FINRA suspends London based Chief Compliance Officer

Overview Laidlaw & Company, a U.K. based independent investment banking and securities brokerage entered into Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with FINRA on July 15, 2021. Also, party to the AWC was Laidlaw’s Chief Compliance Officer John Coolong. By entering into the AWS, Laidlaw and Coolong end a long running investigation by neither […]

SEC affirms FINRA decision to fine CCO $5K.

Late last year the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released an opinion affirming a FINRA decision to fine a CCO for “failure to enforce WSP” (written supervisory procedures). The firm, Ocean Cross had approximately 15 associated persons and two principals in two offices between September 8, 2011 and April 30, 2012—the relevant period in this […]

Former Vitol trader indicted on FCPA charges.

In the first of what is thought to be many Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) charges to be brought to the energy trading community, a former Vitol trader was indicted on FCPA charges by the Department of Justice (DoJ). A previously sealed indictment (see here) was unsealed yesterday outlining the government’s case against Javier Aguilar. […]

U.S. Supreme Court upholds SEC’s ability to use disgorgement, but with modifications.

Overview At issue are three terms, equitable relief, disgorgement, and penalty. If one were to not burden oneself with defining terms and their context, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seek disgorgement as a remedy in their civil actions under an equitable relief construct. However, the calculation […]

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission updates its Enforcement Manual

Civil Monetary Penalty Guidance On May 28, 2020 James McDonald, Director of Enforcement at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) gave a speech at the Futures Industry Association addressing the issues of penalties and penalty guidance, following up on a memo to staff (see here). This marked the first time in 25 years the CFTC […]

Bitcoin and how not to be anonymous

As crypto currencies become more prevalent people are starting to figure out that crypto currencies do not necessarily provide anonymity. Case in point Maksim Boiko a.k.a. “Gangass”. On March 27, 2020 the Department of Justice unsealed an affidavit for a criminal complaint and arrest warrant against Mr. Boiko alleging conspiracy to commit money laundering. In […]

FinCen accesses a civil penalty of $450,000 against a former risk officer

Overview On March 4, 2020 issued a settlement agreement with U.S. Bank’s former Chief Operational Risk Officer Michael LaFontaine whereby FinCen fined Mr. LaFontaine $450,000 and banned him from a compliance role for six years. The settlement agreements state the reason for the actions is due to “his failure to prevent violations of the Bank […]