SEC News: John Berry, Associate Regional Director in Los Angeles Office, to Leave Agency

Washington DC (STL.News) – The Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday announced that John W. Berry, Associate Regional Director for enforcement matters in the Los Angeles Regional Office, is leaving the agency this month after eight years of service.

Mr. Berry joined the SEC in 2011 as Regional Trial Counsel for the Los Angeles office. In that role, he oversaw the office’s securities enforcement litigation.  He was promoted to Associate Regional Director in 2016 and has co-supervised almost 60 enforcement attorneys, trial counsel, and accountants.

“John has been a dedicated public servant who has made a significant impact on the SEC’s enforcement program both in Los Angeles and throughout the country,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “His insights and contributions will be sorely missed by all of us at the SEC.”

“John has been an innovative and skilled leader of the SEC’s enforcement program, and has helped the SEC litigate and bring scores of important cases,” said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office, added, “John’s stewardship overseeing both our litigated cases and our investigations has been outstanding.  The Los Angeles office and the SEC have benefited tremendously during John’s tenure.”

Mr. Berry said, “It has been a true privilege working to serve and protect U.S. investors with so many dedicated and talented professionals here in the Los Angeles office and throughout the SEC.”

Under Mr. Berry’s leadership, the SEC has brought and litigated dozens of key matters, including:

  • An emergency action that froze over $80 million held by foreign based traders, who had traded in advance of merger announcements involving DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., Lattice Semiconductor Corp., and other companies.
  • The SEC’s report of investigation regarding companies’ internal control obligations in the face of cyber-based attacks.
  • An action against an intelligence communications company and its founders for defrauding the shareholders of a special acquisition company (SPAC) in advance of a vote to approve a merger that took the company public.
  • An insider trading jury trial against a CEO who was alleged to have made more than $130 million in a secondary offering of his stock.
  • Over 30 emergency actions that shut down fraudulent offerings throughout the country, leading to some of the agency’s largest judgments in any given year. (examples: https://www.sec.gov/news/pressrelease/2015-227.html, https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2014-60, https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2012-2012-183htm)

Before joining the SEC, Mr. Berry was a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in New York.  He earned his law degree and MBA from the University of Virginia, and his bachelor’s degree in engineering and economics from Duke University.