The Securities and Exchange Commission closed fiscal year 2023 on Sept. 30 with a flurry of enforcement filings. A few things stand out, including a sharp increase in cryptocurrency and other digital asset enforcement actions, which far outstrips the agency’s activity in this space in earlier years. There was also a pronounced jump in enforcement focus on corporate internal controls, continuing a trend that started last fiscal year. Meanwhile, the SEC paid record whistleblower awards and stepped up its whistleblower protection efforts, highlighting their importance to the SEC’s enforcement program. On the other hand, ESG enforcement activity appeared to wane, which contrasts with the prominence SEC officials have given to ESG issues in speeches and proposed rulemaking. And SEC administrative proceedings suffered more blows in court challenges, which, while not appearing to slow the pace at which the SEC is filing enforcement cases, could have implications for the SEC’s efforts to regulate the professionals who practice and appear before it.
Dallas litigator Barrett Howell came to Blank Rome from Katten. Howell says the most significant trend he’s seeing in his white collar practice is the Department of Justice’s criminal health care fraud investigations and prosecutions.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges Monday against SolarWinds Corporation, an Austin publicly traded company that provides information infrastructure software used by thousands of businesses and government agencies, for alleged failures regarding cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities. The SEC’s complaint filed in New York that accuses SolarWinds and its chief information security officer, Timothy G. Brown, with making “materially false and misleading statements and omissions related to SolarWinds’ cybersecurity risks and practices in at least three types of public disclosures” between 2018 and 2020.
Quintan Cockerell was paid millions to steer doctors to write expensive, often needless, prescriptions to two Fort Worth pharmacies, federal investigators said. After a week of testimony and four days of deliberations, a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Karen Gren Scholer agreed on Thursday.
The subpoenaed criminal defense attorney, former federal prosecutor Richard Kuniansky, told The Lawbook the request from receiver Levi Benton, a former Harris County civil district judge, was “crazy,” and said if Benton is allowed access to the entire file it would have ramifications well beyond this case. The client, Ataa Shadi, was sued in civil court by duped investors who got a $3 million default judgment against him in 2020. He was indicted on related criminal fraud charges in May.
The defense lawyer for Quintan Cockerell says he did nothing illegal by telling doctors they should consider using the costly medications prepared by 2 pharmacies that paid Cockerell millions of dollars. The government says he was taking kickbacks for inducing doctors to send prescriptions to the pharmacies.
Kristin Najarian said her former husband, Quintan Cockerell, arranged for her to be put on the payroll of a Fort Worth pharmacy that, according to federal prosecutors, paid Cockerell millions of dollars in kickbacks. In one month alone, she said, she was paid $711,706.47 even though “I wasn’t working there.”
The co-owner of two Fort Worth pharmacies testified in federal court that Quintan Cockerell made “millions a month” by steering doctors to send in thousands of prescriptions for costly compounded medicines.
In a cease-and-desist order, state regulators bar BigWhale.io and two individuals based in the United Arab Emirates from offering unregistered, deceptive securities to Texans.
Environmental, social and governance considerations play an increasingly important role in M&A transactions. In any given deal, however, it can be challenging to qualitatively and quantitatively assess relevant ESG factors, perform appropriate levels of ESG due diligence and plan for appropriate remedial steps or capture ESG opportunities post-closing. M&A acquirers should seek experienced guidance on these considerations to enhance value, mitigate risks and better incorporate financial and non-financial measures into their deal evaluations.