Securities Enforcement & Regulatory Matters
Federal regulatory agencies (SEC, CFTC, IRS, FDIC, Congressional committees, agency Inspectors General, etc.) and their state counterparts increasingly are given expanded powers that encourage expansive government investigations and enforcement actions. Businesses and individuals confronted by such agencies turn to Stetler & Rotert, Ltd. to assure that they respond accurately and carefully to requests for information and to preserve important investment and licensing interests.
SR successfully represented the former Treasurer of Nicor, the suburban Chicago natural gas utility. Our client, along with Nicor’s CEO and COO, was charged by the SEC with multiple violations of federal securities laws. The SEC sought a statutory fine, a permanent injunction, a lifetime ban, restitution, and disgorgement. All legal claims against our client were dismissed at the Motion to Dismiss stage and, after years of discovery, almost all remaining equitable claims were dismissed by Summary Judgment. The sole remaining claim (for disgorgement) was resolved predicated upon non-fraud allegations to which our client was not required to admit. SEC v. Fisher, et al.
SR represents a senior oil trader for a Fortune 100 energy company who is the target of a CFTC fraud and manipulation investigation involving North American crude oil. In this and other matters, SR calls on its extensive experience litigating issues relating to trading in commodities and futures on Chicago’s exchanges.
The SEC initiated an investigation of ConAgra Foods, Inc. and several of its senior executives regarding ConAgra’s allegedly improper accounting of hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves. We successfully defended the highest-ranking executive named in that investigation, resulting in a simple cease and desist order.
Numerous executives, employees and board members of publicly-traded companies engage SR for help in connection with SEC investigations of insider trading allegations and other violations of the federal securities laws. SR clients are associated with America’s leading corporations, including PepsiCo, R.R. Donnelly, Credit Suisse First Boston, Bear Stearns, Sabratek, AllState, Enron Energy Corporation, and Anicom.
Stetler & Rotert, Ltd. represents senior officers and directors of banks and other financial institutions in responding to investigations and enforcement actions brought by banking regulators, such as the FDIC, OCC and OTS. In just one example, SR represented the CFO of a multi-billion dollar Chicago-area bank in connection with allegations concerning the overvaluation of the bank’s real estate loan portfolio. In another instance, SR represented executives of Washington Mutual (WaMu) in connection with the Senate investigation concerning WaMu’s collapse and the role of mortgage-backed securities in the collapse of the banking sector in general.
Private investment funds, and particularly hedge funds, have garnered heightened scrutiny from federal regulators in recent years. SR lawyers frequently are called on to respond to aggressive enforcement actions, including injunctions and restraints on financial transactions, and we have counseled several principals of investment pools and private placement funds during SEC and state enforcement litigation.