Lowenstein Sandler announces that Christopher W. Gerold has joined the firm as partner in its Securities Litigation practice. He will be based in the firm’s Roseland, NJ, and New York, NY, offices. Gerold will counsel national financial firms, coin-based exchanges, and emerging fintech companies for compliance with federal and state securities laws. He will also defend regulatory examinations and enforcement actions by securities agencies across the country.
As Chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities (BOS) from 2017 to 2021, Gerold became a national leader in securities regulation and crypto-related enforcement matters. Under his leadership, the BOS filed some of the earliest crypto-enforcement actions, including the March 2018 action against the Steven Seagal promoted initial coin offering (ICO) of Bitcoiin. Since then, the BOS has continued to be a leader in the crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) space, having filed 23 crypto- and DeFi-related enforcement actions, including cases against Blockfi and Celsius in 2021.
Gerold rose to national prominence in the emerging crypto and DeFi space in 2018, when he led the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA’s) “Operation Cryptosweep” as the Chair of NASAA’s Enforcement Committee. NASAA members from more than 40 jurisdictions throughout North America participated in this initiative, which resulted in more than 330 inquiries and investigations and at least 85 enforcement actions related to ICOs or cryptocurrency investment products.
As NASAA president, Gerold engaged with SEC Commissioners and FINRA leadership on various rulemaking and policies, including the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. And when the pandemic struck, Gerold led the organization’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, consisting of more than 44 state and provincial securities regulators, which initiated more than 250 investigations and enforcement actions against fraudulent investment offerings seeking to profit from the pandemic.
Christopher Porrino, the firm’s Litigation Chair and former Attorney General of New Jersey, says: “Chris brings perspective and experience that is unrivaled nationally in the crypto and DeFi enforcement space. That experience, combined with his relationships with both state and federal securities regulators, will greatly benefit our broker-dealer, investment management, and startup clients, whether they are involved with traditional securities and investment products, or emerging digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies or NFTs.”
Ethan L. Silver, partner in Lowenstein’s Blockchain Technology & Digital Assets and Investment Management groups and Chair of its Broker-Dealer practice, adds: “As regulatory agencies increase their scrutiny of digital assets in 2022, Chris’ deep knowledge in this area will prove highly valuable to our many clients that are operating or seeking to operate in this space, and help us better advise them in navigating this evolving landscape.”
“Lowenstein’s entrepreneurial culture appealed to me,” says Gerold, “I am eager to collaborate with my new partners, especially in the Blockchain Technology & Digital Assets and Broker-Dealer groups, to grow a national practice that leverages my financial regulation network and background in New Jersey, as well as across all of the states, FINRA, and at the SEC.”
Gerold’s prior experience in private practice includes serving as counsel in the Financial Services Regulatory and Litigation Group of a leading New Jersey law firm. He conducted internal investigations on sales practices, misappropriation, unapproved sales literature, unapproved third-party research, unsuitable trading, and insider trading, among other issues. He has also represented broker-dealers and investment advisers in regulatory enforcement actions by FINRA, SEC, and numerous state securities regulators on matters involving systemic overbilling, money laundering, excessive trading, supervision, operational deficiencies related to the delivery of proxies and trade confirmations, private securities offerings, and the initial public offering of municipal bonds.
Gerold began his legal career in New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General in the Securities Fraud Prosecution Section, where he was lead trial attorney in securities fraud enforcement actions in state and administrative courts, prosecuting such claims as penny stock manipulation, unregistered securities, and fraud. He received his Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law and his Bachelor of Science in Finance from Villanova University.
About Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Lowenstein Sandler LLP is a national law firm with over 350 lawyers based in New York, Palo Alto, New Jersey, Utah, and Washington, D.C. The firm represents leaders in virtually every sector of the global economy, with particular emphasis on investment funds, life sciences, and technology. Recognized for its entrepreneurial spirit and high standard of client service, the firm is committed to the interests of its clients, colleagues, and communities.