Stephen J. Crimmins
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, based on peer reviews.  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, and ranks him nationally for both securities litigation and securities regulation.  Chambers USA ranks him nationally for “complex and sensitive SEC enforcement actions and investigations on behalf of public companies and broker dealers,” with “significant strength in financial fraud and accounting issues.”  Chambers reports that peers call him a “real leader of the SEC enforcement Bar” (2019) and “a wonderful guy, steeped in securities law” (2020), and comment that “you will find no one who knows more about how to litigate at the SEC” (2018).  Securities Docket has repeatedly given him its Enforcement 40 award as 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 2019 at a Financial Services Committee hearing on SEC enforcement reforms and on cryptocurrency regulation, and twice during the financial crisis.  He regularly speaks on securities law panels and is quoted in the national business news media on SEC enforcement issues.  He writes on a variety of securities topics, including a scholarly article “Insider Trading: Where Is the Line?” in the Columbia Business Law Review that was noted in The Economist.  He has in recent years repeatedly guest-taught law classes on SEC enforcement topics at Columbia Law School and Georgetown Law Center.

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 ongoing SEC multi-party investigations, as well as in SEC litigation and shareholder litigation now pending in federal and state courts in New York, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere, and in SEC administrative proceedings.  In 2019, he was lead trial counsel in an SEC administrative proceeding in Washington DC in a case charging frontrunning, and settled SEC litigation in federal court in Baltimore in a revenue recognition matter.  In another SEC administrative proceeding, he won unanimous affirmance by the SEC Commissioners on expanded grounds of his trial victory dismissing fraud charges against a large custodial services company.  While prepared to litigate, he 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 public company officers and employees during internal and follow-on SEC investigations of revenue recognition issues.  He regularly teams with other law firms as securities co-counsel.

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

Representative Matters

  • Lead trial counsel in August 2019 in the trial of an SEC administrative proceeding alleging front-running by an investment adviser.  Matter of Gibson, SEC File No. 3-17184

    Obtained a non-fraud and no-admission settlement for senior corporate officer in October 2019 at the conclusion of pretrial discovery in a litigated SEC federal court case charging revenue recognition fraud.  SEC v. Jacoby (Osiris Therapeutics), 2017 WL 5067468 (D. Md.).

    Pool counsel for over 30 non-charged executives and employees during investigations leading to a settled SEC case filed in September 2019 involving a public company’s financial reporting.  Matter of ComScore Inc., SEC File No. 3-19499.

    Counsel for investment adviser in pending SEC case, filed August 2019, involving revenue sharing disclosure issues.  SEC v. Commonwealth Financial, 19-cv-11655 (D. Mass.).

    Successfully defended the nation’s leading self-directed IRA custodian at a multi-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).

    Settled SEC federal court charges in December 2019 against a securities trader involving alleged record-keeping violations.  SEC v. Mattessich and Ludovico, 2018 WL 3207310 (S.D.N.Y.).

    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 (reported in 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).

    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).