David L. Axelrod


Tel 215.864.8639
Fax 215.864.8999
Tel 212.223.0200
Fax 212.223.1942
New York

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.

Representative Matters

  • 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
  • Representation of company’s former chief accounting officer, successfully negotiated non-fraud settlement in case alleging accounting irregularities
  • In representation of individual alleged to have engaged in fraud and the unregistered sale of securities, achieved full dismissal of most significant charges on motion to dismiss
  • Representation of prominent labor leader in case charging client with embezzlement and bribery.
  • Representation of hedge fund investor in arbitration against another fund alleging claims for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty that ended successfully with a $50 million plus judgment
  • Representation of registered investment adviser in SEC investigation alleging failure to disclose receipt of 12b-1 fees
  • Representation of investment bank in SEC insider trading investigation
  • Representation of publicly-traded company in SEC insider trading investigation
  • Representation of investment fund manager in SEC and DOJ securities fraud investigation
  • Representation of individual in SEC insider trading investigation
  • Representation of individual in SEC investigation focusing on fraud and sale of unregistered securities
  • Representation of investment adviser in SEC "wrap fee" investigation that concluded with no enforcement action being brought by the SEC
  • Representation of broker-dealer in FINRA market manipulation investigation
  • Representation of SEC-registered investment adviser accused of operating as unlicensed broker-dealer that concluded with no enforcement action being brought by the SEC
  • Representation of special litigation committee of board of Fortune 100 Company in internal investigation
  • Representation of fund manager in defending claims brought by fund investors for securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other related claims
  • Representation of large investor in publicly-traded company alleging claims of securities fraud and breach of contract
  • Representation of bank in putative securities class action
  • Representation of cryptocurrency issuer in regulatory matters
  • Representation of cryptocurrency issuer in putative class action brought by purchasers alleging company engaged in unregistered sale of securities

Representative Experience at the SEC

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.
  • SEC v. PTG Capital Partners, et al., (S.D.N.Y.): supervised a team of trial lawyers in where the SEC charged multiple defendants in Bulgaria with engaging in a scheme to manipulate stock through false filings on SEC's EDGAR filing system.
  • SEC v. Aly (S.D.N.Y.): supervised a team of trial lawyers where the SEC charged a Pakistani defendant with stock manipulation.
  • SEC v. Cooperman (E.D. Pa.): supervised a team of trial lawyers where the SEC charged a billionaire hedge fund manager with insider trading.

Representative Experience at the 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.
  • In United States v. Barry Bekkedam, et al., investigated and prosecuted a bank president and the bank’s former chairmen who attempted to defraud the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
  • In United States v. Andrew Bogdanoff, et al., investigated and convicted at trial the owner of a loan broker who defrauded thousands of business owners located in more than 15 countries out of approximately $26 million.
  • In United States v. Keith Gidelson, et al., investigated and convicted at trial a Philadelphia Police Detective operating an international steroid ring.
  • In United States v. Patrick Shelow, investigated and convicted at trial a purported international business developer who defrauded a Pennsylvania investor out of millions of dollars.

Judicial Clerkship

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

Speaking Engagements

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

Panelist, Expectations for a New Securities Regime, Ballard Spahr Webinar, April 25, 2017

Panelist, Recent SEC Developments and Parallel SEC & DOJ Investigations, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, April 21, 2017

Panelist, Navigating Parallel SEC and DOJ Investigations, November 11, 2016

Panelist, Litigating Insider Trading Cases: Lessons Learned from Recent Trials, June 29, 2016

Panelist, SEC Philadelphia Regional Office 2015 Mid-Atlantic Securities Conference

Presenter, FBI Philadelphia Field Office 2014 White Collar Crime Conference

Featured on American Greed episode "Remington Steal," CNBC, July 8, 2015 


Co-author, "Stimulus Fraud Part 4: CARES Act Oversight Provisions and Agency Collaboration," The Legal Intelligencer, July 8, 2020

Co-author, "SEC Signals New Phase of Regulation FD Enforcement," Ballard Spahr alert, August 20, 2019

Co-author, "First Step Act of 2018 Aims to Reform Sentencing Laws," The Legal Intelligencer, February 4, 2019

Co-author, "Has the SEC Lost Home Court Advantage?," Ballard Spahr alert, June 22, 2018

Co-author, "Recent Supreme Court Decision Narrows Definition of Whistleblower," The Legal Intelligencer, March 8, 2018

Co-author, "Virtual Currency Is a Commodity Regulated by the CFTC, Eastern District of New York Rules," Ballard Spahr alert, March 8, 2018 

Co-author, "SEC Approves New Standards for Independent Auditors," Ballard Spahr alert, October 25, 2017 

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

Co-author, "SEC Embraces its New Enforcement Weapon: Anti-Money Laundering and Reporting Requirements Under the Bank Secrecy Act," Ballard Spahr article, June 20, 2017

Harvard Law School (J.D. 2003)

Haverford College (B.A. 1999, high honors in Economics, Political Science)
Phi Beta Kappa

District of Columbia

New York