SEC names new market abuse unit co-chiefs

SEC Building

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that Robert Cohen and Joseph Sansone have been named co-chiefs of the Division of Enforcement’s Market Abuse Unit, a national specialized unit that focuses on complex insider trading rings and other abusive trading schemes and misconduct.

The two have served as the unit’s acting co-chiefs since the departure last month of Daniel Hawke, its inaugural chief.

Mr. Cohen led the investigation of the New York Stock Exchange’s improper distribution of market data feeds that resulted in the SEC’s first penalty against a stock exchange. He supervises an ongoing action against a Bulgarian trader for manipulating stocks through false SEC EDGAR filings and insider trading actions involving tips passed by post-it notes at Grand Central Terminal. He also supervised the first cases charging violations of the Market Access Rule.

Mr. Sansone’s work includes actions charging 34 defendants in a scheme to trade on nonpublic information hacked from newswire services,expert networks cases against corporate insiders who provided trading tips to hedge fund clients, and failure-to-supervise charges against SAC Capital’s founder. Mr. Sansone also supervised a recent proceeding against a dark pool operator that misused subscriber trading informationand together with Mr. Cohen, oversaw the SEC’s action against the Direct Edge exchanges for failing to describe complex order types.

“Rob and Joe are great partners and colleagues with deep knowledge in this critical area of our enforcement program,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “As the Market Abuse Unit’s co-deputy chiefs, the two were deeply involved in groundbreaking and first-of-their-kind cases involving market structure and abusive trading schemes and I am confident that as co-chiefs they will continue their great work in protecting investors and the fair, orderly, and efficient function of our markets.”

Mr. Cohen said, “I am impressed every day by the dedication, expertise, and determination of the attorneys and specialists in the Market Abuse Unit. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to work with Joe and our colleagues in this exciting new role.”

Mr. Sansone said, “Since its inception, the members of the Market Abuse Unit have demonstrated incredible ingenuity and perseverance in unraveling sprawling trading schemes and tackling market structure cases involving great technical complexity. I am very honored to have been selected along with Rob to help lead this talented and dedicated team.”

Before joining the SEC in 2004, Mr. Cohen worked for six years as a litigation associate at two national law firms in New York and Baltimore and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alexander Williams Jr. on the U.S. District Court in Maryland. Mr. Cohen received his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1997 and his undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University in 1994.

Mr. Sansone joined the SEC in 2007 after working for nearly six years as a litigation associate in New York and serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Mr. Sansone received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000 and his undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1997.

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