Stephen L. Cohen

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Stephen L. Cohen
Occupation Associate Director of the Enforcement Division
Employer Securities and Exchange Commission
Location Washington, D.C.

Stephen L. Cohen is associate director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement division. On June 6, 2016 the SEC announced that Cohen plans to leave the agency later in June.

Cohen was appointed associate director in 2011. He oversaw a staff of nearly 60 attorneys and other professionals responsible for investigating potential violations of the federal securities laws. He worked closely with international regulators and domestic law enforcement partners in these investigations. He also helped to launch the division’s Enforcement Advisory Committee and the implementation of a new hiring process.

Under Cohen’s leadership, the SEC brought enforcement actions addressing a wide variety of misconduct, including:

Fraud charges against Computer Sciences Corporation and former executives for manipulating financial results and concealing significant problems about the company’s largest and most high-profile contract, resulting in a $190 million penalty against CSC and approximately $5 million in monetary sanctions against the executives.

Fraud charges and an emergency asset freeze against the operator of a $600 million online Pyramid and Ponzi scheme and his company for illegally raising money from more than one million Internet customers nationwide and overseas through the website

Charges against two exchanges formerly owned by Direct Edge Holdings and since acquired by BATS Global Markets for failing to accurately describe the order types being used on the exchanges.[1]

Charges against ETrade Financial subsidiaries over the unregistered sales of microcap stocks.

Fraud investigation into former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.[2]


Before he was appointed associate director, Cohen was a senior advisor to former SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. He also led the agency’s efforts related to Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower provisions and the subsequent rulemaking and oversaw the creation of the SEC’s Tips, Complaints and Referrals system.

Cohen joined the SEC in 2004 as an assistant chief litigation counsel in the enforcement division from Boies, Schiller & Flexner after serving as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the attorney general’s Honors Program. Cohen also clerked for the Honorable Ursula Ungaro in the U.S. District Court in Miami. He received the SEC Chair’s Award for Excellence in 2013 for his role in the agency’s rulemaking to develop a Consolidated Audit Trail, and the SEC’s Law and Policy Award in 2011 for his involvement with the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act.



  1. Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director of Enforcement, to Leave SEC After Nearly 12 Years of Service.
  2. Stephen Cohen, Senior SEC Enforcement Official, to Depart. The New York Times.