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Justin L. Chretien

Justin L. Chretien

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Overview

Justin Chretien is a litigator with decades of experience handling high-stakes regulatory investigations, formal disciplinary proceedings, and litigation on behalf of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was most recently a FINRA enforcement senior director who oversaw hundreds of cases against broker-dealers and associated persons involving all manner of violations of federal securities laws and the rules of FINRA and U.S. stock exchanges. His broad experience includes addressing violations related to firm supervisory systems and procedures, market access and risk management controls, market manipulation, best execution, short sales, intermarket sweep orders, trade reporting, trading ahead, anticipatory hedging, due diligence, excessive markups (in equities, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, and treasuries), suitability, money laundering, as well as payment for order flow and gamification issues.

Prior to his eight-year tenure as a FINRA senior director, Justin was senior litigation counsel, spearheading litigation in some of FINRA’s most complex and intractable cases. Before that, Justin was assistant chief litigation counsel for the SEC, leading teams of attorneys, accountants, and experts in complex international securities and fraud cases as a first-chair litigator. Justin also served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice for more than a decade, defending the United States in complex civil litigation in federal district and circuit courts.

Justin combines extensive regulatory compliance knowledge with a track record of building airtight cases as a litigator. He is a recipient of both FINRA’s Premier Achievement Award and the SEC Enforcement Division Director’s Award for litigation excellence.

Earlier in his career, Justin founded and directed a pro bono program called “The Law and You,” leading 30 attorneys providing instruction to high schools in constitutional, civil, and criminal law and the consequences of crime. Prior to law school, Justin, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, served as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot.

Experience

FINRA Experience

  • Supervised enforcement attorneys bringing 50 to 80 proceedings each year against major U.S. financial institutions for violations of federal securities laws and rules of FINRA and U.S. stock exchanges.
  • Directed attorneys and staff in FINRA’s most complex and lengthiest manipulation case on behalf of FINRA and 12 U.S. stock exchanges, with conduct spanning more than a decade and involving more than 100 causes of action.
  • Litigated FINRA’s highest-priority matter against a firm and its CEO for fraud in the sale of promissory notes, resulting in firm expulsion and permanent bar of CEO.
  • Lead counsel in a high-priority matter against a firm for money laundering violations related to Venezuelan bonds, resulting in a $100,000 fine; and against a CEO for destruction of evidence and providing false testimony regarding transactions away from the firm, resulting in a permanent bar.

SEC Experience

  • Decisively acted to freeze more than $1 million in ill-gotten assets of Russian hackers in a high-profile matter in federal district court (SDNY), returning funds into U.S. brokerage accounts; then unraveled a complex international fraud scheme and delivered judgment for SEC of more than $10 million in fines.
  • Counseled SEC leadership concerning litigation risks and strategies, charging decisions, settlement negotiations, policies, and programmatic concerns. Worked closely with domestic and foreign regulators, DOJ, FBI, and U.S. attorneys.

Speaking Engagements

  • “Reg BI — Lessons Learned From Year One,” 2021 IRI Annual Conference (September 22, 2021)

Pro Bono

  • Founded and directed “The Law and You” pro bono program involving 30 attorneys, providing instruction to high schools in constitutional, civil, and criminal law and the consequences of crime. Widely hailed in local media.

Credentials

Education
  • George Washington University Law School (J.D.)
  • U.S. Air Force Academy (B.S.)
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia Courts

Background

  • Senior Director, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Rockville, MD (2011–2021)
  • Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Washington, D.C. (2008–2011)
  • Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. (1997–2008)
  • Fighter Pilot, F-4 Phantom, U.S. Air Force

Disclaimer

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