Stephen J. Crimmins

scrimmins@mmlawus.com
1185 Avenue of the Americas
21st Floor
New York, NY 10036
T: (212) 880-3624
1001 G Street, N.W.
Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20001
T: (202) 661-7031

Steve Crimmins defends clients in enforcement matters involving the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial regulators.

Steve is consistently ranked at the top of his practice area.  Best Lawyers in America named him the “Securities Regulation Lawyer of the Year for New York City” based on a 2017 survey of New York peers.  Chambers USA ranks him among the top twenty securities enforcement lawyers nationally, calling him in 2019 a “real leader of the SEC enforcement Bar,” and reporting in 2018 that “you will find no one who knows more about how to litigate at the SEC.”  Securities Docket has repeatedly given him its Enforcement 40 award for being among the nation’s “best and brightest securities enforcement defense attorneys.”

Steve chaired both the Federal Bar Association’s Securities Law Section, and the DC Bar’s Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section.  He has testified three times before the U.S. House of Representatives, most recently in June 2019 at a Financial Services Committee hearing on SEC enforcement and cryptocurrency regulation, and twice during the financial crisis.  He regularly speaks on securities law panels, is quoted in the national business news media, and appears on business television and radio programs.  He writes on securities topics, including a scholarly article “Insider Trading: Where Is the Line?” in the Columbia Business Law Review that was favorably reviewed in The Economist.  He has repeatedly guest-taught law classes on insider trading and other SEC topics at Columbia and Georgetown in recent years, and in late 2018 on cryptocurrency regulation at GW Law.

During 14 years at the SEC, Steve managed the Enforcement Division’s large Trial Unit in prosecuting jury and non-jury securities cases in federal court and administrative proceedings, while also participating in investigations and settlements.  First joining the SEC as a senior trial counsel in Washington, Steve continued to personally litigate and try cases after promotion to Enforcement Division leadership and the Senior Executive Service.  He earned the SEC-wide Productivity Improvement Award for his management skills.  A Brooklyn native, he began his career at a large New York law firm after graduating from Columbia Law School.

Since returning to private practice well over a decade ago, Steve has helped many entities and individuals successfully resolve securities enforcement matters.  He is presently defending clients in SEC litigation in the federal courts in New York, Boston and Baltimore, and in private securities litigation in federal and state court in New York.  In August 2019, he tried an SEC administrative proceeding, now in post-trial briefing.  In another administrative proceeding, he won unanimous affirmance by the SEC Commissioners on expanded grounds of his defense trial victory, achieving dismissal of fraud charges against a large custodial services company.  He also achieves negotiated outcomes without litigation, including recent settled SEC insider trading charges and FINRA market manipulation charges.  He recently served as “pool” counsel for over 30 individuals during internal and follow-on SEC investigations of a public company.  And he regularly teams with other law firms as securities co-counsel.

Steve defends the full range of enforcement issues – including financial reporting, accounting, disclosures, insider trading, funds, advisers, trading rules, manipulation, complex products, FCPA, professional bars – and more recently cryptocurrency and cybersecurity matters.  He provides strategic representation before and during investigations.  He advocates in meetings with regulators, white papers, Wells submissions, and settlement negotiations.  And where matters must be contested, he fights for clients in trials and appeals in federal court and administrative proceedings.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended the nation’s leading self-directed IRA custodian at a two-week trial before an SEC ALJ resulting in a decision dismissing all charges, and then obtained a unanimous decision by the SEC Commissioners affirming this trial win on expanded grounds.  Matter of Equity Trust Company, 2017 WL 4335067 (Sept. 28, 2017).

    Currently representing clients in initial coin offering and cryptocurrency investigations by SEC Enforcement, and in an SEC investigation of cyber breach at a broker-dealer.

    Currently defending a former senior corporate officer in an SEC federal court jury case charging revenue recognition violations.  SEC v. Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., 2017 WL 5067468 (D. Md., filed Nov. 3, 2017).

    Currently defending a securities trader in a recently-filed SEC federal court jury case charging record-keeping violations.  SEC v. Mattessich and Ludovico, 2018 WL 3207310 (S.D.N.Y., filed June 29, 2018).

    Settled without admissions FINRA “layering and spoofing” manipulation charges against alleged controlling person of two funds pursuing so-called global day trading strategies.  FINRA AWC 2012031480722 (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 18, 2018, p. B1).

    As lead trial counsel, settled one day before trial without admissions in SEC proceeding relating to investment adviser’s recommendations to public pension plans.  Matter of Gray Financial Group, Inc., 2017 WL 5624487 (Nov. 22, 2017).

    Settled without admissions, without professional bar, and in an administrative order, an SEC insider trading case against an attorney.  2018 WL 3993822 (Aug. 21, 2018).

    Currently representing numerous present and former executives and management employees of a substantial public company as witnesses in an ongoing and active SEC enforcement investigation dealing with revenue recognition issues at the company.

    Following an SEC Wells Submission, obtained “closing letter” declining to bring charges against senior executive of financial services firm, which had settled an administrative proceeding relating to mutual fund share class recommendations, Matter of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., 2017 WL 4064192 (Sept. 14, 2017).

    Represented major liquidity provider in AWC resolution of FINRA matter involving OATS reporting, and MRV resolution relating to Reg SHO issues (Oct. 17, 2017).  Also represented client in cautionary letter resolution of NYSE investigation relating to maintenance of quotations (May 11, 2017).

    Orally argued and briefed successful motion to dismiss federal and state RICO and common law fraud claims in Florida state court, Goldberg v. Kanegis et al., Case No. 13-22491 (Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, Complex Business Litigation Division) (Nov. 12, 2016).

    Represented managing director of private equity adviser in SEC investigation and in no-admission settlement by the firm and four executives of case alleging omissions relating to conflicts of interest and payments to affiliates, Matter of Fenway Partners, LLC, 2015 WL 6689228 (Nov. 3, 2015).

    As lead appellate counsel, presented oral argument and submitted briefs that persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to reverse summary judgment against investment adviser’s general counsel in the first litigated insider trading case involving fund shares, SEC v. Bauer, 723 F.3d 758 (7th Cir. 2013). On remand to the trial court, obtained summary judgment dismissing the remainder of the case, 2014 WL 4267412 (Aug. 29, 2014).

    Represented executive at a major financial services firm in written and oral submissions that resulted in an SEC “closing letter” terminating investigation as to client without charges in matter involving the structuring and marketing of several collateralized debt obligation transactions, Matter of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., 2013 WL 6503674 (December 12, 2013).

    Achieved successful settlement for outside directors of Morgan Keegan-related funds on the eve of trial in an SEC administrative proceeding involving valuation of debt securities lacking readily available market quotations, Matter of Alderman, 2013 WL 2646182 (June 13, 2013).