Andrew J. Ceresney is a partner in the New York office and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department. Mr. Ceresney represents public companies, financial institutions, asset management firms, accounting firms, boards of directors, and individuals in federal and state government investigations and contested litigation in federal and state courts. Mr. Ceresney has many years of experience prosecuting and defending a wide range of white collar criminal and civil cases, having served in senior law enforcement roles at both the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Ceresney also has tried and supervised many jury and non-jury trials and argued numerous appeals before federal and state courts of appeal. Mr. Ceresney is ranked in the top band for Securities Enforcement by Chambers USA (2018) where he is lauded by fellow practitioners for his “compendious knowledge of the facts” and his “extraordinary memory,” and described as “a marquee name” in the market. He is also recognized by Legal 500 US (2018).
Prior to rejoining Debevoise in 2017, Mr. Ceresney served for nearly four years as the Director of Enforcement at the SEC under Chair Mary Jo White. In that role, he oversaw approximately 1,400 SEC personnel, supervising law enforcement efforts in 12 offices throughout the country, including matters related to financial reporting and accounting, asset management, insider trading, market structure, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Under his leadership, the Division brought a record number of cases, including pathbreaking and significant cases across the entire spectrum of the securities industry. Mr. Ceresney also helped broaden the use of the SEC’s analytical tools to detect and investigate financial misconduct, while enhancing the Enforcement Division’s litigation capacity and improving morale.
As Director of Enforcement, Mr. Ceresney worked closely with the high-level leadership of other regulators, including the Department of Justice, many U.S. Attorney’s offices, CFTC, New York Attorney General, New York Department of Financial Services, FINRA and CFPB.
Prior to joining the SEC in 2013, Mr. Ceresney Co-Chaired the White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group at Debevoise. During that time, he represented various financial institutions, accounting firms, companies and individuals, including a major financial institution in investigations and litigation relating to origination, securitization and servicing of mortgages. Mr. Ceresney played an integral role in negotiating the historic $25 billion national mortgage settlement between the federal government, 49 state attorneys general and some of the country’s largest banks.
His practice focused on a wide range of issues, including securities-related and money laundering for financial institutions, and investigations and civil matters relating to accounting fraud, FCPA, valuation issues, complex financial instruments, insider trading and disclosure issues. He also handled matters involving the pharmaceutical industry, including government investigations of promotional practices and class action litigation.
Prior to joining Debevoise in 2003, Mr. Ceresney served as a Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Ceresney was a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force and the Major Crimes Unit and handled numerous white collar criminal investigations, trials and appeals, including matters relating to securities fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, public corruption and obstruction of justice.
Mr. Ceresney served as a law clerk to the Hon. Dennis Jacobs, formerly Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1997 to 1998; and the Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, formerly Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1996 to 1997. Mr. Ceresney received his J.D. in 1996, from Yale Law School, where he was essays editor of the Yale Law Journal. He obtained his B.A. summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia University in 1993.
Mr. Ceresney is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law.
- Financial Institutions
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. in federal and state investigations of mortgage servicing, foreclosure, and origination related issues, including in connection with $25 billion settlement with DOJ, State Attorneys General and other federal authorities.
- A major insurer in SEC and DFS investigations related to financial reporting and internal controls issues.
- A clearing firm in various examinations and enforcement matters before the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- A high-profile financial information content provider in an SEC investigation.
- A large global hedge fund in an SEC investigation related to alleged Rule 105 violations.
- A major financial institution in DOJ Mortgage Fraud Task Force, SEC and AG investigations of mortgage-backed securitizations.
- A major bank in investigations by several State Attorneys General of credit card collection and debt sale practices.
- A major global financial institution in federal and state regulatory investigations relating to auction-rate securities.
- A leading financial institution in a Department of Justice investigation relating to alleged money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act violations.
- A major investment bank in an internal investigation relating to mispricing of subprime securities and representation in follow-up government investigations.
- A major accounting firm in a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inquiry.
- A national accounting firm in U.S. Attorney’s Office and SEC investigations relating to collateralized debt obligations.
- Major financial institutions on Anti-Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act compliance issues, including a review of Bank Secrecy Act compliance for these institutions.
- JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. in civil lawsuits filed by the Massachusetts and New York attorneys general alleging consumer protection violations based upon the bank’s use of the Mortgage Electronic Registration System and allegations that the banks foreclosed without proper standing.
- Technology, Media & Telecommunications
- A technology company in an SEC investigation related to key performance indicators.
- A private equity firm in an SEC investigation focused on technology investments.
- Time Warner Book Group and New York Times editor Timothy O’Brien in a libel action brought by Donald J. Trump relating to the publication of Mr. O’Brien’s book “TrumpNation,” which was dismissed on motion for summary judgment for failure to demonstrate actual malice.
- A large media company in U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation of alleged improper subscription practices.
- A digital currency exchange in an NYAG inquiry.
- A public company engaged in Bitcoin mining operations and blockchain investments in an SEC investigation.
- A private technology company developing virtual currency-payment solutions in private civil litigation and regulatory matters.
- A global pharmaceutical company in an SEC investigation.
- Forest Laboratories and Forest Pharmaceuticals in the settlement of civil and criminal investigations led by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and related civil qui tam litigation, regarding marketing, promotional and other activities for its products Celexa, Lexapro and Levothroid.
- Forest Laboratories in multi-district litigation class action suits arising from the marketing and promotion of Celexa and Lexapro.
- A large hospital corporation in an insider trading investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and SEC.
- A global shoe and apparel company in a federal corruption investigation.
- A Brazilian industrial company in an FCPA investigation.
- A major international conglomerate in conducting FCPA due diligence in connection with numerous M&A transactions.
- A global corporation in an investigation into alleged conduct by current and former employees that potentially violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- A large, multi-national company on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with various foreign business ventures.
- A Special Committee of the Board of Tommy Hilfiger in an internal investigation and United States Attorney’s Office investigation of tax accounting issues related to offshore subsidiaries.
- Yale Law School, 1996, J.D.
- Columbia University, 1993, B.A.
- New York
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