David Smyth

David Smyth

Brooks Pierce

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Why Did BHP Billiton Settle an FCPA Case Including 7+ Year-Old Conduct?

Remember the Water Cube from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing? BHP Billiton has probably had reason to think about it recently. On Wednesday it settled an FCPA case with the SEC arising out of the company’s sponsoring the...more

5/22/2015 - Books & Records Bribery Enforcement Actions FCPA Foreign Official Internal Controls Olympics SEC Statute of Limitations

The SEC Doesn’t Love Secret Perks for Executives

If you find yourself as the CEO of a public company, you’ll probably find pluses and minuses. You’ll have to work really hard, but it can be lucrative, too. You can get paid a lot of money. And your company can pay you...more

4/28/2015 - C-Suite Executives CEOs Enforcement Actions Executive Compensation Internal Controls Publicly-Traded Companies SEC

Two Regulatory Crises

It strikes me that two civil regulators are facing dire attacks on aspects of their enforcement programs – both in different U.S. Courts of Appeals – at the same time. Both of these attacks arise out of generalized statutes...more

4/21/2015 - Appeals Cybersecurity Data Breach Enforcement Actions FTC FTC v Wyndham Illegal Tipping Insider Trading SEC Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices US v Newman

Three Thoughts about the SEC’s First “Pretaliation” Case

I was on a flight last Wednesday when the SEC released the first of what whistleblower chief Sean McKessy has dubbed “pretaliation” cases against KBR, Inc. When I landed I had several emails from colleagues, asking, “Did you...more

4/10/2015 - Confidentiality Agreements Corporate Counsel Enforcement Actions Internal Investigations KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root) Rule 21F SEC Securities Exchange Act Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

One Good Thing and One Bad Thing about SEC Administrative Proceedings

One of my favorite lines from my kids’ books involves a cat named Pickles who’s having something of an identity crisis. Pickles doesn’t really have an owner, but does have a temporary caretaker, who tells him, “Pickles,...more

2/19/2015 - Administrative Hearings Enforcement Actions SEC

The SEC Totally Cares about Its Injunctions

Last week I wrote a post discussing the injunctions the SEC typically obtains against defendants in federal court. I noted the oddity of these obey-the-law injunctions and wondered aloud why the Commission never pursues...more

1/27/2015 - Civil Monetary Penalty Contempt Enforcement Actions Injunctions Permanent Injunctions SEC

The SEC Does Not Care about Its Injunctions

It won’t surprise you to learn that the U.S. Code includes this provision: “A court of the United States shall have power to punish by fine or imprisonment, or both, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority . . . as...more

1/20/2015 - Civil Monetary Penalty Disgorgement Enforcement Actions Injunctions Rule 65 SEC

Justice Department Files First FCPA Case of 2015, Reminds Lawyers to Watch Out

Last week, the Justice Department filed the first FCPA case of 2015 when it indicted Dmitrij Harder, the former owner and president the Chestnut Consulting Group in Huntingdon Valley, Pa. ...more

1/14/2015 - Bribery Crime-Fraud Exception DOJ Enforcement Actions FCPA Foreign Official Indictments UK

Does SEC Enforcement Treat Bigger Companies Differently?

I’m stealing the title of this post from Broc Romanek, who asked this question on January 2nd. He was responding to a study authored by Jonas Heese, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who has authored a study...more

1/8/2015 - Enforcement Actions Enforcement Statistics Publicly-Traded Companies SEC

Proposed “Fair Fund” for CR Intrinsic Case Stirs Dustup among SEC’s Commissioners

In the right kind of enforcement action, the SEC can take the money it’s generated and set up what’s called a Fair Fund to redistribute that money to harmed investors. But what is the right kind of case? This procedure was...more

11/13/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Actions Fair Fund Sarbanes-Oxley SEC

SEC Issues Risk Alert, Smacks E*Trade on Penny Stock Sales

On October 9th the SEC brought a settled administrative action against E*Trade Securities and G1 Execution Services (formerly E*Trade Capital Markets) for their part in the unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny...more

10/24/2014 - Broker-Dealer E*Trade Enforcement Actions Risk Alert SEC

Wrapping up Securities Enforcement Forum 2014

I was lucky enough to spend Tuesday at Bruce Carton’s Securities Enforcement Forum 2014. In three years, it has gone from zero to the preeminent securities enforcement law conference anywhere. I blogged it hurriedly...more

10/17/2014 - Compliance Enforcement Enforcement Actions FCPA SEC

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — FCPA, SEC/DOJ Joint Actions, and Other Recent Criminalization Trends

Today I’m blogging from Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, this year being held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not...more

10/15/2014 - Compliance Criminalization DOJ Enforcement Actions FCPA Joint Plan of Action SEC Strategic Enforcement Plan

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — Morning Keynote Speech by Commissioner Piwowar

Today I’m blogging from Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, this year being held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not...more

10/15/2014 - Compliance Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC

Ghost of David Sokol Haunts SEC’s Insider Trading Case against Szymik and Peixoto

It never actually became a case, but maybe you remember this matter from a few years ago. In January 2011, former Berkshire Hathaway executive David Sokol bought about 100,000 shares in Lubrizol Corporation shortly before...more

10/7/2014 - Enforcement Actions Financial Holding Company Hedge Funds Herballife Insider Trading Material Nonpublic Information Pershing Square Management SEC

Speech by DOJ’s Marshall Miller Could Be Harbinger of Bad Things to Come

So here’s a thing. Last week Marshall Miller, the No. 2 official in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, made a speech urging corporations to focus its investigations into misconduct on individual malefactors and...more

9/23/2014 - DOJ Enforcement Enforcement Actions Personal Liability Police Misconduct

Freedom to Retaliate against Foreign Whistleblowers May Not Be as Much Fun as It First Appears

What I’m about to say is grossly oversimplified, but here goes: The Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower provisions have two primary prongs. The first says that an individual who voluntarily provides the SEC with original...more

8/27/2014 - Dodd-Frank Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions FCPA Foreign Nationals Popular Sanctions Siemens Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Guns and More Guns: SEC Hits Smith & Wesson for FCPA Violations

One thing the SEC likes to do is bring cases with a lot of deterrent value. That is, cases that it hopes will scare other people and companies into complying with the law. Often that means cases with large price tags...more

7/29/2014 - Corporate Counsel Disgorgement Enforcement Enforcement Actions FCPA Gun Manufacturers Penalties Popular Prejudgment Interest SEC Smith & Wesson

Foreign Pink Sheets Companies and the FCPA

Penny stock companies have been much in the news recently. They can be tough entities for law enforcement to look into given that their officers and directors are often not inclined to cooperate with government...more

7/21/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Actions FCPA Foreign Corporations Popular White Collar Crimes

Three Thoughts about FINRA’s Weird Japanese Insider Trading Case

One of the things you’re not supposed to do if you’re in the securities business – or any business, really – is buy and sell securities on the basis of material, nonpublic information in breach of a duty not to do so. The...more

7/15/2014 - Enforcement Actions FINRA Fraud Insider Trading Japan Popular SEC

The SEC v. Congress . . . for the Title

You don’t see this every day. On Friday, the SEC filed a subpoena enforcement action seeking production of documents from the House Ways and Means Committee and documents and testimony from one of its staff members, Brian...more

6/23/2014 - CMS Enforcement Enforcement Actions Mary Jo White Medicare Medicare Advantage SEC Ways and Means Committee

SEC Files First Whistleblower Retaliation Case

Well, you can’t say Sean McKessy didn’t warn you. The chief of the SEC’s whistleblower office has been warning for months at least that his group was looking to bring a stand-alone case enforcing the anti-retaliation...more

6/18/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions Hiring & Firing Popular SEC Whistleblowers

Judge Rakoff Reversed by Second Circuit on SEC-Citi case, Still Sort of Wins

You’d be forgiven if you’d forgotten at this point, but way back in Obama’s first term, the SEC once investigated and sued Citigroup for its involvement in a collateralized debt obligation deal. As the SEC said in its...more

6/5/2014 - Chevron Deference Citigroup Collateralized Debt Obligations Consent Decrees Enforcement Enforcement Actions Interlocutory Appeals Judge Rakoff Popular Risk Management SEC SEC v Citigroup Settlement

SEC Enters into First Non-Prosecution Agreement with an Individual

One of the main questions I get from potential insider trading defendants is some variation of Well, what are we looking at here? That is, if the SEC is able to prove its case, what could the consequences be? Unfortunately,...more

4/29/2014 - eBay Enforcement Actions Non-Prosecution Agreements Personal Liability SEC

Two Thoughts about Dewey LeBoeuf and Parallel Proceedings

You’ve probably read about the Manhattan district attorney’s office’s indictment of executives at former Big Law giant Dewey LeBoeuf. According to the WSJ Law Blog, the crux is this: “[F]ormer Dewey Chairman Steven...more

3/20/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Actions Parallel Claims SEC

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