White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement
Morrison Cohen’s White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement practice group represents corporate entities and individuals in investigations brought by a wide array of governmental agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Offices nationwide, the New York Attorney General’s office, and local district attorneys, as well as exchanges and self-regulatory organizations such as FINRA, ICE, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, NYMEX, ARCA, and others.
Our subject area expertise includes securities; commodities, futures, and derivatives; cryptocurrency; insider trading; accounting fraud; U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations; money laundering; antitrust violations; health care fraud; real estate; and bank, wire and other financial fraud.
Our practice includes formal and informal internal investigations on behalf of management, the board of directors, or audit committees, in order to understand the facts and assess any potential liability or recommended remedial action.
To the extent prosecutors or regulators are involved, we work hard to build our client’s credibility and inform the relevant authorities of facts that mitigate or exculpate any potential liability, with the goals of moderating or ending further investigation; avoiding full-scale enforcement actions; and limiting exposure in regulatory settlements and potential parallel proceedings. While of course each case is different, we have a strong track record of providing efficient conclusions through a cooperative process.
If an investigation becomes a formal enforcement action in either a court or the relevant authority’s in-house administrative process, our experience in those areas comes to bear: we have represented corporate entities and individual officers, directors, and employees in conjunction with proceedings in federal and state courts, as well as administrative or exchange proceedings.
Recent representations include:
- The founders of an Israeli technology company in an SEC insider trading investigation
- Canadian individuals in an SEC litigation about an “initial coin offering,” in the first case brought by the SEC’s Cyber Unit
- Several cryptocurrency-related companies in SEC investigations in the cryptocurrency industry
- An Israeli telecommunications company in connection with an SEC investigation
- A California EB-5 Regional Center in an SEC investigation
- A California hedge fund in an SEC investigation into cryptocurrency investment funds
- A European cryptocurrency issuer in an SEC investigation into initial coin offerings
- A Chinese company in connection with SEC compliance issues
- A hedge fund in an SEC investigation into an alleged fraud against the fund
- A telecommunications company in an SEC investigation into accounting issues
- A senior employee of a New York trading company in an SEC investigation into fraudulent trading
- An individual in an SEC investigation into fraudulent trading in biopharmaceutical securities
- The CEO of pharmaceutical company in connection with alleged securities fraud
- The founders/directors of a software company in connection with alleged securities fraud
- The founders/directors of an advertising company in China with alleged securities fraud
- A trader in connection with alleged mutual fund trading manipulation charges
- A private equity firm in connection with insider trading charges
- A U.S. commodities trading company in a CFTC investigation into “exchange for related position” transactions
- A European trading company in a CFTC investigation into “exchange for related position” transactions
- A European commodities trading company in a series of CFTC investigations into cotton futures trading
- A British commodities trading company in a CFTC investigation into liquefied petroleum gas trading
- A European commodities trading company in a CFTC investigations into oil futures trading
Department of Justice experience
- Individuals involved in an investigation regarding potential criminal activity related to cryptocurrency
- A company in connection with losses suffered in a ticket-reselling scheme
- An individual witness in a Ponzi scheme prosecution
Self-Regulatory Organization and Exchange experience
- An individual in a FINRA investigation into improper trading
- An individual accused by FINRA of manipulative high-speed trading
- A company in connection with a NASDAQ investigation into potential rule violations
- A private equity fund in several NYSE and NASD insider trading investigations
- An officer/broker in connection with alleged collusive interactions among FINRA-registered brokers frustrating customers’ efforts to obtain competitive brokerage rates on credit default swap transactions
- A broker in connection with FINRA investigation of alleged regulatory violations, concealed trading, anti-money laundering etc.
- A broker in connection with FINRA investigation of alleged improper trading
- A U.S. trading company in an ICE Futures U.S. proceeding regarding exchange for related position trades
- A European commodities company in a CME investigation into exchange for related position trades
- A European trading company and a trader at the company in a CME investigation into wash trades
- A U.S. company in connection with potential employee embezzlement
- A U.S. company in connection with potential Dodd-Frank violations
New York Attorney General’s Office experience
- A New York real estate management company in a NYAG investigation
- An adult home in reaching an amicable resolution after an informal investigation
- A third party in connection with an investigation involving thousands of pages of documents and witness testimony
- The owner of a property accused of violations of the Martin Act; negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding and an Assurance of Discontinuance to avoid prosecution
- Two large nationally known retailers as third parties in investigations; handled large volume of requested documents
Our lawyers are on the cutting edge of cryptocurrency issues, including our active representation of an “initial coin offering” issuer in the first federal litigation brought by the SEC’s new “Cyber Unit,” a case that has been extensively covered by the press. Our cryptocurrency team frequently advises on thorny and novel legal issues, and we have provided thought leadership in legal media and blockchain-centered outlets. The Morrison Cohen “Cryptocurrency Litigation Tracker” keeps the industry abreast of all new regulatory developments in the area, and ensures our team has its finger on the pulse of the regulators.
Morrison Cohen is adamant about handling cryptocurrency issues in a way that is fully compliant with applicable securities and commodities regulations. We do not advise clients to take “quick and inexpensive” paths that carry significantly heightened regulatory risk. Given our knowledge of the regulatory enforcement battlefields, we advise clients how to structure their businesses, products, and funds in a way that we believe will minimize the regulatory risks inherent in this rapidly developing area. For that reason, we have a great deal of experience in equity offerings under Reg D, Reg A+, Reg S, and others means, and great comfort with the cryptocurrency regulatory issues that overlay these securities regulations. We have not done, and will not do, a “cowboy” ICO that ignores the federal securities or commodities laws.