The Securities and Exchange Commission today named Richard R. Best as Regional Director of its Atlanta office.
Mr. Best will succeed Walter Jospin, who is leaving the agency at the end of this month.
For the past two-and-a-half years, Mr. Best has served as Director of the SEC’s Salt Lake office, where he supervises the agency’s enforcement program in Utah. He joined the SEC from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in New York, where he was a senior director and chief counsel in its Department of Enforcement. Mr. Best previously held other supervisory and investigative positions within FINRA’s Enforcement function. He also spent approximately 10 years as a prosecutor in the Office of the Bronx County District Attorney, where he handled and supervised high-profile public integrity and organized crime prosecutions, among other matters.
Under Mr. Best’s stewardship, the Salt Lake office has investigated, brought and litigated a number of impactful enforcement cases, including the agency’s actions against:
- Two Las Vegas-based individuals and their company for operating a prime bank investment scheme that promised investors sky-high returns
- A Cache County, Utah, man who solicited investors, including members from his church congregation, in a bogus scheme involving investments in “top secret” Iraqi currency and oil contracts
- Marquis Properties LLC and its CEO Chad R. Deucher for orchestrating a $28 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 250 investors throughout the United States
- Las Vegas-based Hemp Inc., its CEO, and others with engaging in a long-running fraudulent scheme to evade the registration provisions of the federal securities laws
- The operator of a Utah-based international Ponzi scheme that raised more than $207 million from investors worldwide, primarily in the U.S., India and Russia
As Director of the SEC’s Atlanta office, Mr. Best will lead a staff of more than 160 enforcement attorneys, accountants, investigators, and compliance examiners involved in the investigation and prosecution of enforcement actions and the performance of compliance inspections in the Atlanta region, which covers Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.
“I am excited that Richard is taking over as head of our Atlanta Regional Office, and I thank Walter for his exemplary service,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “Richard has made a lasting impression in the Salt Lake Regional Office and I am confident that he will continue to protect the long-term interests of American investors through his leadership in Atlanta.”
“Richard’s investigative experience, strong knowledge of industry practices and excellent trial skills position him well to lead the SEC’s Atlanta office,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “He is an experienced and inspirational manager who is held in high regard by our team in Salt Lake.”
“As leader of the SEC’s Salt Lake Regional Office, Richard has distinguished himself not only by bringing high-impact cases, but also through his creative efforts to connect with investors,” said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “We are thrilled he will bring his impressive qualities to the SEC’s Atlanta office.”
Peter B. Driscoll, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, said, “Richard has been a very strong leader of the Salt Lake Regional Office for several years, and we are delighted to have him lead our dedicated examination staff in Atlanta.”
Mr. Best added, “I am excited and honored to serve with such a talented group of professionals in the Atlanta Regional Office. Their dedication and skill is evidenced by the office’s many significant accomplishments. I look forward to working with them to protect investors and maintain fair and orderly markets.”
Mr. Best graduated from the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and earned his law degree from the Howard University School of Law.