Michael Cohn, who formerly worked for the SEC as an examiner, left the SEC to join GPB and allegedly shared compromising information about GPB investigations.
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The Department of Justice Wednesday charged the chief compliance officer of GPB Capital Holdings with obstruction of justice relating to an SEC investigation of GPB. Cohn was formerly an SEC examiner. Cohn allegedly stole information from the SEC prior to his employment with GPB beginning in October 2018.
“When Cohn left the SEC to join GPB, he left with more than his own career ambitions,” FBI assistant director-in-charge William F. Sweeney said in a press release. “The proprietary information he allegedly retrieved — from databases he wasn’t authorized to access — included compromising information about a GPB investigation and sensitive details related to the same.”
Mr. Cohn’s indictment is the latest in a series of legal disputes involving GPB, which raised more than $1.5 billion from wealthy clients to invest primarily in auto dealerships and trash hauling businesses. Several other organizations, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth are conducting investigations into GPB Capital. The FBI also reportedly made an unannounced visit to GPB Capital’s offices in February 2019.
Mr. Cohn, 59, previously worked as a securities compliance examiner and industry specialist in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, where he assisted on investigations into violations of securities laws, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
The indictment alleges that, prior to leaving the SEC, Mr. Cohn allegedly accessed information on SEC servers relating to an Enforcement Division investigation into GPB. He was not authorized to access this material, which included confidential information, privileged attorney-client work product, and contacts with law enforcement and other regulatory agencies.
During the GPB hiring process, Mr. Cohn allegedly told them that he had inside information about the SEC’s investigation, and on several occasions he disclosed that information to members of GPB’s senior management.
Cohn was also charged with unauthorized computer access and unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.
GPB Capital’s spokesperson, Nancy Sterling, wrote in an email following the indictment, “GPB Capital immediately relieved Mr. Cohn of his duties as CCO, and replaced him with Aileen Doherty, a veteran chief compliance officer.”
Jeffrey R. Sonn is an experienced investor losses attorney. If you suffered losses because a financial professional recommended that you invest in unsuitable products, Mr. Sonn will protect your rights and interests. Please do not hesitate to contact the Sonn Law Group today for a free review of your claim.