The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Kara Novaco Brockmeyer, Chief of the Enforcement Division’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit, is planning to leave the agency later this month.
Since 2011, Ms. Brockmeyer has led a national unit of 38 attorneys, accountants, and other specialists focusing on violations of the anti-bribery and accounting provisions of the federal securities laws. In addition, Ms. Brockmeyer has played a leading role in SEC programs, having founded and served as the co-head of the Enforcement Division’s Cross Border Working Group, a proactive risk-based initiative focusing on U.S. companies with substantial foreign operations, and serving as a member of the Enforcement Division’s Cooperation Committee and the Enforcement Advisory Committee.
“Kara’s creativity and perseverance have led to truly outstanding results in the SEC’s FCPA program,” said Stephanie Avakian, Acting Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “Her leadership of the unit has led to many successes in the FCPA area.”
Ms. Brockmeyer said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the incredibly talented and dedicated staff in the FCPA Unit and throughout the Division of Enforcement and the SEC. I am very proud of the results that the unit has achieved over the past five years.”
Under Ms. Brockmeyer’s supervision of the FCPA unit, the SEC has brought 72 FCPA enforcement actions addressing a wide range of misconduct and resulting in judgments and orders totaling more than $2 billion in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and penalties. These impactful actions included charges against:
- Hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, which paid $412 million in civil and criminal sanctions to settle charges that it used intermediaries, agents, and business partners to pay bribes to high-level government officials in Africa. In addition, Och-Ziff CEO Daniel Och agreed to pay nearly $2.2 million to settle SEC charges that he caused certain violations along with CFO Joel Frank, who also agreed to settle charges.
- Brazilian-based petrochemical manufacturer Braskem S.A., which agreed to pay $957 million in a global settlement for concealing millions of dollars in illicit bribes paid to Brazilian government officials to win business.
- Financial services firm JP Morgan Chase & Co., which paid $264 million in a global settlement of charges that it corruptly influenced government officials and won business in the Asia-Pacific region by giving jobs and internships to their relatives and friends.
- Brazilian-based aircraft manufacturer Embraer S.A., which agreed to pay $205 million to settle charges that it violated the FCPA to win business in the Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia, Mozambique, and India.
- Tokyo-based conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. for inaccurately recording improper payments to South Africa’s ruling political party in connection with contracts to build power plants. Hitachi agreed to pay $19 million to settle charges.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev, which paid $6 million to settle charges that it violated the FCPA by using third-party sales promoters to make improper payments to government officials in India and chilled a whistleblower who reported the misconduct.
- Wisconsin-based global provider of HVAC systems Johnson Controls, which agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle charges that its Chinese subsidiary used sham vendors to make improper payments to employees of Chinese government-owned shipyards and other officials to win business.
During Ms. Brockmeyer’s tenure as Chief of the FCPA Unit, the SEC expanded its use of cooperation tools in the FCPA area, including the first FCPA-related non-prosecution agreement (NPA) in 2013 with Ralph Lauren Corporation, and the first use of a deferred prosecution agreement with an individual in an FCPA case in 2016. Ms. Brockmeyer also supervised a significant financial fraud matter that resulted in charges against Weatherford International and its executives for inflating earnings by using deceptive income tax accounting, and against Ernst & Young LLP and two of its partners for conducting failed audits of Weatherford.
Ms. Brockmeyer joined the SEC in 2000 following several years in private practice. She started supervising investigations in 2002 and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2005. In addition to FCPA investigations, Ms. Brockmeyer has substantial experience supervising matters involving financial fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, and violations by regulated entities. She received the Capital Markets Award and the Supervisory Excellence Award from the SEC in 2004 as well as the Irving Pollack Award in 2013 and the Meritorious Impact Award in 2016.
Ms. Brockmeyer received her law degree magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School and her undergraduate degree cum laude from Williams College.
Following Ms. Brockmeyer’s departure, Charles Cain, who is currently the Deputy Chief of the FCPA Unit, will serve as Acting Chief.