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Nelson Mullins Partner Faces Complaint From SEC
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SEC headquarters (Photo courtesy of sec.gov)

 

Summary: While the bank involved in a “pay-to-play” scheme has already settled with the SEC, the SEC is now filing a civil complaint against the attorney involved in the scheme.

  
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is accusing a senior partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough of playing a part in a “pay-to-play” scheme involving State Street Bank and Trust Co. The illegal scheme involving Robert Crowe, the co-chair of the firm’s government affairs practice, aimed to secure public pension contracts in Ohio.

State Street settled for $12 million with the SEC to avoid further prosecution. Now the SEC is turning to Crowe, filing a civil complaint against him in an Ohio federal court. They claim that he acted as “conduit” for State Street’s corrupt payments to Ohio deputy state treasurer Amer Ahmad.

The alleged scheme is believed to have involved an agreement between Ahmad and Vincent DeBaggis, the former head of State Street’s public funds group. Under the agreement, DeBaggis made payments in the form of cash and campaign funds to Ahmad in return for public pension fund contracts.

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State Street settled with the SEC but isn’t admitting to the allegations against them. DeBaggis, who no longer works at State Street, also settled with the SEC for around $274,000 in penalties, disgorgement and prejudgments interest.

According to the SEC complaint, “Crowe met Ahmad’s demand for campaign contributions by illegally filtering $16,000 through his personal bank account and reimbursing individuals for contributions made in their own names.” In addition, “Crowe continued to make secret illicit campaign contributions until at least September 2010 in response to Ahmad’s threats that State Street would lose the business.”



In a statement to The Am Law Daily, Nelson Mullins general counsel James Gray Jr. stressed, “It is important to remember that the complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission contains allegations against Mr. Crowe that have not yet been proven in court.”

State Street was represented by William McLucas of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Door. DeBaggis was represented by Pravin Rao at Perkins Coie.

Source: http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202747161552/SEC-Targets-Nelson-Mullins-Partner-in-Alleged-PaytoPlay-Scheme

Source: http://www.sec.gov/news/pressrelease/2016-8.html

Photo courtesy of sec.gov



 

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