Background - Practices (Details)

Securities Fraud & Financial Investigations


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has reported that enforcement actions are on the rise, that the number of first-of-their-kind cases is growing, and that the investigative net is widening to include a broader range of corporate gatekeepers, from senior executives to in-house counsel, compliance personnel and outside audit firms. In this high-risk regulatory and law-enforcement climate, businesses, boards of directors, and senior officers require effective compliance programs and proactive legal counsel with experience navigating the labyrinth of federal and state securities laws and regulations.

Crowell & Moring’s Securities and Financial Fraud Investigations team has extensive experience counseling clients facing inquiries, parallel investigations, and law-enforcement actions led by the SEC, Department of Justice, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the New York Department of Financial Services, the UK Financial Conduct Authority, and other agencies. We have a wealth of experience at every stage, from conducting internal investigations to representing individuals and corporations before the agencies, during the Wells process, before grand juries, and at trial. We also have broad experience serving as independent monitors, both court appointed and resulting from deferred prosecution agreements. Our practice includes former SEC Enforcement prosecutors, a member of the DOJ’s Enron Task Force, numerous other former prosecutors and enforcement attorneys from the DOJ, U.S. Attorney's Offices, and FinCEN. As skilled advocates and negotiators, we are prepared to represent clients before any agency or court, and to do so in a way that balances regulatory compliance with each client’s continuing business needs and concerns.


Our lawyers are creative, flexible, hands-on, and have a comprehensive knowledge of the modern securities and financial fraud enforcement landscape. We advise clients on the full spectrum of issues related to investment, accounting, and financial reporting compliance, including:

  • Accounting, disclosure, financial and mortgage fraud
  • Insider trading
  • Investment advisor and broker-dealer regulation
  • Market manipulation
  • Money laundering
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Public corruption
  • Tax fraud


Our team includes attorneys who have led the prosecution on high-profile securities and financial fraud matters at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, DOJ Fraud Section as well as SEC Enforcement in both Washington, D.C. and New York, OFAC, and FinCEN. We have represented a broad range of clients, from individuals to multinational corporations, including:

  • Broker-dealers
  • Financial institutions
  • Investment advisors and their principals
  • Joint union trust fund entities
  • Manufacturers
  • CAOs, CFOs, CEOs and Board members

Representative Matters

  • Represented a well-known broker-dealer as lead counsel in FINRA enforcement investigation regarding allegations of trading unregistered securities without appropriate money-laundering detection capabilities in place. Negotiated a favorable settlement with FINRA.
  • Defended a registered investment advisor group following an SEC-OCIE examination and issuance of a lengthy deficiency letter. Result: convinced the SEC to close the matter without any enforcement action against the group or its executives.
  • Represented several current and former senior employees of global banks in connection with internal investigations and related criminal and regulatory inquiries into LIBOR interest rate benchmark setting practices and derivatives trading affected by the potential manipulation of rate setting by the DOJ, CFTC, and U.K.’s FCA and Serious Fraud Office.
  • Represented several current and former senior employees of global banks involved in the foreign currency exchange (FX) spot market probes by a number of domestic and foreign regulators including the DOJ, CFTC, NYDFS, and the FCA.
  • Represent a pool of current and former employees of a large investment bank in connection with multiple state and federal regulatory investigations with regard to residential mortgage-backed securities.
  • Represented a pool of former employees in connection with internal investigations and related criminal and regulatory inquiries by the DOJ, SEC, and CFTC into potential manipulation of the Volatility Index Exchange.
  • Represented a pool of current employees in connection with internal investigations and related criminal and regulatory inquiries by the DOJ, SEC, CFTC, and NY DFS into potential manipulation of the U.S. Treasuries market.
  • Represented a CFO in a seven-week trial alleging participation in a fraudulent financing scheme, resulting in a mistrial and a complete dismissal for our client.
  • Defended a CFO of a publicly traded company in an SEC investigation and litigation where the charges included multiple violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Result: secured an unprecedented summary judgment ruling denying the SEC's efforts to obtain any injunctive relief or officer and director bar.
  • Represented an executive in connection with an industry-wide investigation by the DOJ and the SEC into alleged misconduct in the municipal bond industry, including charges of price-fixing, bid rigging, wire fraud, and false statements.
  • Represented a global bank’s head trader in the residential mortgage backed securities market in connection with a civil FIRREA investigation in the Eastern District of New York.
  • Represented a securities trader in the personal wealth space in a high-profile insider trading matter being investigated and prosecuted in the Southern District of New York.
  • Represented an energy trader facing prosecution for conspiracy to violate the Commodities Exchange Act, resulting in dismissal of the indictment and a guilty plea to a single false statements charge with no loss of liberty or interruption in employment for the client.
  • Represent a former employee of an investment firm in connection with a criminal investigation into a Ponzi scheme.
  • Represented a former analyst in connection with an SEC inquiry into initial and ongoing due diligence performed for private equity bankers and their clients on certain investment funds and strategies.
  • Served as an independent consultant under a settlement agreement between AIG and the government (DOJ and SEC), responsible for the review of major financial transactions entered into by AIG that raised concerns of accounting fraud or balance sheet manipulation.