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Enforcement 2019: Perspectives from Government Agencies

Speaker(s): Alixandra Smith, Avi Gesser, Brian Kidd, Charu Chandrasekhar, Christopher Cestaro, Christopher Kelly, Clark Russell, Colleen P. Mahoney, Damian Williams, Danae Serrano, Daniel Michael, Dixie L. Johnson, Geof Hobday, Geoffrey F. Aronow, Jeffrey P. Ehrlich (Invited), Joan E. McKown, Katherine Landy, Katherine R. Goldstein, Linda Chatman Thomsen, Marc P. Berger, Mark D. Cahn, Matthew B. Rowland, Matthew H. Baughman, Matthew Levine, Michael A. Conley, Neel Chopra, Richard D. Owens, Richard T. Jacobs, Robert A. Cohen, Sarah Choi, Susan Schroeder, Whitman Knapp
Recorded on: May. 8, 2019
PLI Program #: 250560

Alixandra Smith is the Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Section at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (“EDNY”).  She has investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of criminal matters against both individuals and entities, including fraud involving publicly-traded companies, market manipulation, insider trading, healthcare fraud, tax crimes, money laundering, cyber-enabled crime and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).  Alix is also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School.

During her time at the Office, Alix has worked on significant white collar cases.  For example, Alix was the co-lead prosecutor on the case United States v. Martin Shkreli and Evan Greebel, in which a pharmaceutical executive and his attorney were charged with securities fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and securities fraud conspiracy in connection with four complex fraud schemes.  Both defendants were tried and convicted in separate trials lasting a combined total of 17 weeks in 2017.  In addition, Alix led the Office’s team that, along with the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, investigated and prosecuted United States v. Odebrecht and United States v. Braskem, collectively one of the largest foreign bribery cases in history.  In that case, Brazilian-based companies Odebrecht and Braskem pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA for their roles in a bribery scheme that involved payments of close to a billion dollars over a 15-year period to foreign government officials in Brazil and twelve other countries to obtain and retain business in those countries.  Alix was also the lead criminal prosecutor for United States v. AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group, in which a subsidiary of a major pharmaceutical company pled guilty to a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act for the illegal distribution of misbranded oncology drugs, and paid a total of $885 million in criminal and civil penalties. 

Prior to joining the Office, Alix was an associate at two law firms in New York; completed clerkships with the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Honorable Faith S. Hochberg, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey; and served as an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School.  She graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School.




Brian Kidd is the Chief of the Market Integrity & Major Frauds Unit, in the Fraud Section of DOJ’s Criminal Division. In this position, Brian supervises roughly 40 attorneys in investigating and prosecuting securities, commodities, government procurement, financial institution, and consumer and regulatory fraud cases.

Brian has twice received the Assistant Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award. Brian received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and his J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, magna cum laude. After working in private practice, Brian clerked for the Hon. Aida M. Delgado-Colon, United States District Court Judge for the District of Puerto Rico and, in 2009, became a criminal Assistant United States Attorney in the same district. As an AUSA in Puerto Rico, Brian primarily prosecuted violent crimes, international drug trafficking crimes, and organized crime and RICO offenses. Brian joined the Criminal Division in 2012, serving for three years as a Trial Attorney in the Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., where he successfully prosecuted numerous government officials, including sixteen police officers for various crimes, including RICO, robbery, and extortion. In 2015, Brian joined the Fraud Section as a member of the Market Integrity and Major Frauds Unit, then known as the Securities and Financial Fraud Unit.

Charu Chandrasekhar is an Assistant Regional Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement and leads the Division’s Retail Strategy Task Force, which develops data-driven, targeted initiatives to identify large-scale misconduct impacting retail investors.  Ms. Chandrasekhar previously was a Senior Advisor and Senior Counsel in the Division of Enforcement’s Market Abuse Unit, where she worked on numerous insider trading cases involving corporate insiders, broker dealers, and hedge funds; multiple matters involving violations of the federal securities laws by exchanges, dark pools and other trading venues, including the Commission’s largest settlement against a dark pool and one of the Commission’s largest stock exchange settlements, and several cyber investigations.  Ms. Chandrasekhar joined the SEC after working as a litigator at a law firm in New York and serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Ms. Chandrasekhar received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from Yale University. 

Christopher Cestaro is the Chief of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit within the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, which is responsible for all FCPA investigations and prosecutions initiated and charged by the Department.  Between January 2017 and July 2019, Chris served as an Assistant Chief in the FCPA Unit, and Chris served as a trial attorney in the FCPA Unit from 2014 through January 2017.  Prior to joining the FCPA Unit, Chris worked as a Trial Attorney in the Fraud Section’s Health Care Fraud Unit, where he prosecuted Medicare fraud cases.  Before becoming a prosecutor, Chris worked at an international law firm and as a compliance counsel at a multinational corporation.  Chris graduated from the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Christopher Kelly serves as the Senior Vice President of Sales Practice Enforcement within FINRA’s Enforcement Department.  As Senior Vice President, Mr. Kelly oversees the work of the Enforcement Staff in 14 FINRA District Offices throughout the country.  He joined FINRA in 2014 and served as Chief Counsel in FINRA’s North Region until early 2018.

Prior to joining FINRA, Mr. Kelly served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.  In that role, Mr. Kelly supervised more than 35 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Office’s white-collar units, including Economic Crimes, National Security, and Cybercrime. 

Prior to his promotion to the position of Deputy Chief, Mr. Kelly served as the Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he oversaw the Office’s prosecution of complex economic crimes, including crimes involving insider trading, securities fraud, tax evasion, corporate fraud and embezzlement.  Mr. Kelly also served as the lead prosecutor on numerous criminal prosecutions.

Mr. Kelly graduated from Duke University and Harvard Law School.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was an associate at the law firm Dechert LLP.  Mr. Kelly also clerked for the Honorable Joseph E. Irenas, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of New Jersey.

Clark Russell is the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Internet and Technology at the New York State Attorney General’s Office.  The Bureau is committed to protecting consumers from online threats and has brought a number of ground-breaking cases involving internet and technology issues.  Clark’s investigations included Secure Our Smartphones, where the office convinced smartphone manufacturers to install a “kill switch” in their smartphones; Operation Clean Turf, the largest investigation into companies flooding the Internet with fake positive reviews; and Operation Child Tracker, the largest state AG investigation of violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by major child brand websites, and a well-known ad network.  Clark oversees the office’s data breach notification program, and secured numerous record-setting results in data breach cases.  He is also the principal draftsperson of the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act ("SHIELD Act") which overhauled New York State’s data security and notification, establishing new and unprecedented safeguards of personal data.

Colleen P. Mahoney heads the firm's Securities Enforcement practice, and regularly represents financial services firms, corporations, their boards, board committees, officers, directors and employees in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other law enforcement investigations.

Ms. Mahoney assists management and boards of directors performing internal inves­tigations, often advising clients on preventive and remedial measures before and after securities-related issues arise.

Ms. Mahoney has been the lead attorney representing many of the company boards and individuals embroiled in signature SEC investigations. Her clients have included many well-known U.S. and foreign companies. As is frequently the case with SEC enforcement matters, the biggest victories are the ones that never become public – the government investigations and inquiries that are put to rest before charges are filed or an indictment is issued, or even before a public disclosure of the government interest. Ms. Mahoney has succeeded in bringing a number of matters to a close in those circumstances.

Prior to joining Skadden, Ms. Mahoney spent 15 years in increasingly senior positions with the SEC, serving as acting general counsel of the agency and as deputy director of the division of enforcement. During her tenure at the SEC, Ms. Mahoney helped manage a civil law enforcement program that addressed a wide range of issues, including financial fraud and disclosure, asset management issues, derivatives and insider trading.

Ms. Mahoney frequently lectures on securities regulatory and enforcement issues at seminars and conferences in the United States and abroad.

Ms. Mahoney has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The International Who's Who of Corporate Governance Lawyers, Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America and The Best Lawyers in America. Since 2012, she has been recognized as one of Benchmark Litigation's "Top 250 Women in Litigation" and she also was named to the shortlist of the nation's top women regula­tory lawyers by Chambers USA (2012). Additionally, Ms. Mahoney was included in Washingtonian Magazine's 2013 "Best Lawyers" list.


Damian Williams is the Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  Prior to assuming that position, Mr. Williams investigated and prosecuted a wide array of significant securities fraud and public corruption offenses and tried over a dozen cases to verdict. 

Mr. Williams holds degrees from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and Yale Law School.  He served as a law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens at the United States Supreme Court and Judge Merrick B. Garland at the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Danae Serrano was named the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Ethics Counsel in March 2019. She previously served as Acting Ethics Counsel since December 2018.

Ms. Serrano joined the SEC in 2010 as an Assistant Ethics Counsel, and has served as the Deputy Ethics Counsel and Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official since 2013. Ms. Serrano also served as the Agency’s Acting Chief Compliance Officer until August 2018.

Before joining the SEC, Ms. Serrano served as an attorney in the General Counsel’s Office of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), where she advised on government ethics and administrative law matters. Prior to PBGC, Ms. Serrano served as an attorney and ethics official in the United States Air Force, Office of the General Counsel.

Ms. Serrano received her law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she was an Executive Editor of the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal. She received her B.A. in History from Yale University.

Dixie Johnson represents businesses and individuals in securities enforcement investigations and conducts internal investigations for corporate board committees and companies. As a partner on our Securities Enforcement and Regulation team and our Special Matters and Government Investigations team, Dixie serves as Deputy Practice Group Leader for Government Matters, a collection of ten government-facing practices within our firm.  She appears regularly before the SEC, DOJ, FINRA, PCAOB and other federal and state authorities. Since she joined King & Spalding in early 2014, the government has closed almost thirty investigations without charging Dixie's clients.

Dixie brings to her clients solid judgment and strategic insight from over 30 years of experience in representing public companies, financial institutions, investment managers, broker-dealers, public accounting firms, boards of directors and boards of trustees, law firms, corporate officers and others. She is widely recognized as a legal industry leader in securities enforcement, regulatory compliance, corporate governance and crisis management.

Board committees call on Dixie to investigate accounting and disclosure-related whistle-blower allegations and look to her for guidance in times of crisis.  She regularly interacts with lead directors, presiding directors, and non-executive board chairs from many of the largest companies in the world. She is a Fellow of the American College of Governance Counsel and served for five years as a member of the Lead Director Network, regularly interacting with lead directors, presiding directors, and non-executive board chairs from many of the largest companies in the world.

Public companies and regulated entities seek Dixie's representation in complex securities-related government investigations. C-Suite officers and other professionals look to Dixie for representation in internal and SEC or other investigations when their careers are on the line. She is a lawyer's lawyer, representing law firms and lawyers under scrutiny. She analyzes lessons learned and especially enjoys counseling clients on how to avoid problems in the future.

Chambers USA, Legal 500, Benchmark, Who’s Who, Best Lawyers and others all consistently rank Dixie as a leading lawyer, and Chambers included our practice on the 2017 short list of firms for Securities and Financial Services Regulation. In 2017, Chambers wrote that Dixie “wins praise across the board for her ‘terrific relationship with the SEC’” and noted her “expert, broad-based enforcement practice.” Dixie also has served in multiple leadership roles within the American Bar Association, including as co-Chair of the Fellows Committee, Business Law Section Chair and as Chair of the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Legal Aid Society of Washington, D.C. and of the Board of Advisors for the SEC Historical Society. Before becoming a lawyer, Dixie served for six years as a public school teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Geof Hobday is the Director of the Division of Investigations within the Office of Enforcement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Geof has been with the Commission ten years and was both a branch chief and a line attorney before assuming his current position in December 2016.  Geof also served as a legal advisor to FERC Chairman Norman Bay in 2016.

Geof graduated magna cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1994. After graduation, he served as an energy regulatory attorney at Long Aldridge & Norman and Hogan & Hartson before joining FERC in 2009.

Geoffrey Aronow is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Sidley Austin LLP.  He is a former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) General Counsel as well as Chief Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the SEC’s Office of International Affairs (OIA), and Director of Enforcement at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  His extensive experience in private practice includes:

  • Representing parties in investigations and adjudicatory proceedings before the SEC, CFTC, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other federal financial regulatory agencies;
  • Participating in rulemakings and other matters before administrative agencies in connection with policy issues and initiatives, particularly with regard in international regulatory issues;
  • Advising on compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements;
  • Litigation in federal courts, at both trial and appellate levels, under the federal securities and commodities laws and other statutes, as well as constitutional and civil rights matters;
  • Formulating and executing strategy for legislative initiatives, forming coalitions, providing analysis of legislative alternatives, drafting materials for legislative hearings and meetings, and
  • Advising clients in connection with Congressional investigation and oversight hearings.

As SEC General Counsel, Geoffrey served as the chief legal officer of the Commission.  As OIA Chief Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor, Geoffrey provided legal and policy advice to the OIA Director and served as legal advisor to OIA. He oversaw the coordination of OIA input on international practices relevant to rulemakings, SEC and staff interpretive guidance and policy development.  Geoffrey also served as Senior Counsel to Chair Mary Jo White during his tenure at the SEC.

From 1995 to 1999, as CFTC Director of Enforcement, Geoffrey oversaw its division responsible for investigating and prosecuting civil violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations.

Geoffrey was listed in The National Law Journal’ s “Governance, Risk and Compliance: Trailblazers & Pioneers 2014” and was selected as a Leading Lawyer in Derivatives Law by The Best Lawyers in America in 2010-2012 and 2017, and a Top Rated Securities & Corporate Finance and Securities Litigation Lawyer in Washington, DC. in Super Lawyers for 2010-12 and 2017-18.

JD, Yale Law School, 1981; BA, Yale College, 1976 (with distinction, summa cum laude, phi beta kappa)

Selected Publications:

  • “Projections Of The Imagination: When Is A Token Actually Delivered?” 38 Futures & Derivatives Law Reporter 11 (Jan. 2018)
  • “Enforcement Risk: The Long Length of the CFTC’s Reach,” NY Business Law Journal (Winter 2015)
  • “10 Things You May Have Missed In Proposed Regulation AT,” Law360 (Dec. 21, 2015)
  • Co-author, “CFTC Asserts Jurisdiction Over Bitcoin Derivatives,” FinTech Law Report (Nov./Dec. 2015)
  • “The CFTC’s Not-So-Hidden Message: Traders Beware,” (Oct. 3, 2015)
  • “Back to the Future: The Use of Administrative Proceedings for Enforcement at the CFTC and the SEC,” 35 Futures & Derivatives Law Reporter 1 (Jan./Feb. 2015)
  • Co-author, “Chapter 4: Auditors Responsibilities and the Law,” A Guide to Forensic Accounting
  • Investigation, 2nd Edition (May 2011)
  • “What Constitutes ‘Manipulation’ or ‘Disruptive Practices’ After Dodd-Frank? A Difficult Set of Standards for Traders to Live By Gets More Difficult,” 30 Futures & Derivatives Law Report No. 9 (Sept. 2010)

Jeff Ehrlich joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July 2011 and manages investigations and litigation in the Bureau’s four regional offices. 

Before joining the Bureau, Jeff served as a trial attorney at the United States Department of Justice, where he defended the United States in tort litigation, including suits seeking to hold the government liable for losses caused by Hurricane Katrina and Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Before that, Jeff served as an assistant county attorney for Miami-Dade County and as an associate at Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C. Jeff began his career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable James Lawrence King, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Jeff received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.

Joan McKown has more than 30 years of experience in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement and financial regulatory matters including investigations, exams, internal investigations, and disputes throughout the United States. She has in-depth knowledge of investigatory issues relating to financial fraud, corporate disclosure, corporate governance, accounting, compliance, private equity, FCPA, broker dealer, investment adviser, investment companies, and insider trading. Joan represents corporations, and financial services firms, and their officers, directors, and employees, counseling them to avoid regulatory scrutiny, and when necessary, resolving matters on the best terms possible.

Prior to joining Jones Day in 2010, Joan was the longest serving chief counsel in the Division of Enforcement at the SEC, where she played a key role in establishing enforcement policies and worked closely with Commission and senior SEC staff. Joan literally wrote the book on SEC enforcement when she oversaw creation of the first version of the SEC Enforcement Manual. As chief counsel, she led hundreds of Wells meetings and settlement negotiations. At Jones Day, Joan has extensive experience submitting persuasive Wells submissions, having reviewed thousands of such submissions while on the SEC staff.

Joan is the president-elect of the board of trustees of the SEC Historical Society. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the board of trustees of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. She frequently speaks and writes on SEC enforcement related topics.

Katherine Steele Landy is Associate General Counsel and Vice President in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Enforcement, Litigation, Police, Investigations and Corporate Affair’s Division.  In this capacity, she advises the Reserve Bank’s financial institution Supervision Group on unsafe or unsound practices and violations of law uncovered during the bank examination process, and leads regulatory enforcement investigations into such practices and violations, with a focus on issues relating to anti-money laundering, economic sanctions, and market manipulation.  Ms. Landy was involved in the Federal Reserve’s recent investigations into foreign exchange rate manipulation and OFAC sanctions violations, which resulted in public enforcement actions and significant civil money penalties.  

Before joining the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Ms. Landy was a litigation associate at the law firm Davis Polk and Wardwell. 

Ms. Landy holds a Juris Doctorate from the New York University School of Law, cum laude, and a B.A. in political science from Haverford College. 

Key Experience

  • Regularly advises companies, boards of directors and individuals facing high-stakes investigations by the DOJ, SEC and other regulators.
  • Counsels clients on sensitive internal investigations.
  • Served as Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.


Katie represents banks, private investment funds, corporations and their senior executives in investigations and enforcement proceedings arising under the federal securities and commodities laws. 

An experienced trial lawyer, Katie’s practice builds on nearly 12 years of experience as a federal prosecutor where she served in several significant leadership roles. After joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in 2004, she prosecuted a wide range of securities fraud cases, among others, and was promoted to Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force in 2015 after serving as Deputy Chief for one year, and before that Co-Chief of the General Crimes Unit for two years.

During her nearly three years as Chief, Katie supervised a team of approximately 20 senior prosecutors in connection with some of the most complex and high-profile white collar and securities matters in the country. She led all aspects of the unit’s work from investigation through prosecution, spanning a broad range of matters, including:

  • Accounting and disclosure fraud
  • Insider trading
  • Market manipulation
  • Mismarking of complex products
  • Corporate fraud
  • Fraudulent investor schemes.

Notable prosecutions brought under her leadership include a professional gambler charged with trading on inside information obtained from a board member of a publicly traded company; insider trading charges against individuals for hacking major New York law firms; corporate executives charged with honest services fraud; a hedge fund portfolio manager charged with trading on government secrets obtained from a political consultant; a hedge fund portfolio manager charged with the mismarking of illiquid fund assets; accounting fraud charges of an executive who manipulated a significant non-GAAP metric; and senior executives charged with a multi-year accounting fraud scheme at a publicly traded digital media company, as well as the market manipulation of the company’s stock. She also supervised the unit’s trials and appeals.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Katie was an accomplished trial lawyer and argued numerous appeals in the Second Circuit. Among the high-profile cases she tried were U.S. v. Mandell, et al. (a $100 million market manipulation and investor fraud, which resulted in a 12-year sentence) and U.S. v. Ebbers (public company accounting fraud by the CEO of WorldCom, which resulted in a 25-year sentence). As Chief of the General Crimes Unit, she supervised the office’s new Assistant U.S. Attorneys, numerous investigations and dozens of trials.

Katie is a member of the Bharara Task Force on Insider Trading, a working group composed of eight leading experts on insider trading commissioned to develop proposals to update and improve the clarity of federal insider trading laws. Led by former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the group issued its report and recommendations earlier this year. (Click here to learn more.)

Katie is ranked by Chambers USA, where she is noted for her “strong reputation” and her “broad criminal defense practice” and where clients have described her as a “really excellent lawyer — very levelheaded, so smart and really able to get into the details.”

Katie received her B.A. magna cum laude in political science from Duke University, and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School where she was co-chair of the Harvard Law Review’s Supreme Court Issue. From 2000 to 2001, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore in the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Representative Work

  • Conducted an investigation on behalf of an audit committee of the board of directors of a publicly traded media company in connection with allegations concerning allegedly false and misleading statements regarding recent M&A activity.*
  • Represented an individual in a criminal insider trading case culminating in a trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.*
  • Represented an audit committee of a board of directors of a publicly traded company in connection with DOJ and SEC investigations into the company’s revenue recognition practices, including counseling the audit committee through a multi-year restatement of its financial statements.*
  • Represented a special committee of a board of directors of a publicly traded company in connection with DOJ and SEC investigations into the company’s public statements about the impact on the company’s performance, business and results of a documentary film.*
  • Represented a demand committee of the board formed to respond to related shareholder derivative demands.
  • Represented a special committee and conducted internal investigations for publicly traded companies in connection with allegations concerning corporate culture issues.*
  • Represented individuals and executives in connection with investigations by the DOJ and SEC into alleged insider trading, deceptive trading practices, corruption and FCPA violations.*

    *Matters handled prior to joining Akin Gump.


  • Practising Law Institute’s White Collar Crime 2020: Prosecutors and Regulators Speak, September 2020.
  • “Securities Litigation: The Investigation: Coordinating Requests From Government Regulators,” Practising Law Institute’s Securities Litigation 2020: From Investigation to Trial, July 2020.
  • “Handling a Regulatory Investigation – In House and Outside Counsel Perspective,” Security Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) C&L Society, Webinar, May 2020.
  • “Securities Litigation Institute: SEC Enforcement Today Panel,” New York City Bar Association, New York, January 2020.
  • “FCPA and Anti-Corruption Investigations and Enforcement,” Practising Law Institute’s White Collar Crime 2019: Prosecutors and Regulators Speak, New York, September 2019.
  • “Retail Investors: The New Enforcement Frontier?” Practising Law Institute’s Enforcement 2019: Perspectives from Government Agencies, New York, May 2019.
  • “Securities Litigation: The Investigation: Coordinating Requests from Government Regulators,” Practising Law Institute’s Securities Litigation 2019: From Investigation to Trial, New York, April 2019.
  • “The Rewards of Government Service: Leading Women in the Industry Tell Their Story,” New York City Bar Association, New York, January 2019.
  • “Enforcement Priorities,” Practising Law Institute’s Enforcement 2018: Perspectives from Government Agencies, New York, May 2018.
  • “Securities Litigation: The Investigation: Coordinating Requests from Government,” Practising Law Institute’s Securities Litigation 2018: From Investigation to Trial seminar, New York, April 2018.
  • “Mitigating Insider Trading Risk: Best Practices for Private Fund Managers Amidst the Rulings in Martoma, Newman and Salman,” The Hedge Fund Law Report, New York, November 2017.
  • “Legal and Policy Developments in Enforcement,” Practising Law Institute’s Enforcement 2017: Perspectives from Government Agencies, New York, May 2017.
  • “Securities Litigation: The Investigation: Coordinating Requests from Government Regulators,” at the Practising Law Institute’s Securities Litigation 2017: From Investigation to Trial seminar, New York, April 2017.
  • “Securities Enforcement,” American Bar Association’s 31st Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, Miami, March 2017.

Public Service and Affiliations

  • Member, Women in the Legal Profession: White Collar Crime Subcommittee of the New York City Bar Association.
  • Member, Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s Task Force on Insider Trading.


  • Chambers USA, White Collar Crime & Government Investigations.
  • Legal 500 USA, General Commercial Disputes, Securities Litigation and White Collar.
  • Benchmark Litigation, “Future Star.”


  • “SEC Risk Alert Addresses Private Fund Adviser Conflicts of Interest, Fee and Expense Management, and Policies and Procedures Relating to Material Non-Public Information,” Akin Gump Securities Litigation Alert, July 2, 2020.
  • “Liu v. SEC – Supreme Court Establishes Important Limitations on SEC Disgorgement,” Akin Gump Securities Litigation Alert, June 29, 2020.

Linda Chatman Thomsen, who was the first woman to serve as the Director of the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, is senior counsel in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department and practices in the Washington DC office. Her practice concentrates in matters related to the enforcement of the federal securities laws. She has represented clients in SEC enforcement investigations and inquiries, in enforcement matters before other agencies, including the Department of Justice (various U.S. Attorneys Offices) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, in investigations and inquiries from self-regulatory agencies, including FINRA, and in internal investigations. These matters, which are typically non-public, have covered a broad range of securities related subject matters, including insider trading, foreign corrupt practices, financial reporting, manipulation and regulatory compliance. Her clients have included major financial institutions, regulated entities, public companies and senior executives.

Ms. Thomsen returned to Davis Polk in 2009 after 14 years of public service at the SEC. While there she held a variety of positions and ultimately served as the Director of Enforcement from 2005 through February 2009. During her tenure as the Director of Enforcement, she led the Enron investigation, the auction rate securities settlements, the stock options back dating cases and the expansion of the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act.

She is a graduate of Smith College (A.B. ’76, Government (High Honors)) and Harvard Law School (J.D. ’79).

Marc P. Berger was named Director of the New York Regional Office in December 2017.  The New York office has responsibility for the largest concentration of SEC-registered financial institutions, including more than 4,000 investment banks, investment advisers, broker-dealers, mutual funds, and hedge funds.

Before serving at the Commission, Mr. Berger was global co-head of Ropes & Gray LLP’s Securities and Futures Enforcement Practice.  His practice focused on white-collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement, and internal investigations. 

From 2002 to 2014, Mr. Berger served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, including serving as Chief of that office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  In that role, he supervised the investigation and prosecution of some of the nation’s highest profile financial and investment fraud cases, including the largest crackdown on hedge fund insider trading in U.S. history.  As a prosecutor, Mr. Berger also personally investigated and tried a wide variety of cases involving securities and commodities fraud, as well as other crimes.

Mr. Berger earned his bachelor’s degree with distinction from Cornell University in 1996 and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1999.  Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Richard M. Berman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Mark Cahn’s practice focuses on government and internal investigations, enforcement proceedings and litigation involving financial institutions, individuals and public companies.  Mr. Cahn served as General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 2011–2013.  Mr. Cahn originally joined WilmerHale in 1988, and rejoined the firm after his service at the Commission.

Throughout his legal career, Mr. Cahn has represented public companies, financial institutions, individuals and corporations in internal corporate investigations, enforcement proceedings involving the SEC, FINRA and other regulatory bodies, and in federal and state court litigation. These matters have involved a broad range of issues, including financial reporting, regulatory compliance, accounting and disclosure inquiries, securities and other financial fraud, and insider trading.

In his position as General Counsel to SEC, Mr. Cahn provided legal advice to the Commission and its Divisions on all enforcement, litigation and regulatory matters. He provided legal and policy advice on administrative and operational issues, advised the Commission on the implementation of all rulemakings, and played a key role in the development of the SEC’s Whistleblower program. Mr. Cahn also served as Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Adjudication at the SEC from 2009 to 2011, during which time he advised the Commission on enforcement recommendations and oversaw the litigation, appellate and adjudication functions of the General Counsel’s Office.

Mr. Cahn graduated from Yale Law School with a JD in 1986 and earned is BA from Tufts University in 1983.

Matt Baughman is Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Chair of the Department’s Corporate Enforcement and Accountability Working Group.  He is also the Director of the President’s Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud.  In that capacity, he is responsible for assisting the Task Force in providing guidance for the investigation and prosecution of cases involving fraud on the government, the financial markets, consumers, cyber-fraud, digital currency fraud, money laundering, health care fraud, tax fraud, and other financial crimes.  Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Baughman was a partner in the Government Investigations practice of an international law firm for more than 10 years.  He was also an Enforcement Attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Mr. Baughman graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and clerked for Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  

Matt Rowland is an Assistant Chief Counsel in the Division of Enforcement of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  In that role, he is responsible for advising Division staff on legal and policy issues impacting the Enforcement program and significant enforcement matters.  Mr. Rowland has been with the Commission since 2015. 

Prior to joining the CFTC, Mr. Rowland worked in litigation at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and was a law clerk to the Honorable Roslynn R. Mauskopf on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. 

Mr. Rowland is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School.   

Matthew L. Levine currently serves as Executive Deputy Superintendent for Enforcement for the New York State Department of Financial Services.  In that role Mr. Levine oversees complex investigations involving money laundering, terrorist financing, cybercrime, virtual currency fraud, tax fraud, consumer fraud, and other conduct that constitutes violations of the New York Banking, Insurance and Financial Services laws.  He also oversees major monitorships implemented by the Department at licensed financial institutions, and serves as the main point of contact for other criminal and civil governmental authorities that conduct investigations of financial institutions (both domestic and foreign).  Additionally, Mr. Levine represents the Department in certain high impact litigation.

For nearly a decade, Mr. Levine served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, first in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and later in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.   In the Eastern District, Mr. Levine served as Acting Chief of the Business & Securities Fraud Section, supervising a group of federal prosecutors conducting major securities fraud, computer crime, tax fraud and other white-collar prosecutions.  Mr. Levine began his career at the Justice Department as Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Affairs under Attorney General Janet Reno, where he focused on law enforcement policy and relations with other federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Prior to becoming a federal prosecutor, Mr. Levine worked as a Litigation Associate at the New York City office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he represented corporate and individual clients in civil and criminal matters.  Following his career at DOJ, Mr. Levine was a principal at Fish and Richardson’s New York City office, as well as a founding principal of his own law firm in New York City, where he represented corporate and individual clients in white collar, intellectual property, and complex commercial litigation.

Mr. Levine clerked for United States District Judge Barefoot Sanders in Dallas, Texas. He earned his J.D. at Columbia University School of Law, and a B.A. in Government at Lehigh University.  Mr. Levine has been active in a number of professional societies, including the Federal Bar Council; the New York Council of Defense Lawyers; and the Copyright Society.



Michael A. Conley is the Solicitor at the Securities and Exchange Commission, a position that he has held since October 2015.  In that position, Mr. Conley oversees the agency’s appellate litigation and bankruptcy group.  Between September 2011 and October 2015, he was a Deputy General Counsel and from October 2000 to September 2011, he was a member of the Appellate Group within the Commission’s Office of the General Counsel.  Mr. Conley joined the Commission’s staff from Pillsbury Madison & Sutro LLP, where he had been a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC office. 

Mr. Conley graduated in 1989 from Boston University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review.  He clerked for Judge Abner J. Mikva of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Neel Chopra is Special Counsel to the Director of Enforcement.   In that role, he advises the Director on a wide range of legal and policy matters.  Prior to being appointed Special Counsel, Mr. Chopra led the Division of Enforcement’s Spoofing Task Force.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Chopra worked at the law firm of Lankler Siffert &Wohl LLP, and he served as a law clerk to the Honorable John M. Walker, Jr., on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and, before that, as a law clerk to the Honorable Leonard B. Sand, on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Mr. Chopra is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and New York University School of Law. 

Richard D. Owens is the Chairman of the Litigation Department in the New York office of Latham & Watkins. His practice focuses primarily on representing corporations and individuals in a wide variety of criminal and regulatory investigations and proceedings, as well as conducting internal investigations and advising on compliance matters. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Owens served for more than twelve years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

From 2002 through 2006, Mr. Owens served as the Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. During his tenure as Chief, Mr. Owens supervised a team of approximately twenty prosecutors devoted to investigating and prosecuting securities fraud, commodities fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. Mr. Owens was responsible for coordinating the Office’s criminal prosecutions with parallel civil matters brought by the Securities & Exchange Commission

(SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Reserve Banks, the New York Stock Exchange, the NASD, and state regulators. Mr. Owens directly supervised some of the nation's highest profile prosecutions of corporate fraud and insider trading, including those related to WorldCom, Adelphia Communications, American BankNote, ImClone Systems, Impath, Inc., and Royal Ahold, N.V. Mr. Owens received the Attorney General’s annual Distinguished Service Award in 1996 for the successful prosecution of the Daiwa Bank and again in 2000 for the successful prosecution of Patrick R. Bennett in connection with the then-largest financial fraud in U.S. history. Mr. Owens has tried twelve felony cases, including two of the three largest criminal accounting fraud cases ever prosecuted in the Southern District of New York.

Robert A. Cohen brings 15 years of experience in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement to his work as a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department in Washington DC. As a member of the firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Government Investigations Group, he focuses on representing companies, boards and individuals in regulatory matters and internal investigations.

During his tenure at the agency, Mr. Cohen was involved in significant enforcement actions across a wide range of areas, including securities fraud, insider trading, market manipulation and abuse, financial fraud, cybersecurity and cryptocurrency.

As the first-ever Chief of the Cyber Unit, he supervised investigations concerning cybersecurity events, controls and disclosures at broker-dealers, investment advisers, stock exchanges and public companies, initial coin offerings and other conduct involving digital assets, and cyber-related market manipulations.

Mr. Cohen previously was Co-Chief of the Market Abuse Unit, supervising market structure and trading investigations, including violations by national securities exchanges, dark pools and large brokerdealers, complex insider trading, and large-scale manipulation. 


  • B.S., Policy Analysis, Cornell University, 1994
  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 1997

Sarah Choi is an attorney in the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.  This division of the Commission is responsible for enforcing federal statutes and regulations that pertain to consumer privacy and data security.  Ms. Choi investigates and prosecutes violations of U.S. federal laws governing the privacy and security of consumer information and has worked on FTC enforcement actions under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. 

Prior to joining the FTC, Ms. Choi was a trial attorney in the National Courts Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, and a litigation associate at Venable LLP. 

Susan Schroeder is the Executive Vice President and Head of FINRA Enforcement, responsible for FINRA’s disciplinary actions across the country.  After a recent combination resulting from FINRA360, the organization’s ongoing comprehensive self-evaluation and improvement initiative, FINRA Enforcement is a unified group that handles disciplinary actions related to trading-based matters found through Market Surveillance’s surveillance and examination programs, as well as and other cases referred from other regulatory oversight divisions including Member Regulation, Corporate Financing, the Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence, and Advertising Regulation. 

Prior to becoming the Head of Enforcement in 2017, Susan was Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief of Enforcement at FINRA for six years.  Before joining FINRA, she was a partner in WilmerHale’s Securities Litigation and Enforcement practice, where she specialized in SEC, FINRA, and state investigations and enforcement actions involving all aspects of securities law.  She began her legal career as a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis, specializing in securities litigation.  She received her J.D. from NYU School of Law, her M.A. from the University of California at Davis, and her B.A. from Georgetown University.  She is a member of the New York bar.

Whitman Knapp graduated from the University of Virginia School of law in 1993.  After working at a law firm in New York, Whit joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Rackets Bureau, where he was involved in the investigation and prosecution of criminal enterprises ranging from traditional organized crime to wide-ranging insurance fraud rings. 

Whit subsequently worked in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office.  While there, Whit worked extensively on investigations and prosecutions of individuals and entities connected with bid-rigging and price fixing within the insurance industry. 

Since 2008, Whit has worked at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in the General Crimes and Organized Crime units and, since 2012, in the Business and Securities Fraud Unit, where he currently serves as deputy chief and health care fraud coordinator.  During his time in the Eastern District, Whit has worked on investigations and prosecutions of corporations and individuals within several different industries, most notably the construction industry, and has also worked on and supervised securities fraud, commodities fraud, FCPA, health care fraud and other matters.

Assistant special agent in-charge (ASAC) Richard T. Jacobs leads the Cyber Branch in the FBI’s New York office.  The branch investigates national security and criminal cyber matters and responds to cyber incidents in the New York metropolitan area.  In 2014, Mr. Jacobs helped establish the Financial Cyber Crimes Task Force, a multi-agency initiative targeting cyber crime and technology-based fraud schemes.

Following graduation from the FBI Academy in 1999, Mr. Jacobs was assigned to New York where he investigated a variety of securities fraud matters.  From 2002 to 2005 he played the role of a corrupt stock broker in a market manipulation undercover operation which resulted in the convictions of 49 individuals.  In June 2010, he was selected to lead a Manhattan-based securities fraud unit which handled the Bernard L. Madoff and the Galleon Group insider trading investigations.  He was named assistant special agent in-charge in October 2014.

Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Jacobs was a risk manager on Wall Street.  He holds a Master’s Degree in information technology from Carnegie Mellon University, where he graduated with highest distinction, and an MBA with a concentration in finance. He is also a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Mr. Gesser is a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department.  He represents clients in a wide range of cybersecurity issues, white collar criminal defense matters and investigations, as well as complex commercial litigation.

Recently, Mr. Gesser has represented companies who have experienced cyber events in coordinating with experts to conduct investigations; communicating with regulators, law enforcement, insurers and auditors; assessing various federal, state and international regulatory disclosure obligations; and representing the companies in related civil litigation and regulatory investigations. 

Mr. Gesser has also been advising several companies on their compliance with various cybersecurity regulations, cybersecurity governance issues, cloud migration, data minimization, and cybersecurity risk disclosures. 

From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Gesser was the Counsel to the Chief of the Justice Department, Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

From early 2011 through August 2013, Mr. Gesser was the Deputy Director of the Justice Department, Criminal Division’s BP Oil Spill Task Force.

Mr. Gesser is a frequent speaker on cybersecurity issues and the primary author of the Davis Polk Cyber Breach Center.

Daniel Michael is the Chief of the Complex Financial Instruments Unit of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. At the SEC, Dan supervises Unit members nationwide who investigate violations involving complex financial products, including matters relating to their structuring, sale, trading, and valuation. Dan, who is based in the New York Regional Office, joined the SEC in 2010 and was a staff attorney from 2010 to 2014 and an assistant director from 2014 to 2017.

Prior to joining the SEC, Dan was a law clerk to the Honorable Richard M. Berman in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and before that an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. He is a graduate of New York University and Harvard Law School.