David L. Axelrod is a former Supervisory Trial Counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Philadelphia Regional Office and a former federal prosecutor. At the SEC, he directed all aspects of litigation—leading complex, multi-agency investigations into a range of alleged securities law violations and serving as lead trial counsel in high-profile federal cases. He also led nationwide insider trading training for SEC enforcement staff. As a federal prosecutor, David prosecuted fraud and public corruption cases.
David is the Practice Leader of the firm's Securities Enforcement and Corporate Governance Litigation Group. David’s practice focuses on representing companies and individuals under investigation or charged by federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, concerning, among other things, alleged violations of the securities laws, antitrust laws, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as well as wire fraud and honest services fraud.
David is also an accomplished civil litigator and trial lawyer and uses his experience having tried more than 15 federal trials to judgment to represent clients in all phases of complex civil litigation.
- Nasdaq, Inc. v. Exchange Traded Managers Group et al.: lead trial lawyer in securities contract dispute that resulted in judgment in favor of client of more than $80 million. See Nasdaq, Inc. v. Exchange Traded Managers Group et al., No. 17 civ. 8252, 2019 U.S. Dist. Lexis 220135 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 20, 2019)
- United States v. Francis M. Reynolds, SEC v. Francis M. Reynolds: Representation of the CEO of a pharmaceutical start-up in cases brought by DOJ and SEC alleging securities fraud
- United States v. Herbert Vederman: represented client alleged to have engaged in honest services fraud and bank fraud; successfully convinced the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office to dismiss counts alleging client bribed a United States Congressman
Securities and Exchange Commission
David has directed strategy in cases involving investment fraud, accounting fraud, FCPA violations, and market manipulation, and has tried to verdict cases involving insider trading. The following examples are representative of his experience at the SEC:
- SEC v. Daryl M. Payton (S.D.N.Y.): lead trial counsel in jury trial in which two brokers were found liable for insider trading in advance of IBM’s acquisition of a data analytics company. It was the first insider trading case tried after the Second Circuit's Newman decision heightening the "personal benefit" requirement.
- SEC v. Bonan Huang, et al. (E.D. Pa.): lead trial counsel in case where the SEC charged two Capital One employees with stealing credit card data for hundreds of publicly traded companies, which they used to make profitable trades. Successfully tried to a jury in a week-long trial in January 2016, resulting in a more than $12 million judgment.
- SEC v. Dubovoy, et al. (D.N.J.): supervised a team of trial lawyers where the SEC charged more than 30 defendants in the United States and Europe with using stolen press releases to make more than $100 million trading U.S. securities.
U.S. Attorney's Office
Prior to joining the SEC, David was an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where he focused on investigating and prosecuting economic crimes, including securities fraud, public corruption, and tax evasion. He tried more than a dozen cases to verdict and argued multiple times before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The following examples are representative of his experience as a federal prosecutor:
- In United States v. Robert Stinson, investigated and prosecuted a $17 million Ponzi scheme.
- In United States v. Steven Pitchersky, investigated and prosecuted a California mortgage lender who stole millions of dollars from a national warehouse lender.
- In United States v, Kelly Defeo, investigated and convicted at trial a real estate developer that created fake tax returns and defrauded his lenders and investors.
Hon. R. Barclay Surrick, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2003-2004
Recognition & Accomplishments
The Legal 500, Securities Litigation: Defense, 2020
Securities and Exchange Commission's Arthur F. Mathews Award, 2016
Securities and Exchange Commission's Analytical Methods Award, 2016
Director's Special Recognition Award, Federal Bureau of Investigation, February 2014, June 2012
Certificate of Meritorious Achievement, HIDTA, 2013
Panelist, Insider Trading, The Edward Bennett Williams American Inn of Court, Washington D.C., February 15, 2018
Speaker, "AML Obligations of Broker-Dealers and Current Issues in the SPAC Market," New York State Bar Association Securities Regulation Committee Meeting, New York City, December 13, 2017
Speaker, "Insider Trading: A Simple Concept in Theory," Ballard Spahr CLE, Philadelphia, June 7, 2017
Co-author, "Stimulus Fraud Part 4: CARES Act Oversight Provisions and Agency Collaboration," The Legal Intelligencer, July 8, 2020
Co-author, "First Step Act of 2018 Aims to Reform Sentencing Laws," The Legal Intelligencer, February 4, 2019
Co-author, "Recent Supreme Court Decision Narrows Definition of Whistleblower," The Legal Intelligencer, March 8, 2018
Co-author, "What's Next after the SEC 'Insider Trading' Breach?" Dark Reading, October 19, 2017
Co-author, "The SEC's New Enforcement Tool?" Law360, July 12, 2017
Harvard Law School (J.D. 2003)Haverford College (B.A. 1999, high honors in Economics, Political Science)
Phi Beta Kappa
District of Columbia