The Securities Enforcement Group represents firms and individuals facing securities enforcement and other related regulatory investigations. We also conduct time-sensitive internal investigations of potential wrongdoing for our clients, as well as evaluate possible claims under federal and state securities laws. Our attorneys regularly represent clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the New York Stock Exchange, state attorneys general and regulators, the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and federal and state bank regulators. Our lawyers have been recognized as leading practitioners for securities regulation and enforcement by Chambers USA and, in 2011, won the Chambers USA Award for Excellence.
The Securities Enforcement Group includes former senior enforcement staff of the SEC and FINRA and former senior prosecutors from the Department of Justice. Our lawyers have represented clients in every major securities enforcement initiative undertaken by the SEC and DOJ in the last decade, including the subprime and credit crises, auction rate securities, accounting irregularities, short selling and market manipulation, options backdating, mutual fund trading, hedge fund enforcement issues, and investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. With decades of experience in securities enforcement and unparalleled credibility with regulators, our attorneys are adept at counseling clients in advance of a crisis to avoid enforcement action and minimize the impact of any regulatory challenge.
Securities enforcement investigations are often just one aspect of a problem facing our clients. Our Securities Enforcement lawyers work closely with lawyers from our Securities Regulation and Corporate Governance Group to provide expertise regarding parallel securities regulation, corporate governance, and securities trading issues. The Enforcement Group also works closely with lawyers in our Securities Litigation, White Collar Defense and Crisis Management Groups to provide seamless and cost-effective representation meeting all of our clients' needs.
Our Securities Enforcement experience encompasses the entire spectrum of matters addressed by regulators and law enforcement agencies, including numerous confidential representations that were successfully resolved without any government charges.
Public Companies, Financial Institutions and Their Officers and Directors. We have represented a wide variety of public companies, including bank holding companies and other financial services firms and their officers and employees in many investigations by the SEC and DOJ. and FINRA. We have represented companies and their senior officers in investigations involving credit default swaps, public disclosures, financial statements, foreign bribery, public and private securities offerings and disclosure issues, as well as securities trading by officers and employees.
Broker / Dealers. We regularly represent brokerage firms, banks and their employees and other associated persons before the SEC, FINRA and other regulatory and self-regulatory organizations, and before state and federal prosecutors, in connection with investigations of a wide variety of potential securities law and rule violations. We have represented many of the nation's largest firms, including market makers, in investigations involving insider trading, registration, market manipulation, supervisory failures, suitability issues, options trading practices and municipal securities underwriting. We also represented the NASD and its officers in an investigation of its trading rules and disciplinary procedures by the SEC and the Antitrust Division of DOJ.
Accountants and Auditors. We regularly represent international accounting firms, independent public accountants, auditors and audit committees in investigations involving allegations of accounting irregularities and financial misconduct. We have represented the "big four" accounting firms and audit partners, as well as public company accounting and financial reporting personnel, in investigations involving financial reporting and audit irregularities, the use of special purpose entities, revenue recognition, bill-and-hold transactions and inventory accounting.
Investment Managers and Hedge Funds. We regularly represent investment managers and directors of hedge funds and registered investment companies in SEC and other enforcement and internal investigations. We have represented large hedge funds and their advisers in some of the Commission' s most significant hedge fund related enforcement matters involving valuation, allocation of investment opportunities, insider trading, expense allocation, market manipulation and compliance with Regulation SHO. In addition, we have represented major mutual fund complexes in investigations of market timing and late trading.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We have represented clients in SEC and DOJ investigations involving allegations of improper payments and books and records violations of the FCPA since the inception of the law. In addition, our attorneys regularly advise clients on internal investigations involving suspected violations of the FCPA, as well as the establishment and implementation of effective FCPA compliance programs and due diligence advice related to corporate transactions. We also have served as an independent monitor appointed by the government to oversee a company's compliance with a deferred-prosecution or non-prosecution agreement with the DOJ or SEC.
Internal Investigations. We regularly conduct sensitive internal investigations of potential wrongdoing for corporations, board audit committees, special committees and general counsels. While proceeding with dispatch and discretion, we thoroughly gather and analyze data and conduct interviews of key employees to evaluate potential claims of securities fraud, foreign bribery, insider trading, breaches of fiduciary duty and accounting irregularities. We make independent assessments and recommendations to our clients, recognizing that early and aggressive crisis management can enhance a corporation's credibility with law enforcement officials, regulators and the investment and eliminate or mitigate the corporation's exposure.
Attorneys in the Securities Enforcement Practice Group
- Barry Goldsmith, co-head of the practice group, served as head of enforcement of National Association of Securities Dealers (since renamed FINRA), the primary private-sector regulator of the country’s securities industry. Prior to his 10-year tenure at NASD, Mr. Goldsmith served as Chief Litigation Counsel at the SEC in Washington, DC, where he was responsible for all enforcement litigation brought by the agency. Since joining the firm in 2006, Mr. Goldsmith has been ranked by Chambers USA as one of the leading practitioners for securities regulation and enforcement. In 2009, he was recognized as a “top litigation star” in Institutional Investor’s Benchmark Litigation Guide.
- Mark Schonfeld, co-head of the practice group, joined the firm in Fall 2008, following a 12-year career with the SEC. For the last four years, he served as Director of the 400-person New York Regional Office, the largest of the SEC's regional offices. As head of the New York office, Mr. Schonfeld led some of the Commission’s most important actions, including an industry-wide investigation of fraudulent accounting by insurance and reinsurance companies and a nationwide investigation of mutual fund trading practices. Investigations overseen by Mr. Schonfeld resulted in many of the Commission's landmark cases and led to recovery for investors of over $3 billion.
- John Sturc, co-head of the practice group, served as an associate director of the Enforcement Division of the SEC for six years and was the Division's deputy chief litigation counsel for two years. Previously, he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Mr. Sturc has been ranked by Chambers USA as one of the leading practitioners for securities regulation and enforcement.
- Rob Blume served for over seven years as a federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice.
- Joel Cohen served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, supervising the Business/Securities Fraud Unit, as the first Department of Justice representative to the French Ministry of Justice and as a fellow to OECD in connection with the landmark 1998 anti-corruption convention.
- Doug Cox is a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States. He regularly advises major accounting firms on compliance with SEC and PCAOB rules pertaining to the rights and responsibilities of independent public accountants.
- George Curtis served as Deputy Director of Enforcement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He joined the Commission's staff as Regional Director of the SEC's Denver regional office where he was responsible for the staff's enforcement and examination work over a seven state region. In 2008, he was named Deputy Director of the Division of Enforcement and continued in that role until becoming Special Advisor to the Director in September, 2009. As Deputy Director of Enforcement, Mr. Curtis worked closely with the staff nationwide in responding to the financial crisis and in developing and supervising the staff's investigations and recommendations to the Commission.
- Lee Dunst served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York for five years.
- Michael Farhang served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, including three years as an Honor Program Attorney at the Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. He also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California.
- Douglas Fuchs served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California for seven years, including serving as Deputy Chief of the Major Frauds Section, representing the government in nine jury trials and handling multiple investigations involving complex white collar crime, including securities, accounting and investor frauds. In private practice, he has extensive experience in representing companies and employees in SEC investigations and related litigation.
- Amy Goodman was Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and is the Editor-in-Chief of Insights: The Corporate and Securities Law Advisor.
- Mark Kirsch is Co-Chair of the firm's Litigation Practice Group. Mr. Kirsch served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, focusing on complex financial crimes. In 1994, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno awarded Mr. Kirsch the Justice Department Director’s Award for Superior Achievement as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
- Brian Lane was the Director of the SEC's Division of Corporation Finance for four years. During his 16-year tenure with the SEC, he served as counsel to Chairman Arthur Levitt.
- Randy Mastro served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and later as Deputy Mayor of New York City during the Giuliani Administration.
- John Olson was chair of the Committee on Federal Regulation of Securities of the American Bar Association and served on the legal advisory board of the New York Stock Exchange.
- Amy Rudnick served as the Director of the Office of Financial Enforcement at the Department of the Treasury. She was Treasury's leading expert on Bank Secrecy Act and domestic and international money laundering matters.
- George Schieren previously served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, then the largest broker-dealer in the U.S. Before that, he served as Chief of Branch Enforcement and then Assistant Regional Administrator of the New York Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Orin Snyder served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in the Securities Fraud and Organized Crime Units and as Chief of the Narcotics Unit.
- Jim Walden served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for nine years.
- Joe Warin is a former Special Prosecutor for the District of Columbia Superior Court and a former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, where he tried more than 50 jury trials and received a Special Achievement Award from the Attorney General.
- Alexander Southwell served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in the Securities Fraud Unit where he tried a recent high-profile accounting fraud case, among many other significant securities fraud matters.
- Lawrence Zweifach served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, holding various leadership positions, including Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, before becoming Chief of the Criminal Division.