The SEC announced on Friday that Stephen L. Cohen, an Associate Director of the Enforcement Division, plans to leave the agency later this month after 12 years of service. A senior member of the SEC's enforcement staff, Cohen joined the SEC in 2004 and has served as Associate Director since 2011.
In his role as Associate Director, Cohen supervises nearly 60 attorneys and other professionals responsible for investigating and pursuing enforcement matters including accounting and disclosure fraud, insider trading, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, registered and unregistered securities offerings, market abuses, broker-dealers, and investment advisers. The cases Cohen and his team have led include fraud charges against Computer Sciences Corporation and former executives ($190 million penalty against CSC); fraud charges against the operator of a $600 million online pyramid and Ponzi scheme; and the SEC’s first charges in an EB-5 visa offering fraud.
Cohen joined the SEC in 2004 as an Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the Enforcement Division. In a statement, the SEC credited Cohen with playing a leading role in the launch of the Enforcement Advisory Committee. As discussed in this Law360 article, the Enforcement Advisory Committee was introduced in 2013 to improve Enforcement's investigation and litigation capabilities through the use of new technologies and other innovative tools. Cohen also led the implementation of a new hiring process that has been widely adopted across the entire agency.
Previously in his career at the SEC, Cohen served as a senior advisor to former SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, led the agency’s efforts related to Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower provisions and subsequent rulemaking, and oversaw the creation of the SEC’s Tips, Complaints and Referrals system.