BuckleySandler LLP is proud to support the Law Firm Sustainability Network. The firm believes that by working collaboratively with others in the legal industry, it can have an ever greater impact on preserving the environment. In that spirit, BuckleySandler has joined the Law Firm Sustainability Network and support its mission to develop key performance indicators, foster knowledge-sharing, develop best practice guidelines, and recognize innovation regarding environmental sustainability.
Look Before You Invest: Bitcoins, Virtual Currencies, Emerging Payment Products, and Regulatory Compliance
Margo H.K. Tank, Michael Zeldin, and Ian C.B. Spear, attorneys with BuckleySandler LLP in Washington DC, advise financial institutions on electronic financial services, mobile payments, prepaid access and virtual payment methods, in the areas of anti-money laundering, privacy, trade sanctions, and regulatory compliance.
Emerging payment products, such as Bitcoin, present tantalizing investment opportunities. The claim that these products are “unregulatable,” or “free of the power of the state” increases the temptation to participate, because if true, regulatory uncertainty associated with traditional financial industries would be eliminated. Notwithstanding these claims, virtual currency laws and regulations seem primed to explode. Acknowledging that “virtual currency systems offer ‘legitimate’ financial services,” the Department of Justice, for example, has investigated and prosecuted illegal activities involving virtual currencies. As a result, risk-related issues like money laundering, terrorist financing, and economic and trade sanctions remain critical to evaluating investments in emerging payment products. To understand why, consider how the emerging payments industry is regulated now and what additional regulation might emerge.
BuckleySandler is pleased to announce today that Richard E. Gottlieb, a highly regarded class action defense litigator with over 25 years of experience, has joined the firm as a Partner. Fredrick S. Levin, a notable class action and securities litigator, and Brett J. Natarelli, a consumer financial services litigator, will be joining the firm as a Partner and an Associate respectively. Gottlieb and Levin will be co-located in BuckleySandler’s Los Angeles and soon-to-be-opened Chicago office and Natarelli will be resident in the firm’s Chicago office.
“Richard and I have worked together on client matters for almost 20 years. He is one of the country’s most accomplished class action litigators serving banks, mortgage companies and other consumer financial services firms and we are fortunate to have him join our team. Richard, Fredrick and Brett are talented and multifaceted financial services litigators who will complement our national platform and expand our capability to represent clients in major class action cases, ‘bet the company’ litigation and enforcement matters particularly in California and Illinois, two very important jurisdictions for financial services litigation,” said Andrew L. Sandler, Chairman and Executive Partner of BuckleySandler LLP. “Their expertise in consumer class action litigation defense, government enforcement actions and regulatory compliance will provide great value to our clients.”
“We are thrilled to join one of the nation’s most distinguished financial services law firms and to help expand its national litigation, enforcement and regulatory compliance practices,” noted Gottlieb. “BuckleySandler has an unparalleled consumer litigation, enforcement, compliance and transactional practice and is an ideal place to grow my practice and bring enhanced value to clients.” Read more…
On May 28, 2013, Benjamin K. Olson, former Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), joined BuckleySandler LLP as Counsel in the firm’s Washington, DC office. A recognized expert in the field of consumer financial protection regulation, Ben brings his valuable insights and broad experience on regulatory matters based on his experience at the CFPB, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As he makes the transition to private practice, he’s excited about what lies ahead and has fond memories of his past eight years in government service. He shares some added professional and personal insights in this week’s InfoBytes Spotlight.
InfoBytes: Why did you decide to join BuckleySandler?
Benjamin K. Olson: For a number of reasons, BuckleySandler was a natural fit and, at the end of the day, an easy choice. First, it’s a leading firm in the financial services field with a talented and experienced team already in place. I know all too well from my experience in government that the range of issues financial institutions face are far too complex for any one person to handle alone. For that reason, it was important to me to join a group whose expertise could compliment my own. Read more…
BuckleySandler LLP today announced that Benjamin K. Olson, former Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Regulations at the CFPB, has joined the firm as Counsel in its Washington, DC office. A recognized expert in the field of consumer financial protection regulation, Olson will bring valuable insights and broad experience on regulatory matters based on his experience at the CFPB, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Trade Commission. Most recently, he supervised the CFPB’s mortgage and credit card rulemakings, including those implementing provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Olson will play an integral role in the firm’s Government Enforcement/CFPB practice, handling financial services matters at the intersection of consumer protection and government regulation to provide advice and guidance to clients on government investigations and enforcement actions.
While at the CFPB, Olson managed over 40 regulatory attorneys and staff in the Bureau’s Office of Regulations, which is responsible for researching and analyzing complex legal and policy issues, drafting proposed and final rules and providing guidance to supervision and enforcement staff regarding consumer financial protection laws. Most recently, he oversaw eight Dodd-Frank Act mortgage rulemakings, including the CFPB’s Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage, Mortgage Servicing and Loan Originator Compensation final rules. Prior to that, he led the CFPB’s preparation of proposed regulations and forms integrating federal mortgage disclosures. Read more…
On February 21, the NEP published its examination priorities for 2013. The NEP’s market-wide priorities include (i) fraud detection and prevention, (ii) corporate governance and enterprise risk management, (iii) conflicts of interest, and (iv) technology. The NEP also identifies priorities for its (i) investment advisers and investment companies, (ii) broker-dealers, (iii) clearing and transfer agents, and (iv) market oversight program areas. For example, for the investment advisers and investment companies program area, the NEP plans to focus on certain ongoing risks including (i) safety of assets, (ii) marketing and performance advertising, and (iii) fund governance, as well as certain new and emerging risks.
The Evolution of False Claims Act and FIRREA Enforcement
BuckleySandler LLP will host a webinar on Friday, November 16, 2012, from 1:00 – 2:15 PM ET, focused on the Government’s most recent financial fraud enforcement actions, an overview of recent False Claims Act (FCA) cases and the Government’s increasing use of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), and what this means for financial institutions that do business with the Government, Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), and other recipients of federal funds.
- A summary of recent enforcement actions by the DOJ, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s (SDNY) use and expansion of FCA and FIRREA.
- Understanding what the SDNY’s most recent lawsuits mean for the industry.
- Challenges facing financial services companies who do business with the Government and the GSEs.
- Predictions about where the Government may go from here.
This webinar will be of particular interest to in-house legal, compliance, and risk management personnel at banks and other financial services providers that do business with the Government, GSEs and other recipients of federal funds. Please no outside law firms, government agency personnel, consulting firms, or media. After registering and being approved, you will receive a confirmation email containing instructions for joining the webinar. Click here to register.
The CFPB: Investigations and Enforcement Actions in Focus
On Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 2:00-3:15 PM E, BuckleySandler LLP will host a webinar to discuss the CFPB’s rules governing investigations, enforcement actions, and adjudications. BuckleySandler attorneys Jeff Naimon, Jonice Gray Tucker, and Lori Sommerfield, also will discuss themes prevalent in the first three public enforcement actions undertaken by the CFPB, all of which were predicated, in part, on allegations of unfair and deceptive practices.
This webinar will be of particular interest to in-house legal, compliance, and risk management personnel at banks and other financial services providers subject to CFPB oversight. Please no outside law firms, government agency personnel, consulting firms, or media. After registering and being approved, you will receive a confirmation email containing instructions for joining the webinar. Click here to register.
In a recent article published in Law360, BuckleySandler partners Thomas Sporkin and Robyn Quattrone, and associate Kendra Kinnaird, write about SEC enforcement proceedings and provide tips for minimizing missteps when interfacing with SEC staff. Counsel’s conduct and interactions with SEC staff prior to, during and following any type of informal or formal investigation can have a huge impact on the staff’s treatment and management of the proceeding. The authors review recent statements from senior government officials and examples from recent enforcement proceedings and explain that, while courtesy and professionalism will not avoid actions where they are warranted, mismanaging interactions with staff can make matters worse and even seemingly small and simple mistakes can be costly to the reputations (and wallets) of clients. To aid practitioners and companies facing an SEC investigation, the authors provide best practices for counseling clients and interacting with SEC staff prior to the filing of a formal SEC enforcement action, including tips for developing compliance programs, presenting internal investigation results, and negotiating penalties and other settlement provisions.
On June 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that mere notice from a borrower does not extend the three-year period for filing an action for rescission under TILA. Rosenfield v. HSBC Bank, USA, No. 10-1442, 2012 WL 2087193 (10th Cir. Jun 11, 2012). In so holding, the unanimous three-judge panel rejected the position of the amicus brief filed by the CFPB and sided with the defendant-lender and three financial industry trade groups. Relying on Beach v. Ocwen Federal Bank, 523 U.S. 410 (1998), the Tenth Circuit emphasized that TILA’s three-year statute of repose was a strict limit on the time for filing suits for rescission. According to the court, an attempt to extend the period by filing a notice within the three-year period would be inconsistent with that strict limit. Furthermore, the court reasoned that adopting the borrower’s position would make TILA enforcement difficult and expensive, all while clouding title on foreclosed homes. This decision deepens an already-existent circuit split between the Ninth Circuit (which took the same approach as the Tenth Circuit) and the Fourth Circuit (which concluded that notice within the three-year period was sufficient). The Eighth and Third Circuits currently are considering the same issue in pending cases.
BuckleySandler Continues Expansion With Addition of Andrew W. Schilling, Former Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York
BuckleySandler LLP today announced the addition of Andrew W. Schilling, former Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Schilling joins as a partner in the firm’s New York office. The arrival of Schilling coincides with that of Thomas A. Sporkin, Chief of the Office of Market Intelligence (OMI) at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Schilling and Mr. Sporkin bring significant expertise to the firm, particularly with respect to federal civil and criminal enforcement and securities investigations, the False Claims Act, Dodd-Frank and other whistleblower qui tam actions.
As Chief of the Civil Division, Mr. Schilling supervised one of the largest Civil Divisions in the country, with 57 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in eight specialized units. In this role, Mr. Schilling established the Office’s new Civil Frauds Unit, which investigates and prosecutes complex financial fraud cases, including mortgage fraud and health care fraud cases. Schilling directly supervised several nationally significant financial fraud lawsuits and investigations against major financial institutions and coordinated all parallel civil investigations with the Office’s Criminal Division. An experienced trial attorney both in private practice and in his 12 years as an Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Schilling has tried cases before juries and the bench in civil rights, organized crime, bankruptcy, employment discrimination, First Amendment and official misconduct cases, and represented the United States in more than a dozen appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
“As financial services and other corporate entities continue to grapple with increased scrutiny and regulations, it is important for our clients to have a team with broad experience in defending against complex enforcement and criminal prosecutions working on their behalf,” explained BuckleySandler Chairman and Executive Partner, Andrew L. Sandler. “Andrew and Tom have unique, in-depth knowledge and understanding of complex civil, criminal and enforcement matters and our clients will have the added benefit of access to the invaluable insights they both have to offer as former senior leaders in key government enforcement agencies.”
“Joining BuckleySandler was a natural choice for me given its nationally recognized and highly regarded government enforcement practice,” noted Schilling. “I look forward to joining the firm’s New York office and using my 20 years of experience litigating in the federal and state courts of New York to help the firm’s financial services and corporate clients navigate through sensitive investigations and complex litigations.”
BuckleySandler LLP and eight of its partners have received top rankings in Chambers USA, which ranks leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas throughout the United States based on in-depth client and peer research. This year, Chambers USA recognized BuckleySandler as “one of the preeminent legal brands in the consumer finance market,” and ranked it highly in both Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Enforcement & Investigations) and Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance). Chambers USA provided individual attorney recognition to seven partners in one or more of these Financial Services categories, recognized Andrew L. Sandler as a “Star Individual” in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation), and recognized David S. Krakoff in District of Columbia Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations.
According to Chambers USA, BuckleySandler is noted for “its impressive enforcement and litigation talent, and represents some of the world’s most high-profile financial institutions in a host of enforcement actions.” Chambers further highlights BuckleySandler’s regulatory work by saying “[the firm] was recently commissioned by a number of national banks to produce an exhaustive 50-state survey of all state and federal laws affecting lending businesses.”
“We are pleased that Chambers USA has once again ranked our firm and so many of our partners. This recognition is all the more meaningful because Chambers’ research methodology focuses on peer and client review and thereby validates our commitment to outstanding legal work and client service,” said BuckleySandler Chairman and Executive Partner, Andrew L. Sandler.
Specifically, their Chambers USA designations are as follows:
Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Enforcement & Investigations)
- Firm Ranked Band 2
- Andrew L. Sandler (Band 1)
- Benjamin B. Klubes (Band 3)
Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance)
- Firm Ranked Band 1
- Jeremiah S. Buckley (Band 1)
- Joseph M. Kolar (Band 1)
- Andrew L. Sandler (Band 1)
- John P. Kromer (Band 3)
- Jeffrey P. Naimon (Band 3)
- Clinton Rockwell (Band U – Up and Coming)
District of Columbia
Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations
- David S. Krakoff (Band 2)
Jeremiah S. Buckley is ranked as Band 1 in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance). Chambers says Mr. Buckley “is another example of the firm’s astonishing bench strength in the mortgage space. He is praised as “a reliable, quality counsel who is straightforward, candid and energetic.”
Benjamin B. Klubes is ranked as Band 3 in Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Enforcement & Investigations). Clients say Mr. Klubes is a “very talented litigation and enforcement expert” and “one of the real leaders in this space.”
Joseph M. Kolar is ranked as Band 1 in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance). Clients say that he “is singled out as one of the leading mortgage banking lawyers in the country, and noted for his strategic advice and encyclopedic knowledge of federal regulations. He assists mortgage lenders, servicers and insurers, and is ‘extraordinarily good at research and analysis.’”
David S. Krakoff is ranked as Band 2 in DC Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations. According to Chambers, “clients describe him as ‘a superb lawyer who is very dedicated.’”
John P. Kromer is ranked as Band 3 in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance). Clients report that “he is a joy to work with,” with one hailing him as “a true expert in the industry.”
Jeffrey P. Naimon is ranked as Band 3 in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance). Chambers quotes sources as saying Mr. Naimon is “certainly a thought leader” in the mortgage servicing space, with “his finger on the pulse of what is going on in the mortgage industry.”
Clinton R. Rockwell is ranked as “Up and Coming” in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance). Sources are quoted as saying, “it is one thing to provide strict legal advice but it is another to provide practical solutions, and [Mr. Rockwell] does a great job of that.”
Andrew L. Sandler is ranked as a Band 1 lawyer in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance), as a Band 1 lawyer in Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Enforcement & Investigations), and as a “Star Individual” in Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation). Chambers says that he “has consolidated his position as one of the leading financial services attorneys in the USA. His broad practice covers enforcement, litigation and compliance, with a focus on consumer finance and the mortgage industry. Sources consider him to be ‘probably the best fair lending lawyer in the country.’”
BuckleySandler to Expand Criminal & Civil Enforcement Practices with Addition of Thomas A. Sporkin, Chief of the Office of Market Intelligence at the SEC
On May 31, BuckleySandler announced that Thomas A. Sporkin, Chief of the Office of Market Intelligence (OMI) at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will join the firm as a partner, effective June 18. Sporkin spent 20 years at the SEC’s Division of Enforcement and established and led OMI for the past two and a half years. Under his leadership, OMI attorneys, accountants, and market surveillance specialists performed analysis and conducted investigations on intelligence collected from a variety of internal and external sources, including the SEC’s new Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Office. By January 2012, OMI’s partnership with the Enforcement Division’s specialized units, regional offices, and home office associate director groups was responsible for the origination of over half of all SEC investigations. In a recent New York Times article, Sporkin was noted as a rising star within the SEC, leading the agency’s efforts to sift through hundreds of pieces of intelligence a day, distilling the hottest tips into a daily intelligence report. (New York Times, May 21, 2012, http://nyti.ms/L24f4i) “With the addition of Tom, we will be even better able to assist our clients in navigating an increasingly challenging enforcement and regulatory environment. He brings significant expertise, particularly with respect to federal civil and criminal enforcement and securities investigations, the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, Dodd-Frank and other whistleblower qui tam actions,” explained BuckleySandler Chairman and Executive Partner, Andrew L. Sandler. “Our clients will have the benefit of access to the invaluable insights Tom has to offer and his arrival greatly strengthens our robust criminal and civil enforcement practice.”
Join Us! 2012 Fair Lending Today Conference on Compliance, Regulatory and Litigation Issues and the CFPB in Today’s Changing Enforcement Environment, hosted by BuckleySandler LLP.
2012 Panel Topics Include:
- Overview: A New Agency Emerges
- The Justice Department and Fair Lending: Disparate Impact Escapes Potential Elimination in Magner
- Mortgage Servicing Developments: The AG/DOJ Settlement, the CFPB, and Ongoing Enforcement
- Anatomy of a CFPB Enforcement Action
- The CFPB’s Fair Lending Agenda for Auto, Private Student Lenders, and Non-Secured Lending
- New CFPB Enforcement Priorities for Credit Cards
- Fair and Responsible Banking Risk Management Update
When: Monday, April 30, 2012
Where: The Fairmont Hotel inWashington, DC
Registration required. This conference is open to all financial services companies and others subject to CFPB oversight. Please no outside law firms, government agency personnel, consultant firms or media. For more information visit http://www.fairlendingtoday.com/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, U.S. federal prosecutors abandoned one of the highest profile Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases ever brought by the DOJ. Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the government’s motion to dismiss foreign bribery charges against all remaining defendants facing charges from an FBI sting operation. The defendants were charged with paying bribes to a purported government official from the country of Gabon in connection with contracts to supply Gabon with military and law enforcement products. The government sting operation resulted in the arrests of twenty-two individuals at an industry trade show in Las Vegas in 2010.
BuckleySandler represented John Mushriqui in the case, and in January successfully obtained a mistrial for Mr. Mushriqui following a nearly four-month jury trial after a federal jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict for Mr. Mushriqui and two other defendants, including his sister Jeana Mushriqui.
The mistrial ruling followed the same jury’s acquittal of two other defendants, Judge Leon’s acquittal of another defendant in December 2011, and a July 2011 mistrial involving four other defendants involved in the sting. Between the two Gabon sting trials to date, three defendants were acquitted and seven proceeded to a hung jury. In the face of these outcomes, the government decided to abandon the case with regard to all remaining defendants and will not seek to re-try the defendants whose previous trials ended in a mistrial. The government stated in its motion that it had “carefully considered (1) the outcomes of the first two trials in which, after extensive deliberations, the juries remained hung as to seven defendants and acquitted two defendants, and one defendant was acquitted on the sole charge against him pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 29; (2) the impact of certain evidentiary and other legal rulings in the first two trials and the implications of those rulings for future trials, including with respect to Rule 404(b) and other knowledge and intent evidence the government proposed to introduce; and (3) the substantial governmental resources, as well as judicial, defense, and jury resources, that would be necessary to proceed with another four or more trials, given that the first two trials combined lasted approximately six months. In light of all of the foregoing, the government respectfully submits that continued prosecution of this case is not warranted under the circumstances.”
BuckleySandler’s David Krakoff, who represented Mr. Mushriqui at trial along with counsel Lauren Randell, responded to the dismissal stating, “We are extremely pleased that the Department of Justice has decided to do the right thing by moving to dismiss the Indictment against our client John Mushriqui, ending his two year nightmare. We recognize that this was a difficult decision given the substantial resources that the government invested in this case. It’s really hard to take on the government, but when you believe in your innocence and fight for your freedom, these cases can be won. Ultimately, the system worked for John Mushriqui. John can start the rest of his life today with his good name intact.”
On February 9, EverBank announced it had reached an agreement to acquire MetLife Bank’s Warehouse Finance business. The acquisition, which is expected to close in the first half of 2012, will leverage EverBank’s residential lending expertise and increase EverBank’s assets by approximately $400 million. The acquisition has been approved by both parties’ boards of directors and remains subject to regulatory approvals. EverBank is being advised by the law firms of Alston & Bird LLP and BuckleySandler LLP and the investment banking firm of Goldman, Sachs & Co.