Claudius Modesti, former Director of Enforcement at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), has joined Akin Gump as a partner in its white-collar defense and government investigations practice in Washington, D.C.

Prior to a 14-year tenure at the PCAOB, Modesti served with the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, as a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement attorney, and as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. At Akin Gump, he will counsel and defend accounting firms, regulated entities, companies and individuals in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings involving the PCAOB and SEC, in addition to advising on other federal or state criminal investigations.

Modesti was the PCAOB’s first enforcement director, having led the team that built the enforcement group from its inception. He oversaw the development of the PCAOB’s policies and procedures for identifying matters for investigation and led more than 100 such investigations annually of U.S.- and foreign-based accounting firms, with many of them also requiring coordinating parallel investigations with the SEC. Modesti’s role also included overseeing the PCAOB’s litigation process. In addition, Modesti played a key role in the PCAOB’s collaboration with its foreign regulator counterparts, particularly as it related to international enforcement cooperation.

“As the one and only PCAOB enforcement director to enter private practice, Claudius has a unique perspective that will resonate strongly with our clients,” said Charles Connolly, a partner in Akin Gump’s white-collar practice in Washington, D.C. “He brings a truly defining quality in how to approach auditor, accounting, and more general SEC enforcement matters.”