Former Federal Prosecutor, SEC Branch Chief Joins Akin Gump in New York
(New York, New York) – Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Asaro has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as a partner in the litigation practice in New York, the firm announced today. Mr. Asaro is the 14th former federal prosecutor to join the firm’s white-collar criminal defense practice. He will focus on SEC investigations, white collar criminal defense, corporate internal investigations and commercial litigation.
Immediately prior to joining Akin Gump, Mr. Asaro served for five years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York, most recently as deputy chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Section. He previously served for four years as an enforcement attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and as a branch chief.
“Michael’s dual experience at the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s Office provides him with the rare insight that companies and their executives require in this environment of heightened government scrutiny,” said Steve Pesner, head of Akin Gump’s New York litigation practice and a member of the firm’s executive committee. “He is a significant addition to our highly successful white-collar and securities regulatory practices.”
At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Asaro prosecuted numerous complex and high-profile securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery and money laundering cases. He was the lead prosecutor responsible for several such cases, including United States v. William G. Brown, et al. (prosecution of over a dozen defendants who participated in $20 million “boiler room” securities fraud scheme), United States v. Guillaume Pollet (first criminal insider trading case involving PIPE transactions), United States v. Frank Furino (prosecution of NYSE floor clerk for bribery and insider trading) and United States v. Kenneth E. Mahaffy, Jr., et al. (front-running prosecution involving stockbrokers from several major brokerage firms).
As a branch chief in the SEC’s New York office, Mr. Asaro oversaw a wide variety of regulatory investigations and enforcement actions. He was the lead counsel for many of these investigations, including a market manipulation investigation that resulted in fraud charges against a billion-dollar mutual fund and a financial fraud investigation that resulted in a settled regulatory action against a major health insurance company. Also during his tenure at the SEC, Mr. Asaro was appointed as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he was part of the trial team that successfully prosecuted the former CEO of a publicly traded company who orchestrated a multimillion-dollar “pump and dump” securities fraud scheme.
Mr. Asaro received his B.S. in 1995 from Boston University and his J.D. magna cum laude in 1998 from Brooklyn Law School, where he served as the editor in chief of the Brooklyn Journal of International Law.
Mr. Asaro stated, “I was well aware of Akin Gump’s stellar reputation, even before joining the firm, from my years as a white-collar prosecutor and SEC enforcement attorney. I am honored to be joining the firm and look forward to working closely with its team of first-rate litigators, including my friends and former colleagues at the Justice Department, Rich Zabel, Jim Benjamin, Doug Maynard, Robert Hotz and Samidh Guha.”
Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 900 lawyers with offices in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Taipei and Washington. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; appellate; banking and finance; capital markets; communications and information technology; corporate and securities; corporate governance; employee benefits; energy; entertainment and media; environmental; financial restructuring; global security; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international trade; investment funds; labor and employment; land use; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; private client services; private equity; privatization; project development and finance; public law and policy; real estate development and finance; Russia/CIS; tax; and technology.
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