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Ian Roffman quoted by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in “Stay no longer a certainty in joint SEC investigations”

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05.15.2014

Ian Roffman, a partner in the firm’s Securities Enforcement and Litigation practice group, was quoted by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in “Stay no longer a certainty in joint SEC investigations” on May 15. The article discusses the ruling in Securities and Exchange Commission v. K2 Unlimited, Inc., et. al. in which U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf denied a defense request to suspend a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suit over the fraudulent sale of fictitious investment instruments against defendant Diane Glatfelter while U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz prosecuted Glatfelter for wire fraud. Glatfelter unsuccessfully moved for a stay until the end of her criminal case, scheduled for trial in September before U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, when the SEC announced its intention to depose her on May 1.

Ian, a former senior trial counsel for the SEC’s Boston office, points out that until recently, it was not only defendants requesting stays as the SEC routinely asked the court to put its cases on hold in favor of a criminal action; however, those days are over. “It rarely happens – at least in this district – anymore because judges simply won’t allow it,” he said. “It was the SEC’s view that it would let the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecute the criminal case, and depending on how it was resolved, it would often have a big impact on how its own case was disposed.”

He notes that the SEC frequently filed jointly with federal prosecutors to more easily obtain an asset freeze or other relief and that that point, the parties would typically agree to let the criminal matter drive the proceedings. “But in the past few years, we’ve seen a number of instances in which judges said to the SEC, ‘If you’re going to bring a case, you should expect to prosecute that case,’” he said. “You can’t simply file a case with the expectation that you can sit on your hands and not follow through on an action that you started.”

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