Jina L. Choi, Regional Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Office, to Leave the Agency After Over 16 Years of Service
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington D.C., Nov. 29, 2018 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Jina L. Choi, Director of the agency’s San Francisco Regional office, will leave the agency at the end of this month after more than 16 years of service. Under Ms. Choi’s leadership since 2013, the San Francisco office has brought numerous groundbreaking enforcement actions that have benefited Main Street investors, including most recently actions involving Tesla and its CEO and now former Chairman Elon Musk, Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes, as well as Yahoo!.
Since 2013, Ms. Choi has led a staff of approximately 130 enforcement attorneys, accountants, investigators, and compliance examiners who investigate and enforce the federal securities laws and perform compliance inspections in the San Francisco region. The San Francisco office has jurisdiction over nearly 1,200 investment advisers with over $6 trillion in assets under management, over 50 mutual fund complexes, and over 240 broker-dealers, as well as many public and pre-IPO companies in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon.
“Jina’s leadership and thoughtful approach to new and complex issues has served the Commission and investors very well,” said Chairman Jay Clayton. “Under Jina’s direction, our dedicated staff in San Francisco has established important precedents that benefit the interests of our long-term investors which we will continue to follow in the years ahead.”
“Jina is an exceptional attorney and a dedicated public servant who has led and supervised an array of complex and high-impact actions,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “She has demonstrated time and time again her commitment to protecting Main Street investors and the integrity of our markets and we will miss her.”
“Under Jina’s leadership, the San Francisco Regional Office brought a series of ground-breaking enforcement actions, including against public and private technology companies in Silicon Valley and their senior officers,” said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Through these and other actions, Jina has left an enduring stamp on securities enforcement in the San Francisco region.”
“Jina has made significant contributions to the examination program during her tenure,” said Peter B. Driscoll, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. “Her strategic thinking on examination initiatives, particularly those involving developing technology, has advanced OCIE’s mission and protected investors.”
Ms. Choi added, “It has been an honor and a privilege to have served the public with so many skilled and dedicated professionals. The talent, values, and unwavering dedication of the San Francisco office staff is extraordinary and I am grateful to have been part of the culture of excellence, integrity, teamwork and generosity that exists in San Francisco and throughout the SEC.”
During Ms. Choi’s tenure as Regional Director, she has supervised investigations into financial reporting fraud, insider trading, misconduct by investment advisers and brokers, and other securities law violations, including those that led to SEC charges against:
- Elon Musk, CEO and former Chairman of Silicon Valley-based Tesla Inc., for securities fraud for a series of false and misleading tweets about a potential transaction to take Tesla private, and Tesla for failing to have required disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets
- Theranos Inc., its founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, and its former President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani for raising more than $700 million from investors through an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance
- The entity formerly known as Yahoo! Inc. for misleading investors by failing to disclose one of the world’s largest data breaches in which hackers stole personal data relating to hundreds of millions of user accounts
- LendingClub Asset Management LLC (formerly known as LendingClub Advisors LLC) and its former president Renaud Laplanche for fraud for improperly using fund money to benefit LendingClub Corp., LCA’s parent company that Laplanche founded and for which he served as CEO
- A professional sports gambler who allegedly made $40 million based on illegal stock tips from a corporate insider who owed him money
- An Oregon-based investment group and three top executives for hiding the rapidly deteriorating financial condition of its enterprise while raising more than $350 million from investors
- Diamond Foods and its former CFO for an accounting scheme to falsify walnut costs to boost earnings and meet stock analyst estimates; and its CEO for falsifying financial statements filed with the SEC
Ms. Choi began her SEC tenure as a staff attorney and rose through the ranks to her leadership position. Prior to her work at the SEC, Ms. Choi served as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. She also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Texas. She began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert P. Patterson, Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after which she worked in private practice.
Ms. Choi earned her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and her J.D. from Yale Law School.