New York Federal Prosecutors Indict Defendant in Connection with NFT Insider-Trading Scheme

Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York recently charged Nathan Chastain with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a purported scheme to illegally profit from sales and purchases of Non-Fungible Tokens (“NFTs”).[1]  This landmark criminal case marks the first time federal prosecutors have pursued criminal action to police insider trading in the NFT marketplace.

Chastain is a former employee of Ozone Networks,… More

Supreme Court Preview: The Supreme Court Poised to Address Key Federal Wire Fraud Issue

In the 2022-2023 term, the Supreme Court will address the definition of “property” under the federal wire fraud statute, which prohibits a person from “obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses.” 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The definition of “property” for the purposes of this statute has been much debated—need “property” be economic in nature?  Must it be tangible?  Can one’s admission to a university constitute “property”? … More

Second Circuit Affirms FCPA Acquittal of Former Alstom Executive

Key Takeaways:

  • The Second Circuit held that Hoskins, a foreign national, had not acted as an “agent for a domestic concern” and therefore fell outside of the jurisdictional reach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).
  • The ruling will make it more difficult for the Government to prosecute individuals located outside the United States under the FCPA.
  • Multinational companies should clearly and specifically define the scope of responsibilities and line of reporting for foreign executives located abroad whose roles relate to the operations of U.S.…
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First Circuit Narrows Whistleblower Protections of Sarbanes-Oxley

On July 13, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that the whistleblower protections contained in Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) do not apply to employees who report potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The ruling in Baker v. Smith & Wesson, Inc., 40 F.4th 43 (1st Cir. 2022) is the second recent decision narrowing the important whistleblower protections of the Act,… More

NY Department of Financial Services Slaps $30 Million Fine on Robinhood’s Crypto Platform for Lax Anti-Money Laundering Controls

On August 1, 2022, the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS” or the “Department”) secured its first enforcement win against a cryptocurrency platform, Robinhood’s crypto trading arm Robinhood Crypto, LLC.

Robinhood Crypto is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Robinhood Markets, Inc. (RHM).  RHM allows users to trade stocks on a commission-free basis through its broker-dealer subsidiary, Robinhood Financial, LLC (RHF).  Robinhood Crypto allows RHF customers to trade cryptocurrencies using customers’ U.S.… More

SEC and DOJ Bring First-Ever Crypto Insider Trading Actions


Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) have brought the first-ever insider trading actions involving cryptocurrency against a former manager of Coinbase, one of the largest U.S. crypto asset trading platforms, and two tippees for sharing or trading upon confidential information relating to the planned listing of various cryptocurrencies on Coinbase.
  • The SEC’s securities fraud charges are based on its longstanding position that certain cryptocurrencies are investment contracts and therefore “securities” subject to the SEC’s jurisdiction.…
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Russia Sanctions and Export Controls Update – July 6, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • OFAC imposes restrictions on the importation of gold from the Russian Federation
  • OFAC and the U.S. Department of State impose new sanctions on Russian entities and individuals with a focus on the Russian defense and aerospace industries
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security imposes additional export controls on entities identified as attempting to evade U.S. export controls and sanctions on Russia and issues a joint alert with FinCEN warning U.S.…
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ESG Enforcement Actions Underscore SEC Focus on Public Company and Investment Adviser Disclosure

Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Climate and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)Task Force has brought its first two enforcement actions for allegedly misleading ESG-related disclosures by a public company and an investment adviser, respectively.
  • The actions reflect the close and continuing focus on ESG by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement (Enforcement); more such actions are virtually certain to follow.
  • These cases also underscore the importance for issuers and advisers of mitigating the risk of ESG-related disclosure violations through robust internal controls and careful vetting of public statements about ESG impacts and investments.…
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SEC’s Expansion of Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit Signals Increased Enforcement Ahead

Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Division of Enforcement (Enforcement) announced that it will nearly double the size of its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit, making the Unit one of the largest within Enforcement.
  • The decision reflects the SEC’s increasing prioritization of cryptocurrency and cybersecurity enforcement.
  • Issuers of digital assets, crypto exchanges and lending platforms, and other industry participants should expect more frequent investigations and enforcement actions.…
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Russia and Belarus Sanctions and Export Controls Update – June 14, 2022

Key Takeaways:

US Actions:

  • The Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) imposes new restrictions on the export of certain industrial EAR99 items to Russia
  • OFAC extends expiration date for general licenses related to administrative transactions and issues general license authorizing the processing of pension payments to U.S. persons by Russian financial institutions
  • OFAC adds Russian government officials, oligarchs, and mining companies to the SDN List,…
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