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White Collar Crime 2021: Prosecutors and Regulators Speak


Speaker(s): Alixandra Smith, Andrea M. Griswold, Anita B. Bandy, Benjamin Naftalis, Carolyn M. Welshhans, Dani R. James, Deborah Connor, Greg D. Andres, Hon. Richard J. Sullivan, Jacquelyn Kasulis, James J. Benjamin, Jr., Janis M. Echenberg, Jessie K. Liu, Joseph Sansone, Julia Nestor, Katherine R. Goldstein, Kenneth A. Blanco, Laura Grossfield Birger, Manal Sultan, Martine M. Beamon, Michael G. McGovern, Richard R. Best, Roberto Finzi, Sarah Kathleen Eddy, Scott Hartman, Steven R. Peikin
Recorded on: Sep. 29, 2021
PLI Program #: 306184

Alixandra Smith has served as the Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Section at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York since 2019, and is currently serving as the Acting Deputy Chief of the Office’s Criminal Division.  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 for United States v. Martin Shkreli and Evan Greebel, in which a pharmaceutical executive and his attorney were convicted of securities fraud conspiracy and other charges in connection with four complex fraud schemes in separate trials lasting a combined total of 17 weeks.  Alix has prosecuted a number of noteworthy FCPA matters, including United States v. Odebrecht and United States v. Braskem and related cases, in which two Brazilian-based petrochemical companies that paid almost a billion dollars in bribes to government officials in at least 12 countries in order to win business pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA as part of an agreement to resolve charges in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland; and United States v. Goldman Sachs and related cases, in which investment bank Goldman Sachs and three individuals, including two former Goldman Sachs bankers, were charged for their participation in a multi-billion dollar money laundering and bribery conspiracy related to 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (IMDB), and Goldman Sachs entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and its Malaysian subsidiary pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA, paid $2.9 billion in criminal penalties as part of a global resolution with eight different foreign and domestic authorities.  Alix also led the criminal prosecution of United States v. AmerisourceBergen, in which the second-largest drug distributor in the United States pleaded guilty to a criminal violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act and paid a combined total of $885 million in civil and criminal penalties stemming from its distribution, over a period of ten years, of millions of syringes of oncology drugs to immunocompromised cancer patients nationwide that were prepared under insanitary conditions and contaminated.

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.


Anita Bandy is an Associate Director in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, where she assists in planning and directing the Commission’s enforcement program.  Anita joined the Commission in 2004 and then served in several positions of increasing responsibility in the Enforcement program.  During her tenure at the Commission, Anita has led multiple enforcement initiatives and has supervised dozens of investigations that resulted in actions spanning a wide range of matters, including financial fraud, offering frauds, market manipulation, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, and other illegal acts that occur in the mergers & acquisitions, cyber, broker-dealer and investment-adviser space.  Prior to joining the SEC, Anita spent several years in private practice at the law firm of Proskauer LLP, where she focused on white collar and SEC defense work.  She received her J.D. with honors from American University and her undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Michigan.


Dani R. James is a partner in the New York office of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, where she is co-chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations practice.

Dani represents executives, directors and officers, and other individuals, as well as companies, in sensitive, complicated and often high-profile criminal and regulatory trials, hearings, investigations and other proceedings conducted by federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, among other agencies. A former federal prosecutor, Dani defends clients in a broad range of white collar criminal and regulatory matters, including allegations of insider trading, market manipulation, public corruption, bid-rigging, tax fraud and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In addition to criminal matters, Dani handles complex civil litigation on behalf of corporations, directors and officers, and others, representing them in securities class actions, shareholder derivative suits and civil racketeering cases, as well as complex business disputes. She also conducts corporate internal investigations and provides counsel to audit committees and special litigation committees on compliance matters.

Dani’s most recent notable work includes the successful representation of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in federal and criminal investigations and a former Barclays banker in a civil fraud suit brought by the Department of Justice relating to mortgage-backed securities.

From 1999 to 2003, Dani served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, representing the United States as lead counsel in a wide variety of federal criminal cases involving securities fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, international narcotics trafficking, racketeering and violent offenses, as well as appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to joining the firm in 2007, Dani served as assistant visiting professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she taught courses on criminal law and conducted extensive research on federal sentencing issues.

 


Jacquelyn M. Kasulis joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in January 2008, and was appointed Acting U.S. Attorney in June 2021.  During her tenure in the Office, Jacquelyn has served as both the Chief of the Criminal Division and the Chief of the Business & Securities Fraud Section.  She has investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of criminal matters, including market manipulation, fraud involving publicly traded companies, investment adviser fraud, money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Bank Secrecy Act. During her time in the Office, Jacquelyn has worked on significant white collar cases.  For example, Jacquelyn was the lead prosecutor in U.S. v. Martin Shkreli, in which Martin Shkreli was convicted in August 2017 of multiple counts of securities fraud.  Jacquelyn also led the Office’s prosecution in U.S. v. Low Taek Jho, et al. and U.S. v. Leissner, in which two former bankers and a wealthy Malaysian financier were charged for their participation in a multi-billion dollar money laundering and bribery conspiracy related to 1MDB, Malaysia’s investment development fund.  In October 2020, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $2.9 billion in penalties as part of a global resolution with eight different foreign and domestic authorities for its role in the scheme.  Jacquelyn was also the lead prosecutor in United States v. Bandfield, et al., in which nine defendants and six corporations, including three brokerage firms, were charged for their involvement in an elaborate $250 million offshore securities fraud, money laundering and tax evasion scheme.  Prior to joining the Office, Jacquelyn was a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York.  She graduated with honors from Columbia Law School in 2003.


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.

Practice

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.

Speeches

  • 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.

Recognition

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

Publications

  • “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.


Ms. Beamon, a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department and a former federal prosecutor, has successfully represented individuals and institutions in their most critical situations. She is recognized by Chambers USA as a Band 1 lawyer for her work in the white collar and investigations space, with clients describing her as a “phenomenal lawyer” who is “very smart” and “incredibly strong” and who won praise for her handling of a number of “sophisticated cases.”

Her matters have included grand jury, regulatory and independent investigations, representing companies, board of directors and individuals in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct, securities fraud, criminal tax violations, foreign corrupt practices, anti-money laundering and pharmaceutical marketing violations, among other areas. Her complex civil matters have involved allegations under the False Claims Act, consumer protection and whistleblower provisions, and other state and federal statutes. Ms. Beamon also has participated in a number of confidential internal investigations on behalf of clients and has advised corporations and boards of directors on matters of corporate governance and compliance. In addition, the FBI requested that she train its agents on insider trading.

Ms. Beamon served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, where she conducted numerous investigations and criminal trials. She received her J.D., summa cum laude, from University of Pittsburgh School of Law and her B.A., with honors, from University of Notre Dame.


Richard R. Best was named Regional Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office in September 2020.  He was previously the Regional Director of the Salt Lake Regional Office, serving from July 2015 to February 2018, and Regional Director of the Atlanta Regional Office, serving from February 2018 to September 2020.

Before coming to the Commission, Mr. Best was a Chief Counsel in the Department of Enforcement of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  Mr. Best was also a Director, Senior Trial Attorney and Trial Attorney at FINRA.

Mr. Best previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the Bronx County District Attorney.  He was a supervisor in the Office’s Rackets Bureau where he managed high-profile public integrity and organized crime prosecutions, among other matters.   

Mr. Best received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, and a law degree from the Howard University School of Law.

 


Andrea M. Griswold is currently the Co-Chief of the Securities and Commodities Task Force at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Previously, as a prosecutor in the unit she now supervises, Ms. Griswold investigated, prosecuted and tried to verdict a wide variety of significant securities fraud cases, including those involving allegations of accounting fraud, valuation fraud, insider trading and market manipulation. Most recently, Ms. Griswold led the criminal investigation that resulted in the indictment and arrest of Arif Naqvi and other senior executives at the Abraaj Group, the largest failed private equity firm, on charges that the defendants serially inflated the valuation of private equity investments and misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars, all while promoting the firm as a pioneer of so-called “impact investing” that could “do good” without “compromising returns.” Ms. Griswold has also served as an Acting Deputy Chief of the Narcotics Unit and as a member of the public corruption unit where she was part of the team that investigated and prosecuted attorney Michael Cohen for campaign finance violations and criminal tax evasion.

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.


Benjamin Naftalis is the Global Vice Chair of the White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice and a partner in the Litigation & Trial Department.

A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Naftalis represents companies, boards, and executives in government and internal investigations, regulatory enforcement matters, high-profile disputes, and other sensitive situations throughout the US and internationally. 

Mr. Naftalis is consistently recognized by Chambers USA and The Legal 500 US in the area of white collar defense and investigations. In 2016, he was named a Law360 white collar Rising Star and a Rising Star by the New York Law Journal. In 2012, he received the US Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service – DOJ’s second highest award.

Mr. Naftalis has broad experience before a wide range of US regulators, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). He advises clients navigate allegations of securities and corporate fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, sanctions, money laundering, accounting and healthcare fraud, and international bribery and corruption.

Mr. Naftalis maintains an extensive civil litigation practice, including business disputes in federal and state courts and securities litigation.

Mr. Naftalis also regularly counsels private equity firms and hedge funds in deal-related diligence, trading, litigation, and regulatory compliance.

From 2006 to 2014, Mr. Naftalis served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. As a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, he investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal securities and commodities fraud offenses. As a member of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, he led many of the government’s highest-profile extraterritorial matters involving terrorism and national security, and international money-laundering and narcotics trafficking.

Mr. Naftalis has tried eight federal jury trials and briefed and argued over ten appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Prior to joining the US Attorney’s Office, Mr. Naftalis clerked for Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and Judge Dennis Jacobs of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He began his career as a corporate development analyst at DoubleClick, later acquired by Google. He continues to counsel leading and emerging technology companies.

Mr. Naftalis is a member of the New York City Bar’s White Collar Committee, a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of Latham’s global steering committee of its Women Enriching Business (WEB) initiative.

 


Carolyn Welshhans is an Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. Previously, she was an Assistant Director in the Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit and Market Abuse Unit. Ms. Welshhans has supervised numerous significant enforcement actions involving insider trading, market structure, hacking, investment advisers, broker-dealers, and public company accounting and financial disclosure violations. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Welshhans was in private practice. She received her J.D. from the Boston College Law School, and she received her B.A. from the College of William and Mary.


Deborah is Chief of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.  MLARS leads the Department’s anti-money laundering and asset forfeiture enforcement efforts, providing leadership in the prosecution and coordination of complex, sensitive, multi-district money laundering and asset forfeiture prosecutions. Deborah has been a criminal prosecutor with the Department of Justice for 24 years.  Prior to joining MLARS, Deborah served for more than 16 years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office Deborah was a Trial Attorney in the Antitrust Division and an Associate at a large D.C. law firm.  She is an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center where she graduated with a J.D. cum laude in 1994.


Greg D. Andres is a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department, concentrating on white- collar criminal defense and representing clients in both civil and criminal trials.  He has represented both individuals and corporate entities in a wide range of regulatory and criminal investigations involving market manipulation, insider trading, securities, procurement and tax fraud, and money laundering.  Mr. Andres has extensive experience in anti-corruption matters, both in private practice and at the Department of Justice.  He previously served in senior government positions during more than a decade at the U.S. Department of Justice, including as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division, where he supervised both the Fraud and Appellate Sections and managed the Department’s FCPA program.  He also served as the Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.  Mr. Andres recently served as a member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters, and served as the lead trial lawyer in the prosecution of Paul Manafort in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.  In October 2020, Mr. Andres was named to the Benchmark Litigation list of Top 100 Trial lawyers in the United States.


Janis Echenberg is a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  In that role, she supervises dozens of pending prosecutions across all units of the office, with a focus on white-collar cases; oversees several office programs, including Project Safe Childhood, which evaluates the appropriate disposition of child exploitation cases, and the Young Adult Opportunity Program, which focuses on the rehabilitation of youthful offenders; and trains prosecutors on a variety of topics, including discovery and disclosure obligations. During her more than 12 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Echenberg has prosecuted numerous cases involving public corruption, tax evasion, securities fraud, FCPA violations, money laundering, environmental crime, wildlife trafficking, and a wide range of other financial fraud cases. In 2017, she was lead prosecutor of United States v. Ng Lap Seng, et al., involving a billionaire real estate developer from Macau, China and others convicted of bribing two United Nations ambassadors. In 2018, Ms. Echenberg was lead prosecutor of United States v. Joseph Percoco, et al., involving a former top aide to the Governor of New York, the former President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and several businessmen convicted for their roles in multiple bribery and fraud schemes. Ms. Echenberg has also taught courses on criminal prosecution and prosecutorial ethics at NYU School of Law and Cardozo School of Law. She has been recognized as a top prosecutor by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation and by Women in Federal Law Enforcement. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Echenberg was an associate at a Manhattan law firm, focused on civil litigation and white-collar defense. She received her JD from UCLA School of Law, with a concentration in public interest law and policy, and her BA with honors in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.


Jessie K. Liu focuses on government and internal investigations; audit committee repre­sentations; complex civil litigation involving government entities, particularly in the area of the False Claims Act; crisis management counseling; and issues involving multipronged litigation, enforcement and risk management.

Ms. Liu has significant experience in issues involving economic sanctions, export control, national security, anti-money laundering, the Bank Secrecy Act, financial regulatory matters, government procurement fraud and public corruption, including involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

From 2017-20, Ms. Liu served as the Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, leading the nation’s largest U.S. attorney’s office. In this role, she oversaw matters of national and international significance involving corruption, fraud and national security. In particular, she obtained resolutions with several international banks for violating U.S. economic sanctions; an international aerospace company on a nearly $4 billion settlement for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and U.S. export control laws and regulations; and numerous federal contractors and grantees, including former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong, for violations of the False Claims Act. She also created a Threat Finance Unit focused on deterring, disrupting and prosecuting the use of illicit financial flows supporting criminal activity and terrorism. From 2019-20, she also served as chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a small group of U.S. attorneys who advise the attorney general and deputy attorney general on issues affecting the U.S. attorney’s offices, after having previously served as a member of the committee from 2017-19.

Prior to joining the U.S. attorney’s office, Ms. Liu was deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Treasury. In this role, she provided legal and policy advice to the secretary of the treasury and other senior department officials, with a focus on national security, law enforcement and international issues, such as economic and trade sanctions, anti-money laundering efforts, and national security reviews of foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Between 2006-09, Ms. Liu served in various roles within the U.S. Department of Justice, including as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division, counsel to the deputy attorney general for national security issues and deputy chief of staff for the National Security Division. From 2002-06, she was an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for District of Columbia.

During her career, Ms. Liu was a partner at two international law firms, handling government investigations and civil litigation.

Ms. Liu has been recognized as a top 25 lateral hire of 2020 by The American Lawyer and as a White Collar Trailblazer by The National Law Journal. In addition, she has been featured in Global Investigations Review’s Top 100 Women in Investigations and named to Chambers USA.


Julia Nestor has been an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York since 2012.  She currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Section, is the Chief of Healthcare Fraud and the COVID Fraud Coordinator for the EDNY.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Nestor was an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell for six years. 


Kenneth A. Blanco (Ken) is the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) for Citi’s Financial Crimes Unit and a member of Citi’s Independent Compliance Risk Management (ICRM) Executive Management Team.

In this role, Ken supports and protects Citi against financial crimes risks by overseeing the firm’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Global Financial Crimes Investigations and Intelligence, Sanctions, and Anti-Bribery programs, across all lines of business, subsidiaries and jurisdictions in which Citi operates.

Prior to joining Citi in April 2021, Ken served as the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a Bureau within the U. S. Department of Treasury, where he worked to combat domestic and international financial crime and enforce regulations to protect against money laundering and its related crimes, including terrorism financing.

Prior to his appointment as FinCEN Director by the Secretary of the Treasury, Ken served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice from January 2017 until November 2017, and as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General from April 2008 until January 2017.

After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1989, Ken began his career at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, where he served as a trial lawyer in various sections including the Organized Crime Section, Public Corruption Section, and the Major Narcotics Section. In 1998, Ken joined the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) as an Assistant United States Attorney, where he served in numerous leadership positions including Deputy Chief of Narcotics/Chief of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Acting Chief of Narcotics, and Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Section.

During his time at the United States Attorney’s Office, Ken was detailed to Washington D.C. from December 2002 to August 2004 to serve as General Counsel to the 94 United States Attorney’s Offices and the Executive Office of United States Attorneys. In 2006, Ken returned to Washington D.C. to serve as the Chief of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section at the Department of Justice. He was later promoted to the position of Deputy Assistant Attorney General, where he supervised the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Organized Crime and Gang Section, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, and matters relating to Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama.


Laura Grossfield Birger is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School.  Following law school, Ms. Birger clerked for the Honorable Norma L. Shapiro in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  After a stint in private practice, Ms. Birger was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she served as Deputy Chief of Appeals and Chief of General Crimes.  Following her time at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Birger was a partner at Cooley LLP, where she focused on white collar defense and complex civil litigation.  In January 2019, Ms. Birger returned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she currently serves as Chief of the Criminal Division.


Manal Sultan is currently the Deputy Director for the Division of Enforcement and is in charge of the Division’s New York office. Ms. Sultan represented the Division in many enforcement actions, including virtual currency matters, which are filed in the United States District Court and focus on allegations of manipulation, fraud, and trade practice misconduct. She has also successfully negotiated and settled many actions including benchmark cases and spoofing cases. Prior to being appointed Deputy Director, she has served as a chief trial attorney with the Division of Enforcement at the CFTC in New York. She also served as the Squad Leader of the Manipulation and Disruptive Trading squad of the Division. Ms. Sultan is a graduate of Fordham Law School. In addition, she holds an MBA in finance and information technology.


Michael McGovern co-chairs Ropes & Gray’s global government enforcement practice, and he previously served as Managing Partner of the firm’s 400-lawyer New York office.  An accomplished trial lawyer, Michael focuses his practice on high-stakes criminal cases where the survival of companies and the liberty interests of their highest-ranking officers and employees are in jeopardy.  He has successfully defended clients in a wide variety of high-profile and sensitive matters involving allegations of securities and commodities fraud, other types of financial fraud, domestic and foreign corruption, antitrust offenses, tax offenses, and health care fraud.  In such cases, Michael typically faces the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as well as other global enforcement agencies.  

Among Michael’s trial successes as a defense lawyer, he secured a jury acquittal on all counts for a bank president in a federal bank fraud trial prosecuted by DOJ; a post-trial misdemeanor disposition for a BP engineer charged by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force with two felony counts of obstruction of justice; and a post-trial dismissal of all criminal counts brought by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh against former President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor.

Prior to joining Ropes & Gray, Michael served for over seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he held supervisory positions in both the Organized Crime and Terrorism Unit and the General Crimes Unit. In those capacities, he supervised groups of more than 20 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in grand jury investigations and prosecutions of complex securities fraud, money laundering, terrorism, and RICO cases. Michael also argued more than a dozen appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In 2004, Michael received the Department of Justice’s award for superior performance as an Assistant United States Attorney.

Michael had a successful trial record as a federal prosecutor, which included winning jury convictions of the former Bosses of two different organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra. Also as a federal prosecutor, Michael secured convictions in several trials involving allegations of securities fraud. 


Richard J. Sullivan was sworn in as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in October 2018.  Before that, Judge Sullivan served for eleven years as a trial judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.  Prior to becoming a judge, he was General Counsel and Managing Director of Marsh Inc., the world's leading risk management and insurance brokerage firm.  From 1994 to 2005, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he was Chief of the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit and Director of the New York/New Jersey Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  In 2003, he was awarded the Henry L. Stimson Medal from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.  In 1998, he was named the Federal Law Enforcement Association’s Prosecutor of the Year.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Judge Sullivan was an attorney in private practice at the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York and a law clerk to the Honorable David M. Ebel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.  He is a graduate of Yale Law School and the College of William & Mary in Virginia.  From 1986 to 1987, he served as a New York City Urban Fellow under New York City Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward.  Judge Sullivan is on the executive board of the New York American Inn of Court and the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University School of Law.  He is an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses on sentencing and jurisprudence, and he previously served as an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, where he taught courses on white collar crime and trial advocacy and was named Adjunct Professor of the Year. 


Roberto Finzi is a partner in the Litigation Department, co-chair of the White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group and a former federal prosecutor. His practice focuses on white collar matters, including grand jury and regulatory investigations, enforcement proceedings and internal investigations. Since his return from government service in 2006, he has represented individuals and organizations a variety of law enforcement initiatives, including prosecutions and investigations involving insider trading, accounting fraud, criminal anti-trust, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and health care fraud. His practice also includes providing counsel to clients on all areas of criminal and regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings. He regularly represents indigent defendants in pro bono criminal matters.

Between February of 1999 and his return to Paul, Weiss in January of 2006, Roberto was an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. In his seven years as a federal prosecutor, Roberto handled a wide variety of criminal investigations and prosecutions, conducting numerous jury trials in the district court and briefing and arguing numerous appeals before the Second Circuit. In 2003, Roberto became a member of the Southern District’s Securities & Commodities Frauds Task Force. In that role, he investigated and tried a variety of cases involving, among other things, accounting fraud, investment advisor fraud and market manipulation.

Roberto is a graduate of Cornell Law School where he served as an articles editor for the Cornell Law Review.  He was later a law clerk to the Honorable Joseph L. Tauro, United States District Judge in Boston, Massachusetts.


Sarah K. Eddy is a partner in the Litigation Department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.  Before joining the firm, she was Chief of Appeals for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she began her tenure in November 2009.  Before becoming Chief of Appeals, Sarah was Co-Chief of the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit, and served as a trial attorney in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Unit and the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  She conducted some of the Office’s most significant investigations of corporate misconduct, tried 11 cases to verdict, and argued numerous appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Early in her career, Sarah served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Honorable John M. Walker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.


Scott Hartman is the Deputy 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. Hartman investigated and prosecuted a wide array of significant securities fraud cases, including the criminal investigation that resulted in the conviction of Congressman Christopher Collins for insider trading.  Prior to joining the Securities and Commodities Fraud Taskforce, Mr. Hartman served in the Violent and Organized Crime Unit, where he led the successful investigation and prosecution of the boss and the underboss of the Luchese Family of La Cosa Nostra on charges of murder and racketeering, for which he won the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Mr. Hartman holds degrees from Columbia University and Yale Law School.  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Steven Peikin leads Sullivan & Cromwell’s Securities & Commodities Investigations & Enforcement Practice.  He brings decades of experience at the most senior levels of government and in private practice to his representation of clients in a wide range of regulatory enforcement investigations, white-collar criminal matters, and internal investigations. He has particular expertise in matters involving the federal securities and commodities laws.

From 2017 to 2020, Mr. Peikin served as Co-Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, where he oversaw all aspects of the SEC’s national enforcement program, supervising its more than 1400 attorneys, accountants, and staff across its 12 offices.

During his prior tenure at the Firm, Mr. Peikin led S&C’s Criminal Defense & Investigations Group, advising clients in nearly every major enforcement initiative brought over the course of more than a decade. He represented institutions and individuals in numerous high-profile matters, including those involving alleged violations of federal securities and commodities laws, the FCPA, price-fixing, and compliance with economic sanctions and anti-money laundering regimes.

Before joining S&C, Mr. Peikin served for eight years as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, including as Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. 

Mr. Peikin has tried more than 20 criminal jury cases in federal court and argued numerous appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Mr. Peikin clerked for J. Edward Lumbard, United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit and Robert P. Patterson, Jr., United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.  He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, both magna cum laude.


James J. Benjamin Jr. is a leader of Akin Gump’s white-collar defense and global investigations practice group. He represents banks, public companies, private investment funds, broker-dealers, and proprietary trading firms—as well as their key executives and traders—in investigations and enforcement proceedings arising under the federal securities and commodities laws.

Jim is described by Chambers USA as a “truly outstanding” lawyer who is “smart, hard-working, compassionate, and creative” and is “sought out by clients for his ‘strong and calming influence.’” According to Chambers, Jim “draws widespread acclaim” and is "just superb - a wonderful lawyer with terrific strategic judgment and a wonderful bedside manner.”

He represents companies and individuals in complex, high-pressure investigations and enforcement proceedings related to insider trading; anti-bribery and FCPA; improper accounting and disclosure; market manipulation, disruptive trading, and other violations; anti-money laundering and the Bank Secrecy Act; and anticompetition.

Jim is a graduate of Dartmouth College, magna cum laude, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as the Research and Projects Editor of the Virginia Law Review.  After law school, he clerked for Judge J. Frederick Motz in the District of Maryland and Justices Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Before joining Akin Gump in 2001, Jim served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, including as deputy chief appellate attorney and as a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.


Joseph Sansone is Chief of the SEC Market Abuse Unit, a specialized group that uses data analysis to investigate complex insider trading rings and other abusive trading schemes and misconduct. Mr. Sansone’s work at the SEC includes actions charging more than 40 defendants in a scheme to trade on nonpublic information hacked from newswire services as well as numerous insider trading cases against corporate insiders, investment bankers, hedge fund traders, and others. In addition, Mr. Sansone has supervised SEC enforcement actions against individuals and firms for manipulating the price of securities including thought brokerage account takeovers and layering and spoofing. He has also been actively involved in the SEC’s efforts to expose misconduct by operators of exchanges, dark pools, and other trading venues and to hold them accountable for such violations. Mr. Sansone joined the SEC after working as a litigator at a law firm in New York and serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School and his undergraduate degree from Harvard College.