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Hedge Fund and Private Equity Enforcement & Regulatory Developments 2019


Speaker(s): Adam Aderton, Andre E. Owens, Andrea M. Griswold, Andrew B. David, Andrew Weilbacher, Barry R. Goldsmith, Barry W. Rashkover, Colleen K. Lynch, Damian Williams, Deborah R. Meshulam, Gina Petrocelli, Greg Mekanik, J. Gray Sasser, Joan E. McKown, John D. Castiglione, Ken C. Joseph, Kenneth J. Burke, Kristofer K. Swanson, Marc E. Elovitz, Mark K. Schonfeld, Mary Kay Dunning, Michael J. Osnato, Jr., Neel Chopra, Owen Schmidt, Robert A. Cohen, Stephen J. Crimmins, Susan E. Brune, Thomas C. Newkirk
Recorded on: Oct. 1, 2019
PLI Program #: 252919

Adam S. Aderton is Co-Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, a national specialized unit that focuses on misconduct by investment advisers, investment companies, and private funds.  Mr. Aderton joined the SEC as an Enforcement staff attorney in 2008 and became an Assistant Director in 2013.  Before joining the SEC, Mr. Aderton served as a law clerk to Judge J. Frederick Motz of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and worked in the securities litigation and enforcement practice at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.  Mr. Aderton received his undergraduate degree from Truman State University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia.


Andre Owens' practice focuses on securities trading and markets activities. He counsels broker­ dealers, securities exchanges, investment advisers and other clients on a variety of regulatory issues under the rules of the SEC, FINRA and various securities exchanges, including Regulation NMS; Regulation ATS; short sale regulation; automated trading and risk controls and order handling matters. Mr. Owens also provides advice with respect to acquisitions of securities broker-dealers and investment advisers.

Mr. Owens served as a member of the Counseling and Regulatory Policy Group of the SEC's Office of General Counsel from 1992 to 1994, where he provided advice and recommendations on various proposals presented for Commission action, including proposed rulemaking actions, exemptive applications and enforcement matters. From 1994 to 1997, he served as Counsel to SEC Commissioner Steven M.H. Wallman and advised Commissioner Wallman on market regulation and investment adviser issues, as well as on a variety of administrative law issues.

Honors & Awards

Mr. Owens has been recognized as a leader in the financial services regulation: broker dealer field in the 2010-2019 editions of Chambers USA: America's   Leading Law yers in Business.  Mr. Owens is a member of The American Law Institute.

Professional Activities

Mr. Owens is a member of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association's Legal and Compliance Division and the National Association of Securities Professionals. He also taught a course entitled "The Regulation of Securities Professionals and the Securities Markets" at Georgetown University Law Center.

Education

JD, Harvard Law School, 1988

BS, summa cum laude, Providence College, 1985


Andrea M. Griswold has been an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York since 2013. Ms. Griswold is currently a senior member of the Securities and Commodities Task Force where she has served for four years.  She has also served a member of the Public Corruption Unit and as an Acting Deputy Chief of the Narcotics Unit. In her work as part of the Securities and Commodities Task Force, Ms. Griswold has investigated and prosecuted a variety of white collar cases including those involving allegations of market manipulation, accounting fraud, valuation fraud, and insider trading.  Most recently, Ms. Griswold led the criminal investigation that resulted in the 2019 indictment of senior executives at the Abraaj Group, now the world’s largest failed private equity firm, on charges that the defendants inflated the valuation of private equity investments and misappropriated investor funds, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to investor-victims.   Ms. Griswold has also successfully prosecuted several securities fraud trials, including, most recently, the July 2019 conviction of Anilesh (“Neil”) Ahuja, the founder of NYC-based investment firm Premium Point Investments (“PPI”), and Jeremy Shor, a senior trader at PPI, for their participation in a scheme to inflate the net asset value reported to investors for hedge funds managed by PPI, by more than $100 million.  

Ms. Griswold graduated cum laude from Georgetown University and earned her law degree from New York University in 2007. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Ms. Griswold began her legal career at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she worked from 2007 to 2013, primarily on matters in the firm’s White Collar and Government Investigations group.


Andrew Weilbacher is a Senior Specialized Examiner in the Private Funds Unit in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE).  Mr. Weilbacher is also a co-coordinator of the Private Funds Specialized Working Group.  In his role as Senior Specialized Examiner, Mr. Weilbacher participates in private fund adviser examinations throughout the United States.

Prior to joining the SEC in 2012, Mr. Weilbacher was a Vice President at an adviser to funds of hedge funds, fixed-income arbitrage funds, and structured products. In this capacity he was responsible for the operations of the multi-manager finance group, and three collateralized fund obligations.  He was also involved in the operational due diligence and regulatory compliance functions.  Mr. Weilbacher earned his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California at Los Angeles.


Barry Goldsmith is a partner in the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and co-head of the firm’s Securities Enforcement Practice Group and a member of the firm's Securities Litigation Practice and White Collar Defense Practice Groups.  Mr. Goldsmith's practice focuses on the representation of hedge and private equity funds; broker-dealers and other financial institutions; public companies and their employees in SEC, FINRA, and other regulatory matters and in internal investigations.  Mr. Goldsmith joined the firm after serving as head of Enforcement at NASD (now FINRA), the primary private-sector regulator of the country’s securities industry.  Mr. Goldsmith was NASD’s top enforcement official responsible for formulating its national enforcement policy and overseeing investigations and cases. Prior to his 10-year tenure at NASD, Mr. Goldsmith served as Chief Litigation Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he was responsible for all enforcement litigation brought by the agency.

Mr. Goldsmith has consistently been ranked in Band 1 by Chambers USA America's Leading Business Lawyers as one of the top Securities Regulation attorneys nationwide and was named Best Lawyers’ 2016 and 2018 Securities Regulation “Lawyer of the Year” for New York City.

Mr. Goldsmith is a frequent speaker on securities enforcement and regulatory issues at industry, legal, and media sponsored conferences.  He received his law degree in 1975 from Georgetown University Law Center.  He graduated magna cum laude in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1972.


Barry Rashkover is one of three leaders of Sidley’s global Securities and Derivatives Enforcement and Regulatory practice, which received the Chambers USA “Firm of the Year” awards in 2019 and 2016 for Financial Services and Securities Regulation. He also co-heads the Firm’s New York Regulatory and Enforcement Group. A former SEC senior official and veteran regulatory defense lawyer, he represents companies and individuals in enforcement matters brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice, FINRA, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and state attorneys general, among others. Described as an “A-team player” in Chambers USA, Barry counsels investment banks and other broker-dealers, investment advisers, public companies, accounting firms and senior officials. Before joining Sidley, Barry served as co-head of Enforcement and Associate Regional Director for the SEC’s Northeast Regional Office, among other positions. Barry has worked on some of the most significant SEC enforcement matters of the last two decades, including representation of clients in matters involving LIBOR, RMBS, high frequency trading, alleged insider trading and related matters. He regularly advises investment advisers in connection with compliance and conflicts, among other topics. Also a former SEC Senior Trial Counsel, Barry creates novel and effective strategies to coordinate the defense of regulatory investigations with parallel civil litigation and criminal cases. Barry received his J.D. from Cornell Law School and his A.B. from Columbia University.


Damian Williams is the Co-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.


Deborah Meshulam has more than two decades of securities enforcement defense experience trying the full range of cases arising from allegations of securities law violations and related breaches of fiduciary duty.

Deborah represents clients in SEC and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations, securities class actions and derivative lawsuits relating to claims of securities law violations, FCPA violations and counsels clients on compliance, regulatory and corporate governance matters.  She also counsels clients on Dodd Frank whistle blower program matters and represents clients in Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) investigations, FINRA and Exchange proceedings and in Exchange delisting hearings.

Deborah regularly conducts investigations on behalf of public companies or their audit committees, often relating to FCPA questions, accounting issues, alleged securities law violations and employee misconduct. She also regularly advises clients on securities law compliance and litigation avoidance. She has written on securities law issues for legal publications and is a frequent speaker at professional programs on securities-related issues. She also represents clients in rulemaking proceedings and in SEC inquiries from the Divisions of Corporate Finance and Trading and Markets, the Office of Chief Accountant and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.

Deborah's securities practice also includes counselling clients on a wide range of corporate governance, compliance and regulatory matters, including financial reporting and disclosure issues, design and implementation of compliance programs under the securities laws and the FCPA as well as issues faced by brokers/dealers, investment advisers and other regulated entities.


Gina Petrocelli is a Chief Counsel in FINRA’s Department of Enforcement. She oversees a team of attorneys handling actions relating to sales practice, anti-money laundering and other investor protection and regulatory issues. 

Ms. Petrocelli joined FINRA in 2010.  She previously served as a Deputy Regional Chief Counsel for FINRA’s New York Region, and as an Enforcement Director and Senior Counsel. 

Prior to joining FINRA, Ms. Petrocelli was an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP and at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. 

Ms. Petrocelli graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and is a member of the bar in New York. 


Greg Mekanik joined ACA in June 2007. He currently serves as a Managing Director and co-leader of ACA’s Hedge Fund Practice. As a practice leader, Greg coordinates and participates on many complex hedge-fund-related engagements, including forensic testing projects, compliance program reviews, mock SEC inspections, focused reviews, and gap analyses. He also develops customized policies and procedures for and manages and maintains relationships with ACA’s investment adviser and private fund manager clients. Since joining the firm, he has led or participated in over 200 projects, including mock SEC examinations, compliance program reviews, gap analyses, SEC inspection responses, and policy-and-procedure development and review efforts. In addition, Greg manages a significant portion of ACA’s business development efforts related to the Hedge Fund Practice.

Greg earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with a concentration in Investment Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).


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.


John D. Castiglione is Senior Enforcement Counsel in the New York Attorney General’s Investor Protection Bureau. His matters have focused on, among other things, fintech, electronic equities market structure, virtual assets, and other sectors.  He also chairs the Investor Protection Bureau’s Legal Standards and Practices Committee.  Prior to joining the Office of the Attorney General, he practiced for seven years at Latham & Watkins LLP in New York, in its Securities Litigation and Professional Liability group. 


Ken C. Joseph, Esq. is a managing director and Global Leader of Duff & Phelps’ Disputes practice. Ken focuses on serving clients who need informed and proven strategies to successfully navigate a broad spectrum of threats arising from investigations, compliance examinations, litigation, and crisis scenarios. Ken has a unique combination of front-line expertise and experience in U.S. securities law, regulatory compliance, and corporate governance. He served with distinction for a total of over 21 years at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including service as one of the inaugural supervisors in the Division of Enforcement’s specialized asset management unit, and most recently as a senior officer in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. He has investigated, supervised, and resolved numerous complex and high-profile cases involving a wide variety of alleged misconduct by market professionals, individuals, and by public and private entities.    

Ken holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. He also earned B.S., MBA, and post-graduate degrees in Marketing Management and International Finance from St. John’s University, New York. He also completed executive education programs at Georgetown University Law Center (through the SEC), and through Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  Ken is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as the States of New York and Connecticut. He is a frequent speaker at industry panels on matters relating to SEC enforcement and securities law compliance, governance, and risk management and has represented the SEC on several foreign technical assistance missions. He also has substantial experience interacting with U.S. and foreign regulators and law enforcement agencies from the state, federal, and international levels, including those from the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Federal Reserve, and state securities regulators.


Kristofer K. Swanson serves as Practice Leader for CRA’s Forensic Services Practice, helping companies and their counsel reaffirm their commitment to integrity by seeking truth when responding to allegations of fraud, abuse, misconduct, and non-compliance — often in moments of crisis.  These allegations span a broad range of matters, such as accounting irregularities, model errors, money laundering, cybercrime, False Claims Act violations, ABAC/FCPA, health care fraud and abuse, Ponzi schemes, and trade secret thefts.

Assisted by curated teams with deep technical and industry skills, Kris has also served as a regulator-approved monitor under the terms of various settlement and deferred prosecution agreements.

Operating from offices in 9 countries around the world, CRA’s clients include 89% of the Fortune 100 and 99% of the Am Law 100.  Our Forensic Services Practice has been recognized by Global Investigations Review as one of the top 100 investigations practices from around the world, best able to handle sophisticated cross-border government-driven and internal investigations. 

Kris is regularly called upon to present his findings to boards, courts, executive management teams, and government regulators such as the SEC, FDIC, Federal Reserve, and US Department of Health & Human Services. He has testified numerous times on both liability and economic damages.

Kris has also been retained to conduct anti-money laundering “look-back” reviews for financial services institutions; to serve as a court-appointed neutral in theft of trade secret matters; to provide forensic assistance to court-appointed receivers for failed financial institutions; and in the health services space, to lead numerous voluntary self-disclosure engagements.

Kris is a member of various professional associations, including the AICPA, the Illinois CPA Society, and the National Association of Federal Equity Receivers. He is a frequent speaker and author on forensic matters, and he has guest lectured at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and at various Chicago law schools. He is a CPA (licensed in Illinois), a Certified Fraud Examiner, a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, and he is certified in Financial Forensics. He previously was a partner and the Midwest market leader for PwC's Forensic Services practice, where he led forensic engagements and also conducted “shadow investigations” at PwC audit clients.

CRA’s Forensic Services Practice – including our state-of-the art digital forensics, eDiscovery and cyber incident response lab – has been certified under International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001:2013 requirements as part of our industry-leading commitment to our clients and their information security.

Education

  • MBA, Dean’s Honors, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • MS, with Distinction, Accountancy, DePaul University
  • BA, Government, Lawrence University



Marc E. Elovitz is chair of the firm’s Investment Management Regulatory & Compliance Group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He advises private fund managers on running their businesses consistent with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and all other applicable laws, regulations and legal requirements. Marc provides guidance to clients on SEC registration, examination and enforcement matters. He also regularly leads training sessions for investment professionals on complying with insider trading and market manipulation laws, and he has developed and led compliance training sessions for marketing and investor relations professionals. Marc works closely with clients undergoing SEC examinations and responding to deficiency letters and enforcement referrals. He develops new compliance testing programs in areas such as trade allocations and conflicts of interest, and he leads macro-level compliance infrastructure reviews with fund managers, identifying the material risks specific to each particular firm and evaluating the compliance programs in place to address those risks. Marc has a cutting edge practice covering the latest trends of interest to private funds, including blockchain technology and digital assets. He advises on the legal and regulatory considerations involving virtual and digital currency business initiatives and the blockchain technology behind them.

Marc is frequently invited to discuss current industry-related topics of interest at leading professional and trade association events. He has presented on whistleblowing, regulatory and compliance issues for private funds and SEC inspections and examinations of hedge funds and private equity funds, among many other topics. Chambers USA, Chambers Global, The Legal 500 U.S., Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Private Funds Lawyers and New York Super Lawyers have recognized Marc as a leading lawyer. He has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Managed Funds Association’s Outside Counsel Forum, the American Bar Association’s Hedge Funds Subcommittee and the Private Investment Funds Committee of the New York City Bar Association. A recognized thought leader, Marc is regularly interviewed by leading media outlets, including Bloomberg, HFMWeek, HFM Compliance, Compliance Reporter, IA Watch, Private Funds Management and Law360, to name a few. Marc is a co-author of Hedge Funds: Formation, Operation and Regulation (ALM Law Journal Press), the “Protecting Firms Through Policies and Procedures, Training, and Testing” chapter in the Insider Trading Law and Compliance Answer Book (Practising Law Institute) and the “Market Manipulation” chapter in the leading treatise Federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Matthew Bender). He also wrote the chapter on “The Legal Basis of Investment Management in the U.S.” for The Law of Investment Management (Oxford University Press). Marc received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his B.A., with honors, from Wesleyan University.


Mark K. Schonfeld is a litigation partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Co-Chair of Gibson Dunn’s Securities Enforcement Practice Group.  He is also a member of the Crisis Management and the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Groups.

Mr. Schonfeld’s practice focuses on the representation of financial institutions, public companies, hedge funds, accounting firms and private equity firms in investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), States Attorneys General, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other regulatory organizations.  Mr. Schonfeld also conducts internal investigations and counsels clients on compliance and corporate governance matters.

Benchmark Litigation recognizes Mr. Schonfeld as a “Litigation Star,” and he has been ranked as a leading lawyer in Securities Regulation and Enforcement by Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for BusinessChambers highlighted client praise for Mr. Schonfeld’s “invaluable current knowledge of agency practice, procedure and personalities active at the SEC” and noted he is “a very strategic, seasoned professional. He’s measured, thoughtful and incredibly proactive in terms of keeping clients updated. He’s detail-oriented and produces extremely high quality work.”

Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Schonfeld concluded a 12-year career with the SEC, the last four years as the Director of the New York Regional Office, the largest of the SEC’s regional offices.  Mr. Schonfeld oversaw professional staff of nearly 400 enforcement attorneys, accountants, investigators and compliance examiners engaged in the investigation and prosecution of enforcement actions and the performance of compliance inspections of more than 4,000 SEC registered financial institutions in the region.  Mr. Schonfeld led the New York Office through one of the most vibrant and rapidly evolving periods in the history of the SEC and securities law enforcement and brought many of SEC’s major landmark cases dealing with complex accounting fraud, mutual fund trading, hedge fund abuses, foreign bribery, insider trading and market manipulation.

Mr. Schonfeld received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1988 and his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, and with Highest Distinction from the University of Rochester in 1984.  Following law school, Mr. Schonfeld was a law clerk for the Honorable Ellsworth A. Van Graafeiland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Following his clerkship and before joining the SEC, Mr. Schonfeld was a litigator in private practice.

Mr. Schonfeld is a frequent public speaker to legal and industry practitioners and commentator on television and radio, and has participated in international training programs for foreign financial regulators and law enforcement agencies.  He is a past recipient of the SEC Chairman’s Award for Excellence and the Capital Markets Award.  He is a member of the New York and Massachusetts State Bars, the New York State Bar Association and the Committee on White Collar Criminal Litigation, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the Federal Bar Council. 


Mary Kay Dunning is Senior Enforcement Counsel in the New York Attorney General’s Investor Protection Bureau, where she litigates and investigates potential securities fraud.  She is also a member of the Investor Protection Bureau’s Legal Standards and Practices Committee.  Prior to joining the New York Attorney General’s Office in 2018, Ms. Dunning was Of Counsel in the New York office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where her practice included securities and complex commercial litigation, white collar defense and investigations, and global anti-corruption matters.  In 2015, she was one of only four attorneys named a “Rising Star” in the White Collar category by Law360.  Ms. Dunning received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004 and her Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1999.  Following law school, Ms. Dunning served as a law clerk to The Honorable Deborah T. Poritz, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Ms. Dunning is an officer and director of the Fiver Children’s Foundation, a comprehensive youth development organization whose ten-year commitment to children from underserved communities includes mentoring and counseling programs, a character-building residential summer program, and partnerships with schools and community-based organizations.


Michael J. Osnato, Jr., former Chief of the Complex Financial Instruments Unit of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division, is a Litigation Partner and member of the Firm’s Government and Internal Investigations Practice. He focuses on high-stakes regulatory and criminal matters, government investigations, sensitive whistleblower complaints and SEC examination and compliance counseling.

During his tenure at the SEC, Mike led a specialized, nationwide unit of 45 attorneys and former Wall Street professionals in the SEC’s investigations related to complex financial products and practices involving sophisticated market participants. Under Mike’s leadership, the CFI Unit was charged with developing innovative and streamlined methods for monitoring and investigating products and risks that posed a large-scale risk to the securities markets. He supervised investigations and litigations involving the structuring, sale, trading and valuation of derivatives, asset-backed securities and other complex securities by banks, asset managers and public companies, including:         

  • Global financial institution in violations of SEC Customer Protection Rule culminating in historic $415 million penalty
  • Fraud and internal controls cases against traders and global financial institution arising from six billion dollar derivatives trading loss
  • SEC’s first fraud cases against bank issuers of complex derivative products
  • First SEC fraud charges against major credit rating agency
  • Disclosure and controls violations by financial institutions arising from multibillion-dollar regulatory capital overstatements
  • Fraud case against senior-most investment bankers charged for financial crisis-related conduct

At the SEC, Mike was a member of various national leadership Committees, including the Enforcement Division’s Cooperation Committee, which oversees the SEC’s Cooperation Program for entities and individuals subject to SEC investigation. During his tenure on the Cooperation Committee, Mike played a leadership role in developing innovative uses of the Enforcement Division’s Cooperation Program and formulating national policy relevant to the resolution of high-stakes matters. Mike has extensive experience in evaluating the strength of corporate compliance and controls programs, the adequacy and value of corporate and individual cooperation in SEC matters, and has played a lead role in several of the SEC's most prominent settlements involving admissions of wrongdoing.

Throughout his tenure at the SEC, Mike worked in close partnership with multiple domestic and international law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice, FBI, CFTC, Federal Reserve, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, the New York Attorney General's Office, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority.

Mike first joined the SEC’s Enforcement Division in September of 2008 as a staff attorney. Prior to his promotion to Chief of the CFI Unit, he served as Assistant Regional Director in the SEC’s New York Regional Office from 2010 through January 2014, where he supervised a number of prominent financial crisis, accounting fraud and investment adviser investigations. 

Mike frequently speaks at conferences on subjects relating to securities enforcement, regulatory developments and private fund enforcement. He also serves as Visiting Lecturer at a prominent European university on the SEC's regulatory and enforcement processes.

Prior to his tenure at the SEC, Mike was an attorney at two prominent international law firms. He received his J.D. with Honors in 1997 from Fordham Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review, and his B.A. with Honors from Williams College in 1994, where he was a Distinguished Scholar.


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. 


Owen Schmidt is the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Valinor Management, L.P.  Prior to joining Valinor, Mr. Schmidt was the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Falcon Edge Capital, LP.  Before joining Falcon Edge, Mr. Schmidt worked in the New York and London offices of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP.  

Mr. Schmidt is admitted to the bar in New York and is a member of the American Bar Association and the New York City Bar Association, where he serves on the Private Investment Funds Committee.

Mr. Schmidt received his B.S. in Business Economics and Finance from the University of Arizona, and his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.


Robert Cohen was the first Chief of the SEC Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit, which was created in 2017.  Mr. Cohen supervised investigations concerning initial coin offerings and other conduct involving cryptocurrency; hacking to obtain material nonpublic information; cybersecurity events, controls and disclosures at broker-dealers, investment advisers, stock exchanges and public companies; and cyber-related market manipulations.

From 2015 to 2017, Mr. Cohen was Co-Chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit.  Mr. Cohen supervised market structure and trading investigations, including:  violations by national securities exchanges, dark pools, and large broker-dealers; complex insider trading; and large-scale manipulation. 

Mr. Cohen received his J.D. from the New York University School of Law, where he served on the Law Review, and received a B.S. from Cornell University. 


Stephen J. Crimmins is a partner at Murphy & McGonigle, a 50-lawyer securities-focused boutique in New York and Washington.  He defends clients in enforcement matters involving the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial regulators.

Before returning to private practice well over a decade ago, Steve spent 14 years trying cases at the SEC’s Enforcement Division, including 8 years leading its large Trial Unit in prosecuting securities cases in federal courts and administrative proceedings.  Steve is a Brooklyn native, earned his law degree at Columbia, and began his practice at a large New York firm.

Best Lawyers recognized Steve as the “2017 Securities Regulation Lawyer of the Year for New York City,” and Chambers USA recognized him in 2019 a “real leader of the SEC enforcement Bar” and among the top 20 enforcement lawyers nationally.  Steve has chaired the securities law sections of both the Federal Bar Association and the DC Bar.  He has testified three times before Congress on SEC issues, most recently in June 2019, and he regularly speaks on professional panels. 


Susan E. Brune has been consistently recognized for excellence in the practice of law.  Susan focuses her practice on white collar matters, helping individuals and entities through investigations involving the U.S. Department of Justice, the SEC, FINRA and other criminal and regulatory bodies.

Susan has repeatedly warded off indictment and regulatory charges through sound strategic choices, meticulous preparation and forceful advocacy. When cases are brought, she is equally effective. A seasoned trial lawyer, she obtained the acquittal of a Bear Stearns hedge fund manager in a federal jury trial.

In 2010, the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers conferred upon her the Hon. Thurgood S. Marshall Award for Outstanding Criminal Practitioner, an award conferred annually on one practitioner in New York.

After leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office and before founding Brune Law P.C., Susan founded and for 18 years led Brune & Richard LLP, a firm that The New York Times described as “a top-flight New York litigation boutique.”

Susan is a graduate of Harvard Law School.


Thomas C. Newkirk is Co-Chair of the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Practice. Drawing on his 19 years as a senior official with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he represents companies and their leaders in confidential investigations related to such issues as accounting, disclosure, insider trading, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He also counsels corporate boards and board committees with respect to corporate governance and compliance and defends private class and derivative securities actions.

Since 2010, Chambers USA has consistently recognized Mr. Newkirk as one of the country’s leading lawyers in Securities/Regulation/Enforcement Law, and he has been named one of the top securities lawyers in Washington by Washington DC Super Lawyers and Washingtonian magazine every year since 2009. He is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. Mr. Newkirk is a member of the firm’s Securities Practice and Japan Practice.

Since joining the firm in 2004, Mr. Newkirk has represented major public companies, hedge funds, investment advisers, their senior executives, boards and board members in a wide range of Securities and Exchange investigations and related civil litigation.

Before joining the firm, Mr. Newkirk spent 19 years with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, first as Chief Litigation Counsel and then as an Associate Director of the Division of Enforcement where he led the investigations of some of SEC’s most significant cases. During his government service, Mr. Newkirk received numerous accolades, including two Presidential Meritorious Executive Awards, the SEC Chairman’s Award for Excellence, the SEC’s Law and Policy Award, and the SEC’s Distinguished Service Award, among others. He currently serves on the Executive Council of the Federal Bar Association’s Securities Law Committee. Mr. Newkirk writes and lectures frequently on SEC enforcement matters.

Education

  • Cornell University Law School, L.L.B., 1966; With Distinction; Order of the Coif; Board Member, Phi Kappa Phi; Editor, Cornell Law Review
  • Cornell University, B.A., 1964; College of Arts and Sciences, Phi Eta Sigma


As co-chair of Frost Brown Todd’s Blockchain and Digital Currency team, J. Gray Sasser regularly assists clients navigating the emerging regulatory framework governing the application of U.S. securities laws to digital assets and cryptographic tokens.  He counsels investment advisers focused on tokenized assets with respect to fund establishment and compliance.  Besides helping blockchain companies capitalize their business models, including by conducting compliant token offerings, Gray has advised multiple token issuers facing SEC investigations.

In addition to his work for U.S. and international companies developing distributed ledger solutions, Gray regularly advises businesses across a broad range of industries with respect to early stage capital formation concentrating on private securities offerings. Recently, he has taken a lead role in drafting offering documents for regional qualified opportunity zone funds, including those contemplating security token offerings (STOs).

A regular commentator and frequent speaker on regulatory developments affecting the offer and sale of tokenized assets, Gray received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School after receiving a M.Sc. in Economic History from the London School of Economics and graduating from Princeton University.  Prior to joining Frost Brown Todd, where he practices in the firm’s Nashville office, Gray served as Senior Vice President for Congressional Affairs of the Export-Import Bank of the United States during the Obama administration.


Colleen K. Lynch graduated with a B.A. from University of Pennsylvania (1994) and J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1998). Litigation Associate at Reed Smith LLP (1998-2000).  Litigation Associate at Wolf Block Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP (2000-2003).  Colleen served in various roles within the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in the Philadelphia Regional Office from 2003-2013.  Her last role was Assistant Regional Director, in the Market Abuse Unit.  Colleen joined Coatue Management in 2013.


Kenneth J. Burke is the Deputy Chief Compliance Officer of TPG Sixth Street Partners (“TSSP”), which is a global finance and investment business with over $30 billion of assets under management.  Mr. Burke also serves as Chief Compliance Officer of two TSSP-affiliated businesses: TPG Specialty Lending, Inc., which is a specialty finance company that is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TSLX), and TSSP BD, LLC, which is TSSP’s captive broker-dealer.  

Prior to joining TSSP, Mr. Burke was the Chief Compliance Officer at Marble Arch Investments, a $2 billion hedge fund sponsor. Prior to Marble Arch, Mr. Burke worked as an Attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP counseling private fund clients on a variety of regulatory and compliance issues.

Mr. Burke began his career at the SEC in New York, where he spent more than seven years working in the SEC’s investment adviser examination program. While at the SEC, Mr. Burke was detailed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for 18 months to assist in the investigation and prosecution of several complex white collar matters. Mr. Burke graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and cum laude with a B.S. in Finance from the State University of New York at New Paltz.  Mr. Burke serves on the Board of Trustees of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, a non-profit organization that serves more than 2,000 youth ages 5-21 in Jersey City, Hoboken, and neighboring communities in NJ. 


Andrew B. David is a Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Aristeia Capital, L.L.C., where he is responsible for the non-investment aspects of the firm’s business.  In addition, Mr. David serves as the firm’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.  Mr. David joined Aristeia in June 2009.  Mr. David received a B.A., cum laude, in International Affairs from The George Washington University in 1994, and a J.D., cum laude, from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1999.  From 1999 to 2004, Mr. David served as an associate in the New York office of the international law firm Coudert Brothers LLP, where he represented a variety of investment management clients in organizational and operational matters and counseled clients on regulatory issues.  In addition, he advised public and private clients in mergers and acquisitions and private equity investment transactions.  From 2004 to 2009, Mr. David served as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of North Sound Capital LLC, an investment firm headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, focusing on long-short equity strategies and with peak assets under management of approximately $3 billion.  Mr. David is admitted to practice law in New York and Connecticut.