United States Attorney Bill Nettles leaving position for private practice in Columbia

Bill Nettles (

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Unites States Attorney for the District of South Carolina Bill Nettles will leave office effective Wednesday.

His final official act as United State Attorney will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Hollings Courthouse in Charleston, where he will address the drug court program that he and Federal Judge Bruce Hendricks started.

Nettles will now open a private law practice focusing on "white collar" defense, criminal defense, cases under the federal Whistleblower/False Claims Act, personal injury and general civil litigation. His office will be located in Columbia at 2008 Lincoln Street.

"I am extremely proud of the progress that our district made over the past six years," Nettles said. "The office is staffed and positioned to continue to build on a national reputation for innovation and efficiency in serving the citizens of South Carolina."

Nettles refocused the district's efforts and resources toward prosecuting criminal public corruption and fraud during his tenure. In the process, both the number of staff lawyers focusing on this area and their pending case load more than doubled.

Nettles also concentrated the district on pursuing civil cases of false claims and whistleblower cases involving fraud against the government involving Medicare, Department of Defense and other federal contracts, by increasing the number of staff lawyers assigned to this area from two to seven. This was more than any other district in the Southeast.

As a result of his focus on government fraud, South Carolina ranked near the top among the 93 districts nationally for financial recoveries from false claims, whistleblower cases in every year that Nettles was in office and was one of only three whose prosecutions resulted in recoveries of more than $95 million to the U.S. Treasury annually.

The district earned national acclaim for its work. Former Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to South Carolina in 2014 to observe the district's programs, as did Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and US Attorneys from throughout the country. Stories by The Wall Street Journal, NBC's "Dateline" and the Huffington Post featured the office's innovative and groundbreaking work.

Nettles is a graduate of The Citadel and earned his law degree at The Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, PA.

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