The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointment of LeeAnn Ghazil Gaunt as chief of the Enforcement Division’s Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit.
Ms. Gaunt has worked in the specialized unit since its inception in 2010, and supervised the agency’s first pay-to-play enforcement action for “in-kind” political campaign contributions in September 2012 when the SEC charged Goldman Sachs and an executive vice president for violations related to contributions to the then-state treasurer of Massachusetts.
Ms. Gaunt has worked in the SEC’s Boston Regional Office for 13 years, including 10 in supervisory roles. She has broad investigative experience handling matters ranging from investment adviser violations to insider trading.
“In her 13 years with the SEC, LeeAnn has demonstrated tremendous judgment and leadership as a valued member of our enforcement team,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “We are delighted that she has agreed to lead the Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit, which has amassed a strong record of enforcement actions and is an important focus for the division.”
Ms. Gaunt said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as chief of the Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit. I look forward to working with the dedicated and talented professionals in the unit and advancing the SEC’s investor protection efforts in this very important area of the nation’s financial markets.”
Among other municipal securities cases overseen by Ms. Gaunt was a pay-to-play probe involving municipal securities dealer Southwest Securities, which agreed to pay more than $450,000 to settle SEC charges. Outside the municipal bond arena, Ms. Gaunt helped lead an emergency enforcement action against an alleged hedge fund Ponzi scheme that enabled the return of $230 million from overseas. She also helped lead an accounting fraud case against General Electric for improper hedge accounting for derivative instruments, and a market timing case against Massachusetts Financial Services Co. that resulted in the return of more than $300 million to investors.
Prior to joining the SEC enforcement staff, Ms. Gaunt was in private practice in Boston, first at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and later at Goodwin Procter LLP. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University and her law degree from the Northeastern University School of Law.