Stephen J. Crimmins attorney profile image

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.

Peers rank Steve at the top of his practice areas.  US News-Best Lawyers in America named him the “Securities Regulation Lawyer of the Year for New York City” based on a 2017 peer survey, and also recognized his practice both for 2021 and again for 2022 as the national “Securities Regulation Law Firm of the Year,” ranking Steve for both securities litigation and securities regulation.  Chambers USA has ranked him nationally since 2009 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 peer comments that “Steve is terrific” (2021), “steeped in securities law” (2020), a “real leader of the SEC enforcement Bar” (2019), and that “you will find no one who knows more about how to litigate at the SEC” (2018).

Steve takes a leadership role in professional activities. He has 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 presents securities law panels and is quoted in national media on SEC enforcement issues. He writes on securities topics, including an academic article “Insider Trading: Where Is the Line?” in the Columbia Business Law Review (noted in The Economist), and in 2022 an article “Shadow Trading Becomes Insider Trading” in the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog. He has guest-taught law classes and symposia at Columbia, Georgetown and other law schools on SEC enforcement topics.

During 14 years at the SEC, Steve managed its Enforcement Division’s large Trial Unit in prosecuting jury and non-jury securities cases in federal court and administrative proceedings around the country, while also participating in investigations and settlements.  First joining the SEC as a senior trial counsel at Washington headquarters, 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, where he won his first trial two years out of Columbia Law School.

Since returning to private practice after his SEC service, Steve has helped many entities and individuals successfully resolve securities enforcement matters.  In 2021, he settled joint SEC-CFTC disclosure allegations against a financial services firm, and he also obtained SEC staff agreement to close a municipal securities investigation of a firm and its president.  In 2020, he obtained a “closing letter” dropping an SEC insider trading investigation of a hospitality industry CEO, and he represented a financial services CCO not charged in a matter settled by his firm.  In 2019, he tried a two-week SEC ALJ trial charging frontrunning, and following two years of federal court litigation, he also settled SEC revenue recognition charges against a former CEO without an officer-director bar and dropping all scienter allegations.  As pool counsel in 2018-19, he represented over 30 officers and employees, none charged, in internal and follow-on SEC investigations of revenue recognition charges settled by their public company.  In 2018, he settled FINRA “layering and spoofing” charges against the controlling person of funds pursuing global day-trading strategies, and he also settled insider trading charges against an attorney without admissions or professional bars.  In 2017, he won unanimous Commission affirmance of his two-week SEC ALJ trial victory dismissing fraud charges against a large custodial services company.  

He is presently defending entities and individuals in ongoing SEC investigations and in federal court and administrative litigation around the country.  Among other areas of focus, he is presently advocating for clients in matters raising mutual fund revenue sharing issues, public company revenue recognition issues, investment fund disclosure issues, securities trading issues, insider trading issues, and the full range of securities enforcement issues.  He also teams with other law firms, domestic and international, as their securities enforcement co-counsel.

Representative Matters

  • 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)