Richard J. Morvillo

Partner

Washington, D.C., New York

Richard J. Morvillo, a partner in our New York and Washington, D.C., offices, is a nationally recognized expert in SEC enforcement and other white-collar matters.

Over the past 40 years, Rich has been involved in more than 250 SEC investigations, including some of the highest profile cases the SEC has handled. He also has extensive experience in FCPA cases, securities related white-collar criminal matters and private securities litigation. A former branch chief with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, Rich represents corporations, corporate executives, brokerage firms, investment advisers, accounting firms, auditors, law firms, hedge funds and individual investors in connection with SEC, PCAOB, NYSE, FINRA, congressional, state attorney general and grand jury investigations; SEC litigation; and complex securities cases.

Though Rich has been involved in far too many cases to name, he had a significant role in various important matters, including: several CDO and RMBS investigations of investment banks and collateral managers; SEC and criminal investigations of Enron; investigations and litigation concerning possible insider trading involving the securities of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Liberty Media, Capital One, Prestige Brands; investigations and litigation concerning trading by NYSE specialists; investigations of alleged FCPA violations by various financial institutions; investigations and litigation concerning merger activities of Wachovia Corporation and National City Corporation; investigations concerning transactions by MGIC, Royal Dutch Shell, HSBC, Lernout & Hauspie, Aetna, Amazon, Denso Corporation, AG Edwards, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse; investigations concerning the financial statements and/or audits of Orange County, Citi, Navistar, Autonomy, Bally’s, CarMax, SteinMart, and Allegheny Health Systems; investigations into marketing and other activities of registered investment advisors (including Smith Barney Asset Management, Family Endowment Partners, UBS Asset Management, F Squared and Harbinger) and ETF sponsors (including Pro Shares and, Wisdom Tree Investments); internal investigations at a Fortune 10 retailer, Aon Corporation, E*Trade, Nash Finch Corporation and TD Ameritrade; investigations and litigation related to alleged pricing violations by NASDAQ traders; investigations of auditing firms and audit partners from KPMG, E&Y, D&T, Friedman, and PWC International and Congressional investigations concerning, among others, Goldman Sachs and Riggs National Corporation.

Rich has litigated to a successful judgment a number of SEC enforcement cases and defended numerous class actions and shareholder derivative suits in federal courts throughout the country. Rich has also conducted many internal investigations for corporations, and advised members of numerous special committees of boards of directors as to their rights and obligations regarding the handling and evaluation of corporate transactions, internal investigations and shareholder litigation.

He was named by Best Lawyers in America as the “2013 Lawyer of the Year – Securities Litigation,” and Chambers USA has recognized Rich as “one of the deans of the securities enforcement bar.”  Rich is also listed as a leading litigator in numerous other peer-review publications, including Benchmark Litigation, The Legal 500 United States, Ethisphere: Attorneys Who Matter, Washington DC Super Lawyers, The Legal Times, which named him one of Washington’s “Top 10 Securities Lawyers,” Washingtonian Magazine and Who’s Who Legal: Investigations. He is a frequent speaker at professional seminars and serves as the co-chair of two PLI annual programs: “Internal Investigations” and “Auditor Liability.” He has served on the adjunct faculty of Georgetown University School of Law, teaching a course in “Professional Responsibility in Corporate and Securities Practice.”

  • Selected Current Representations

    • Lumber Liquidators, a publicly held manufacturer and distributor of wood and wood products, in connection with investigations by DOJ and SEC.
    • ETF market maker firm in SEC investigation concerning ETF trading activities.
    • Chief Financial Officer of Och Ziff in SEC, DOJ and FCPA investigations.
    • Political consultant in criminal proceeding and investigation related to alleged bribery scheme involving former New York State Government officials and companies doing business with the State.
    • Former Chief Financial Officer of a large public retailer in DOJ, SEC and FCPA investigations.
    • ETF sponsor in SEC investigation concerning redemption issues.
    • Former Chief Compliance Officer of investment advisor in SEC investigation concerning use of models.
    • Employee of broker-dealer in SEC investigation concerning mark-ups.
    • Accounting firm in SEC accounting investigation into financial statements and audits.
    • Chief Financial Officer of a public company concerning possible accounting and FCPA issues.
    • Senior investment banker in DOJ and SEC investigations regarding hiring practices in China.
    • In-house counsel at public company in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations.
    • CDO manager in NY Supreme court CDO case entitled Loreley Financing No. 28 Ltd. V. Merrill Lynch, et al.

    Significant Litigation Achievements

    • Represented former Chief Marketing Officer of Royal Ahold subsidiary in successful appeal vacating convictions for securities fraud and related offenses.
    • Defeated the SEC in a jury trial on insider trading charges against the chairman of a large communications company.
    • Defeated the SEC after a bench trial on fraud charges against an attorney for participating in a fraudulent offering by a public company.
    • Obtained summary judgment against the SEC in a civil injunctive action against a former Citigroup/SSB executive.
    • Obtained dismissal of SEC charges after an administrative trial concerning an investment banker’s alleged participation in a fraudulent offering. Obtained dismissal of class action claims against Wachovia Corp. (formerly First Union) related to the acquisitions of CoreStates Financial Corporation and The Money Store.
    • Obtained dismissal of a class action against TD Ameritrade, Inc. in an options trading case; handled appeal when decision affirmed.
    • Obtained summary judgment and affirmation by the Eleventh Circuit in favor of a former chairman of Enstar Corp. in a securities fraud class action.