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Former Regional Director of the SEC’s Chicago Office Joins Constantine Cannon’s Whistleblower Practice

Posted  December 8, 2021
Joel R. Levin brings deep experience to the largest and most successful international whistleblower practice in the world

NEW YORK, NY (12/3/2021)—Constantine Cannon LLP is pleased to announce that Joel R. Levin, former Regional Director of the Chicago office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will be joining the firm’s whistleblower practice as Of Counsel. Mr. Levin brings a breadth of government experience handling complex fraud cases to a premier whistleblower practice with offices in New York, Washington, San Francisco and London.

From 2018 to 2021, Mr. Levin served as the Regional Director of the Chicago office of the SEC, the agency’s second-largest regional office overseeing a nine-state region, covering approximately 20 percent of the nation’s population. He directed a team of more than 260 attorneys, accountants, investigators and securities compliance examiners responsible for the investigation and prosecution of a wide variety of enforcement actions, as well as compliance examinations of more than 2,000 investment advisers and investment companies with over $10 trillion in assets under management, and more than 500 broker-dealers with more than 35,000 branch offices.

Mr. Levin joins what is the largest and most successful international practice in the world devoted to whistleblower law. Constantine Cannon’s experience includes some of the largest claims in history under federal and state False Claims Acts, as well as the whistleblower programs of the IRS, SEC, CFTC, DOT, and others.

“Joel brings key experience to our already outstanding whistleblower practice,” Richard Aborn, Managing Partner of Constantine Cannon, said. “His knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as SEC-related whistleblower actions will only grow in years to come.”

“I’m honored to be joining such a distinguished practice, and excited to get to work on behalf of whistleblowers, who are critical in exposing fraud,” said Mr. Levin. “I look forward to applying my experience in enforcement to work on these cases in a new capacity.”

“Our whistleblower group is pleased to welcome a new team member with such key enforcement experience,” said Mary Inman, a Partner in the firm’s whistleblower practice. “Our goal is always to provide our clients with the best, most sophisticated representation possible, and Joel will be a key part of that effort in the months and years to come.”

Deep Background in Financial Enforcement Actions

Among the groundbreaking enforcement actions brought by the Chicago SEC during Mr. Levin’s tenure as Regional Director was the 2019 charging of Volkswagen AG, two subsidiaries, and its former CEO with defrauding investors after VW raised billions of dollars through corporate bond and fixed income offerings while making misleading claims about the environmental impact of the company’s “clean diesel” fleet. During Mr. Levin’s tenure,  the Chicago office also brought actions against four Transamerica affiliates for using faulty investment models in mutual funds and managed portfolios, returning nearly $100 million to harmed investors.

Prior to his service at the SEC, Mr. Levin served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago from 2014-2018. In that role, Mr. Levin was second-in-command of an office responsible for the prosecution of federal crimes and representation of the United States in both affirmative and defensive litigation. In 2017, Mr. Levin served as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the office, where he launched the office’s first Health Care Fraud Unit.

During his career at the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Levin served in three U.S. Attorney’s Offices – Chicago, San Francisco and Milwaukee. In San Francisco, he served as a supervisor in the Criminal Division and then, as Chief of the Criminal Division. In Chicago, his leadership roles included service as a Deputy Chief and then, as a Section Chief in the Criminal Division. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Levin investigated, prosecuted and tried numerous complex white-collar cases, including health care fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and tax fraud. Mr. Levin tried more than 40 jury trials during his time as a federal prosecutor.

In addition to his government experience, Mr. Levin was in private practice for six years at a large national law firm where he handled corporate internal investigations and represented both companies and individuals in criminal investigations alleging health care fraud, securities fraud and antitrust violations.

Mr. Levin is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has received numerous awards for his work at the Department of Justice, including being a four-time recipient of the Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Mr. Levin has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law since 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

About Constantine Cannon LLP

With offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and London, Constantine Cannon LLP is one of the largest and most successful whistleblower practices in the United States. The firm’s team of dedicated whistleblower lawyers represent whistleblowers under federal and state False Claims Acts as well as the whistleblower programs of the IRS, SEC, CFTC, DOT, and others.

In the financial arena, Constantine Cannon recently secured a multi-million-dollar SEC award for an anonymous whistleblower whose original information and assistance led to an enforcement action against brokerage firm ITG. In a separate case, the firm represented a whistleblower who provided extensive and ongoing assistance to the SEC in its investigation of a major international company. The depth of information provided to the SEC convinced the agency to increase the client’s award to $1.7 million, an acknowledgment not only of the client’s significant investigative assistance, but also the professional and financial risks the client took in bringing the misconduct to light. The SEC increases a whistleblower’s award in fewer than 7% of cases.

Beyond its Whistleblower practice, Constantine Cannon also has deep expertise in areas that include antitrust and complex commercial litigation, government relations, securities, and e-discovery. The firm’s antitrust practice is among the largest and most well recognized in the nation. Constantine Cannon’s experience spans multiple industries, including healthcare, banking, electronic payments, insurance, high tech, telecommunications, the Internet, and government contracting.