Robert Cohen, the first chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit, has left the agency after 15 years of service.
The Cyber Unit, created in 2017, focuses on violations involving digital assets and cryptocurrency, cyber-related trading violations–such as hacking to obtain material non-public information–and cyber-security disclosures and procedures at public companies and financial institutions.
As chief of the Cyber Unit, Cohen led several groundbreaking investigations, including:
- A widespread fraudulent initial coin offering;
- Several issuers who sold digital tokens to retail investors in unregistered securities offerings;
- The founder of an unregistered securities exchange that traded digital tokens;
- A hacker and multiple traders who hacked into the SEC’s EDGAR system; and
- A broker-dealer and investment adviser that had deficient cyber-security procedures.
Previously, Cohen was co-chief of the Market Abuse Unit. In this role, Cohen supervised market structure, insider trading, and manipulation cases, such as cases involving national stock exchanges, darkpools, retail order handling, and order routing.
Cohen joined the SEC’s Enforcement Division from private practice in 2004. He was promoted to branch chief in 2008; assistant director in 2010; co-deputy chief of the Market Abuse Unit in 2013; co-chief of the unit in 2015; and chief of the Cyber Unit in 2017.