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Storming the Gatekeepers: When Compliance Officers and In-House Lawyers Are at Risk 2019

Speaker(s): Deborah R. Meshulam, Fredric D. Firestone, Gregory Morvillo, Jennifer H. Saperstein, Jessica L. Matelis, Jonathan R. Barr, Joseph K. Brenner, Joshua E. Levine, MaryJeanette Dee, Michael A. Umayam, Ralph DeSena, Richard J. Morvillo, Robert B. Kaplan, Ronald C. Machen, Samantha J. Leventhal, Stefanie J. Sundel, Susan L. Merrill
Recorded on: Sep. 4, 2019
PLI Program #: 253215

Deborah Meshulam is a partner at DLA Piper where she is one of the leaders of DLA Piper’s Securities Enforcement practice.  An experience trial lawyer, Deborah has a broad practice which includes defending clients facing claims of securities law violations, including FCPA and accounting fraud allegations, and conducting cross-border investigations for multinational corporations related to those and other topics. She regularly advises clients on compliance matters and litigation avoidance and counsels them on a wide range of regulatory matters, including the application of the federal securities laws to digital assets. She advises exchanges, digital asset issuers, and regulated entities on these issues.  Deborah has published multiple articles related to the SEC’s regulation of digital assets and other securities law and compliance issues.  She is a sought-after speaker at professional programs on these topics. Deborah has been repeatedly recognized by legal industry publications including most recently by the Legal 500 for her work in Securities Litigation-Defense and Who’s Who Legal Investigations: 2021 as a Global Leader in investigations.  She is a past recipient of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement, run in alliance with the Law Library of Congress.  She is also recognized as a Washington DC Super Lawyer in Securities Litigation.

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Ms. Meshulam served for seven years as Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, a senior level position.  As lead trial counsel, she prosecuted securities enforcement cases, including jury trials, involving complex financial fraud, accounting, corruption, market manipulation, insider trading, sales practice fraud, Ponzi schemes and public offering fraud and disclosure issues.

At DLA Piper, Ms. Meshulam represents and has successfully defended individual and corporate clients in SEC and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations relating to claims of securities law and FCPA violations. She also represents clients in investigations conducted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), FINRA, Congress, state securities authorities, and Exchanges.

She counsels clients on compliance, regulatory and corporate governance matters, including Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd Frank whistle-blower matters.

In her investigations practice, Ms. Meshulam leads and conducts investigations, including cross border investigations, involving a variety of industries and sectors including financial services, defense, energy, consumer, real estate, and healthcare. She has conducted and led investigations involving market manipulation claims, FCPA allegations and accounting fraud claims in China, India, Kazakhstan and Kuwait as well as in Europe. Ms. Meshulam has obtained SEC no-action and DOJ declination decisions in several such matters. In one of her recent matters, she persuaded the SEC to close an accounting fraud investigation against a global corporation with no action. In another recent matter she successfully resolved an SEC investigation involving complex financial products and a number of affiliated financial services companies. 

Ms. Meshulam’s regulatory counselling practice includes advising clients on a wide range of corporate governance 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. 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.

She is an Audit Committee Member of the non-profit organization, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.

Fredric (Rick) Firestone represents corporations, financial institutions and individuals in investigations and enforcement proceedings by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and state securities regulators. He also conducts internal investigations on behalf of management and boards of directors and counsels on corporate governance and compliance matters. In addition, Rick advises US-based companies doing business in international markets on anticorruption and compliance issues. He is the head of the Firm’s SEC Defense Group and co-chairs the Firm’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and International Anticorruption Group.

Previously, Rick was an associate director of the SEC Division of Enforcement, where he supervised complex investigations and enforcement actions and oversaw some of the most important and highest profile matters. He spearheaded the SEC’s investigation and settlements with multiple firms in connection with the collapse of the auction rate securities (ARS) market, which resulted in the return of more than $50 billion to investors. Rick was responsible for enforcement actions in the WorldCom and Enron matters and in all of the SEC’s major program areas. He received the Stanley Sporkin Award, the Division of Enforcement’s highest honor. Rick was also in private practice as a trial lawyer, and served as a judge advocate in the US Navy, where he tried numerous courts-martial, and was appellate defense counsel in espionage and capital murder cases.

Gregory Morvillo is best known for his work shaping insider trading law. His victory before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the landmark insider trading case United States v. Newman propelled him to being one of the most sought-after insider trading defense attorneys in the country. Since that time, he has successfully defended numerous individuals accused of committing insider trading before the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Greg represented Anthony Chiasson in the criminal, appellate and regulatory actions in the above referenced case, all of which resulted in total exoneration. His work for Chiasson led Law360 to note that he “went toe-to-toe with hard-charging U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to win a landmark Second Circuit decision … that raised the bar for prosecuting individuals who are one or more layers removed from sources of confidential information and overturned the conviction of his hedge fund manager client.”

In the wake of Newman, Greg has become immersed in insider trading and securities fraud cases. He has tried numerous insider trading/securities fraud cases to verdict over the past several years and has taken on multiple appeals for clients in this ever-evolving area of the law. Recently, he prevailed on a motion to vacate former SAC portfolio manager Richard Lee's guilty plea. Subsequently, he secured a dismissal of the criminal charges even though Lee had previously pled guilty to insider trading and cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.  

Greg also regularly advises public companies and privately-owned hedge funds on their compliance issues and methods to train/educate employees to avoid running afoul of the law. He has written and spoken on insider trading and corporate best practices dozens of times in the past few years. 

Beyond his insider trading work, Greg has represented both individuals and corporations in numerous federal and state court actions and in government investigations. He has litigated against United States Attorneys’ Offices across the country, the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., numerous regional offices of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the New York Stock Exchange, FINRA, the CFTC and other government and self-regulatory organizations. He has also handled appeals in the Second, Third, Fourth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals. He routinely advises clients on criminal law, securities, regulatory, civil, administrative and corporate governance issues.


Jennifer H. Saperstein, vice chair of the Anti-Corruption Practice Group, advises clients on compliance issues arising under anti-corruption laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). An experienced compliance counselor, she frequently conducts risk assessments and compliance program assessments, and has developed anti-corruption compliance programs for clients across a wide range of industries. Ms. Saperstein also leads cross-cutting compliance projects to help companies build and improve their compliance programs across areas of regulatory expertise, bringing together teams of regulatory experts to provide integrated advice.

Ms. Saperstein regularly assists companies with anti-corruption due diligence and compliance integration in connection with acquisitions, asset purchases, joint ventures, and other investment transactions.

Ms. Saperstein also helps corporations with efficient resolution of internal and government investigations into allegations of fraud and corruption.

Josh Levine is a Managing Director and Head of ICG NAM Regulatory Investigations at Citigroup.  Working at Citigroup since 2006, Josh handles a broad range of regulatory and internal investigations, sweeps, enforcement and litigation proceedings, and other related inquiries conducted by federal and state regulatory authorities, criminal law enforcement authorities, and self-regulatory agencies.  Prior to Citigroup, Josh was an enforcement attorney in the SEC's New York Regional Office, with responsibility for planning and directing investigations and litigations involving all aspects of the securities markets. Prior to the SEC, Josh was a litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell.  Josh received a J.D. from NYU School of Law in 1999, an M.A. in Political Science from Columbia University in 1995, and a B.A. in Government and History from Connecticut College in 1994.

MaryJeanette Dee is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade Practice Group in the firm’s New York office. She is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and serves as the Firm’s Co-Managing Partner.

MaryJeanette concentrates in internal investigations and regulatory and white collar criminal defense. Ms. Dee frequently represents banks, broker-dealers, investment advisers, corporate officers, financial advisors and other securities professionals in connection with domestic and cross-border investigations and inquiries by U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the SEC, the CFTC, FINRA, the NY Attorney General’s Office, the FRB, the NY Department of Financial Services and other governmental entities and self-regulatory organizations. She has conducted numerous internal investigations into a wide variety of allegations, including insider trading, trading and position valuation issues, misuse of confidential information, embezzlement, money laundering and BSA/AML issues, sanctions compliance and retail brokerage sales practice violations.

Mr. Brenner was Chief Counsel of the SEC’s Enforcement Division from January 2011 through August 2021. He also is Adjunct Professor at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America.

Prior to joining the SEC, he was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. At WilmerHale, he was Vice-Chair of the firm’s Securities Department, and his practice focused on securities enforcement, related civil and criminal litigation, and internal corporate investigations.

Mr. Brenner served as a Court Law Clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, and received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Mr. Machen is co-chair of WilmerHale’s white collar defense and investigations practice and is also a member of the firm’s global management committee. His practice focuses on government enforcement actions, corporate and congressional investigations, and litigating complex civil business disputes across the globe. An experienced litigator who has tried more than 35 cases to verdict, Mr. Machen routinely helps clients navigate high-stakes, crisis situations that garner the attention of multiple regulators, enforcement authorities, Congress and private litigants.

Prior to rejoining the firm in 2015, Mr. Machen served for over five years as the US attorney for the District of Columbia. During his career, Mr. Machen has acquired substantial experience in both prosecuting and defending federal criminal and civil health care fraud matters and currently serves as a co-monitor to a major healthcare corporation.

Ralph DeSena is a Director in the Enforcement Department of FINRA, the self-regulatory organization overseeing the securities industry.  In this role, Ralph manages a team of six attorneys in all aspects of their investigations of member firms and associated persons, including taking testimony, requesting documents and other information, deciding on appropriate charges, preparing investigative memoranda, making settlement offers, issuing Wells Notices, drafting complaints, and preparing for hearings.  He has brought actions against Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) and also co-authored an internal white paper on the potential liability of CCOs and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officers under FINRA and SEC rules.  Ralph received a performance award for his work on FINRA’s new guidance on credit for extraordinary cooperation, Regulatory Notice 19-23.

Prior to joining FINRA, for nearly eleven years Ralph was a Managing Director and the Head of U.S. Litigation at the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization.  In that role, Ralph managed a team of attorneys and paralegals, and was responsible for all U.S. regulatory and internal investigations, litigations, arbitrations and subpoenas for RBC Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of the bank.  Ralph personally managed and supervised outside counsel on the bank’s most significant litigation and regulatory exposures.  During his time at RBC, Ralph also was a member of the SIFMA Litigation Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2016, and served as chair from 2011 to 2012.

Before joining RBC, Ralph was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley, where he handled litigations, arbitrations and regulatory investigations for the individual investor, institutional securities and investment management divisions.  He also was heavily involved in the SEC-mandated "top-to-bottom" review of conflicts and business practices, which achieved a major shift in the firm's regulatory strategy.  In private practice prior to going in-house, Ralph was a litigation associate in the New York offices of King & Spalding LLP and Rogers & Wells (now Clifford Chance LLP), where his practice focused on securities and antitrust cases.  He began his legal career clerking for the Honorable Stewart Dalzell, a federal district court judge in Philadelphia.  Ralph graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1994 and received his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Boston College in 1991.

Robert Kaplan is a litigation partner based in the Washington, DC office of Debevoise & Plimpton.  He has significant experience with a broad range of securities-related enforcement and compliance issues, including those involving requirements affecting SEC-registered investment advisors affiliated with hedge funds, private equity funds, investment companies, mutual funds and separately managed accounts.

Prior to joining Debevoise in 2012, Robert was Co-Chief of the Asset Management Unit of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement. In this role, he co-led a team of 75 lawyers and industry experts focused on investigations related to potential violations of securities laws by advisers to \ private equity funds, hedge funds,  mutual funds and separately managed accounts. He partnered with senior leadership in other divisions of the SEC to establish law enforcement priorities in the asset management industry and developed cross-agency initiatives to proactively detect violations in emerging risk areas.

During his seventeen-year tenure at the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Mr. Kaplan also served as Assistant Director from 2004 to 2010, Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the Division’s Trial Unit from 1998 to 2004, and Staff Attorney and Senior Counsel from 1995 to 1998.He played a leading role in SEC enforcement actions across a variety of areas, including in actions related to Investment Advisers, Financial Fraud, Auditors, the FCPA, Broker-Dealers and Insider Trading. Robert has won several prestigious awards for his service in the Division of Enforcement, including the Chairman’s Award for Excellence and the Arthur F. Mathews Award.

Robert received his J.D. from New York University in 1992, and his A.B. B from Columbia University in 1989.

Samantha J. Leventhal is the Global Financial Crimes Executive responsible for the oversight for Individual and Small Business Banking, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Bank of America Private Bank and Merrill EDGE.  Samantha has also recently assumed oversight of Bank of America’s Enterprise Fraud Program.  In this role, Samantha is responsible for driving the execution of the anti-money laundering and fraud program through the Consumer and GWIM businesses and evaluating and mitigating risks presented by those businesses.

Prior to this role, Samantha was the Global Wealth and Investment Management Risk Executive serving as the Chief Risk Officer for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Merrill EDGE.  In this role, Samantha was responsible for looking across all seven risk types that define our risk management program and evaluate the impact of those risks on our retail broker-dealer activities. 

Samantha joined Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. in May 2002 as a member of the Office of General Counsel in the Global Monetary and Financial Control Group.  This group was responsible for developing and implementing the company’s anti-money laundering program.  Samantha was part of that team until 2008 and as part of the transition work between Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, Samantha assumed responsibility for the Enterprise Client Coverage Team which was responsible for building a client referral program between the newly combined Bank and broker-dealer.  In 2012, Samantha joined GWIM Compliance and served as the GWIM Compliance Chief Operating Officer coordinating strategic business initiatives across the GWIM businesses.  In 2015, Samantha was named the GWIM Compliance Executive responsible for the GWIM Investment Solutions Group and Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions group overseeing the compliance program for these retail broker-dealer products.  In 2017, Samantha was named the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management/Merrill EDGE Chief Risk Officer and Samantha assumed her current role as Global Financial Crimes Executive in May 2019.  

Samantha graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Diplomatic History and subsequently attended the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.  After law school, Samantha practiced white collar criminal defense where she represented both corporations and individuals in complex business investigations. 

Samantha lives in New York and is active with fundraising for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  Samantha is also an avid hiker and has hiked across six of the seven continents around the globe. 

Stefanie J. Sundel, Esq. is Regulatory Counsel and a Senior Compliance Officer at Sculptor Capital LP, the investment adviser of Sculptor Capital Management, Inc., a global alternative asset management firm.

Previously, Stefanie was a Securities Compliance Examiner and Attorney in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations in the Investment Adviser/ Investment Company Examination Program. During her tenure at the SEC, Stefanie led and conducted complex examinations of investment advisers, including private equity and hedge fund firms, to ensure compliance with federal securities laws such as the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and the Investment Company Act of 1940. 

Prior to joining the SEC, Stefanie was an associate at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, where she specialized in private litigation focusing on securities fraud, corporate governance, and shareholder rights. 

Stefanie is a Certified Fraud Examiner, holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Franklin University Switzerland (magna cum laude), and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School (cum laude).   

SUSAN MERRILL is a partner in Sidley’s New York office. Susan assists broker-dealers, investment advisers, financial institutions, exchanges and Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. in investigations before the SEC, CFTC, FINRA and state securities regulators. She also conducts internal investigations and advises clients on regulatory compliance matters. Susan is the former head of enforcement at FINRA, where she oversaw the establishment and development of its enforcement program. Susan has earned accolades from leading publications, including Law360’s Most Influential Women in Securities Law, The Legal 500 US (2013-2017), Chambers USA (2012-2020) and was named as Lawyer of the Year” in Securities Regulation The Best Lawyers in America (New York, 2020). Susan received her B.A., cum laude, from the University of Maryland, and her J.D., summa cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School.

A former Assistant U. S. Attorney, Department of Justice Fraud Section Trial Attorney and Securities and Exchange Commission Senior Counsel, Jon Barr is a seasoned advocate who vigorously defends and advises public companies, corporate executives, and individuals in white collar criminal, FCPA and SEC enforcement matters.

With more than twenty years of experience in government investigations, Jon is regularly retained to represent and defend General Counsels, Compliance Officers and other high-level executives in criminal and SEC investigations.  Jon’s practice also focuses on conducting internal investigations, assisting companies with self-disclosure decisions and advising on remedial measures and compliance programs.

The Securities Docket named Jon to its "Enforcement 40 for 2017," which is Securities Docket's list of the 40 best and brightest securities enforcement defense lawyers in the United States. He is ranked in Chambers USA for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations in the District of Columbia.  Jon is also recognized in Best Lawyers of America and by his designation as a “Super Lawyer” in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Umayam joined Carlson Capital, L.P. in 2017 and is an attorney with over seventeen years of legal experience.  Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Umayam served as a Senior Counsel in the Division of Enforcement for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  During his over five years of service with the SEC, Mr. Umayam investigated a wide variety of matters in the investment advisory and hedge fund industries.  Before joining the SEC, Mr. Umayam spent over ten years at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he was a Special Counsel in the firm’s Securities Enforcement and Regulation practice group.  Mr. Umayam graduated magna cum laude from The Catholic University, Columbus School of Law, and received his B.A. from The College of William and Mary.

Rich is the leader of our White Collar & Investigations practice and a nationally recognized litigator in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement and other white collar matters. He brings decades of experience in over 250 SEC investigations, including some very high-profile matters the SEC has handled and he regularly handles Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases, securities-related white-collar criminal matters and private securities litigation.

Drawing on his experience as a former branch chief with the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Rich represents corporations, corporate executives, brokerage firms, investment advisers, accounting firms, auditors, law firms, hedge funds and individual investors in connection with SEC, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), congressional, state attorney general and grand jury investigations; SEC litigation; and complex securities cases.

Rich has had a significant role in various important matters, including: several CDO and RMBS investigations of investment banks and collateral managers; SEC and criminal investigations of Enron; investigations and litigations concerning possible insider trading involving the securities of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Liberty Media, Capital One, and Prestige Brands; investigations and litigation concerning trading by NYSE specialists; investigations of alleged FCPA violations by various financial institutions; investigations and litigation concerning merger activities of Wachovia Corporation and National City Corporation; investigations concerning transactions by MGIC, Royal Dutch Shell, HSBC, Lernout & Hauspie, Aetna, Denso Corporation, AG Edwards, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse; investigations concerning the financial statements and/or audits of Orange County, Citi, Navistar, Autonomy, Bally’s, CarMax, SteinMart, and Allegheny Health Systems; investigations into marketing and other activities of registered investment advisors (including Smith Barney Asset Management, Family Endowment Partners, UBS Asset Management, F Squared and Harbinger) and ETF sponsors (including Pro Shares and Wisdom Tree Investments); internal investigations at a Fortune 10 retailer, Aon Corporation, E*Trade, Nash Finch Corporation and TD Ameritrade; investigations and litigation related to alleged pricing violations by NASDAQ traders; investigations of auditing firms and audit partners from KPMG, E&Y, D&T, Friedman, and PWC International; and congressional investigations concerning, among others, Goldman Sachs and Riggs National Corporation.

Rich conducts internal investigations for corporations, and advises members of numerous special committees of boards of directors as to their rights and obligations regarding the handling and evaluation of corporate transactions, internal investigations and shareholder litigation. Additionally, Rich has litigated to a successful judgment a number of SEC enforcement cases and defended numerous class actions and shareholder derivative suits in federal courts throughout the country.

A well-known figure in the industry, Rich is a frequent speaker at professional seminars and serves as the co-chair of two PLI annual programs: “Internal Investigations” and “Auditor Liability.” He has served on the adjunct faculty of Georgetown University School of Law, teaching a course in “Professional Responsibility in Corporate and Securities Practice.”