COVID-19 Financial Relief Fraud- Addressing Fraud, Waste and Abuse
- December 18, 2020, Panelist
ABA, Civil False Claims and Qui Tam Enforcement/Procurement Fraud
- October 29, 2020, Panelist
Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF), COVID-19 Fraud
- October 2, 2019, Moderator
Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF), Best Practices for Investigations Involving Multiple Agencies
- October 3 – 5, 2018, Moderator
Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF) 2018 Conference and Awards
- June 14, 2018, Panelist
American Bar Association 2018 National Institute on the Civil False Claims Act and Qui Tam Enforcement, Procurement Fraud
- February 28, 2018, Panelist
Federal Bar Association Qui Tam Conference, Strategic Use of Pre-Trial Motions
- Tech World Forecast: A Perfect Storm For Whistleblowers
- As the Government Prioritizes Cybersecurity Fraud, Whistleblowers Are Vital to Rooting It Out
- Privacy in Peril: The Rise of Information Security Fraud
- Whistleblowers are Key in Protecting Businesses From COVID-19 Scammers
- Statistical evidence is solid proof of fraud!