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Meet Our Professionals

Brian S. Cromwell

Board of Directors of the Firm
Charlotte | 704.335.9511
Fax | 704.334.4706

Brian Cromwell is a former state and federal prosecutor who counsels clients on internal investigations, white collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement issues, and civil litigation. His clients include financial institutions such as broker-dealers and banks, health care providers, sports and entertainment clients, and manufacturers.

Clients have praised Brian's business acumen, including his focus on providing solutions that align with their business strategy. His partners at Parker Poe have also recognized his business sense, as he serves on the firm's board of directors.

Brian represents clients in encounters with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), state attorneys general, and other prosecutors and regulators.

Brian has served as an assistant district attorney for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where he gained substantial investigative and trial experience in a variety of cases. Following his tenure as an assistant district attorney, he served as an assistant United States attorney for the Department of Justice, Western District of North Carolina.

Prior to attending law school, Brian gained valuable experience as a financial analyst and a tax consultant, which sparked his practical and legal insight into complex corporate criminal issues.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully defended a client in a three-week, high-profile political bribery trial. The federal trial involved allegations against a billionaire political donor attempting to bribe North Carolina's insurance commissioner. A jury found the donor and one of his associates guilty but found our client not guilty. This case was featured in The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets. 
  • Served as lead pool counsel for over 300 employees at a national bank in a multidistrict investigation that involved state attorneys general, U.S. attorneys, and the SEC.
  • Represented broker-dealers and their employees in investigations conducted by the SEC.
  • Represented a large regional hospital during a wide-scale state insurance investigation where no substantive sanctions were levied against the health care facility.
  • Represented health care companies and medical professionals in a variety of criminal investigations.
  • Represented a world-famous rapper in an investigation by the SEC that resulted in a favorable settlement.
  • Represented a sports and entertainment conglomerate in an SEC investigation, resulting in no enforcement action being taken.
  • Represented an American subsidiary of a Japanese company in an investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, which resulted in declination of prosecution.
  • Represented a large company in an antitrust investigation involving allegations of bid rigging. 
  • Represented manufacturing and distribution companies who are the victims of internal embezzlement in parallel civil and criminal proceedings.
  • Obtained summary judgment for an international equipment company in excess of $12 million against a former employee on claims for theft and embezzlement, unjust enrichment, fraud, conversion, RICO, NC RICO, and unfair and deceptive trade practices, based on his sale of company assets for his and others' benefit. We also obtained a $1 million consent judgment against his wife and a default judgment in excess of $12 million against his shell company.
  • Represented a municipality, police force, and others in a racially divisive 42 U.S.C. §1983 excessive use of force case in which 55 of 59 claims were dismissed by the close of summary judgment. Parker Poe was able to negotiate a settlement at a fraction the plaintiff's initial demand.
  • Represented an asset management firm and its principals in an SEC investigation that resulted in no enforcement action being taken despite criminal sentences being levied against alleged co-conspirators.
  • Represented 20 individuals in responding to subpoenas in a high-profile conservation easement tax fraud investigation.
  • Represented a sneaker distributor in a tax investigation.
  • Represented a CPA in an IRS-CID investigation, which resulted in no formal charges being filed.
  • Acted as pool counsel for executives of a government-sponsored enterprise in a protracted SEC investigation.
  • Represented a mortgage company regarding an investigation conducted by the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, which resulted in no formal charges being filed.
  • Conducted internal investigations for corporations in various industries, including chemical manufacturing, medical provision, insurance, banking, energy, and food processing.
  • Represented the CEO of a textile corporation investigated by the SEC, resulting in no enforcement action being taken.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 manufacturing company in response to law enforcement subpoenas and requests for information.
  • Defended, pro bono in a high-profile trial, an individual who was charged with a homicide offense; trial concluded in a dismissal at the close of the government's evidence.

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Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America in Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2010-2024
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers in Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2021-2024
  • Business North Carolina magazine's "Legal Elite" in Criminal Law, 2011, 2013, 2018, 2023
  • North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, Leaders in the Law Honoree, 2016
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2022-2024
  • Law360's Legal Lions of the Week, 2024


  • Blumenthal Performing Arts, Board of Trustees, 2018-present, Chair, 2021-2022, Immediate Past Chair, 2023-present
  • N.C. Commission on Indigent Defense Services, Commissioner, 2016-present
  • Mecklenburg County Teen Court, Judge and Lawyer Trainer, 1998-present
  • Charlotte Symphony, Board of Directors, 2008-2018, Chair, 2014-2016
  • Mecklenburg County Bar, Board of Directors, 2012-2014; Diversity & Inclusion Committee, 2016-2019
  • Western District of North Carolina, Federal Defender, Board of Directors, 2008-2012
  • United Family Services, Board of Directors, 2002-2008, Chair, 2007