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Mr. Rivera oversaw more than 150 financial fraud investigations related to government’s trillion-dollar TARP bailout of U.S. financial sector; he has substantial experience directing, conducting and defending complex criminal and civil government and internal investigations


Washington, DC (April 11, 2013) – Venable LLP announced that Michael J. Rivera, formerly Chief Investigative Counsel for the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), has joined the firm’s nationally recognized SEC and White Collar Defense Group as a partner in the Washington, DC office. Over his 22-year legal career, Mr. Rivera also served as an enforcement attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a partner with an international law firm.

While at SIGTARP, Mr. Rivera was at the center of the federal government’s trillion-dollar bailout of the U.S. financial sector, investigating and prosecuting some of the most brazen fraud and misconduct associated with the financial crisis. He managed more than 150 investigations conducted by SIGTARP’s Investigations Division, working alongside government prosecutors and senior officials at federal and state bank and securities regulatory agencies and numerous law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Rivera was responsible for criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions at SIGTARP involving TARP fraud, accounting fraud, bank fraud, loan fraud, securities fraud, mortgage servicer misconduct, fraudulent advance-fee schemes, money laundering, obstruction of justice, perjury and tax fraud. During Mr. Rivera's tenure, SIGTARP lawyers and investigators were frequently sought out by prosecutors to conduct important bank, securities and mortgage fraud investigations. His responsibilities also included overseeing the TARP financial relief programs totaling nearly $2.5 trillion in government and private funds, in particular the $700 billion Capital Purchase Program (more popularly known as the “bank bailout”) and the Public-Private Investment Program.

“Anyone who questions whether the government successfully pursued wrongdoing related to the economic crisis need only review Mike Rivera’s resume. He led what was arguably one of the country’s most significant government investigative and prosecutorial initiatives in history in his role as Chief Investigative Counsel at SIGTARP,” said Geoffrey Garinther, who chairs Venable’s Litigation Practice Group. “Mike has exceptional experience handling criminal and civil investigations, including 17 years in private practice at a major international law firm defending companies and executives facing government investigations. He brings a rare combination of skills to our group, and a track record that will enhance our most important financial and corporate litigation matters.”

In addition to his principal role overseeing investigations and TARP programs, Mr. Rivera served as SIGTARP’s representative to President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and its bank, mortgage and securities working groups. He also led SIGTARP’s establishment of working groups with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which resulted in successful joint enforcement actions and the issuance of consumer protection alerts. 

“Venable’s SEC and white collar practice has a strong reputation for performing top-notch work, recently earning the honor of being named the best white collar practice for 2013. The firm’s stellar bench of former SEC enforcement staffers, bank regulators and Assistant U.S. Attorneys has substantial experience defending major financial fraud investigations,” said Mr. Rivera. “Few firms in Washington possess Venable’s unique combination of reputable white collar lawyers along with senior attorneys with deep experience practicing before key government financial regulatory agencies. I look forward to working with Venable’s fine lawyers and staff and enjoying a long and prosperous career at the firm.”

Venable’s litigation and investigations group includes former federal prosecutors and enforcement lawyers with the SEC. The group was named the 2013 “Law Firm of the Year” in Criminal Defense: White-Collar – Litigation by Best Law Firms, a joint publication of U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers in America.

Mr. Rivera began his career as a staff attorney in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement where he investigated violations of the federal securities laws. Prior to joining SIGTARP, he was a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP where he practiced for 17 years representing clients in government and internal investigations and advising them on a broad range of corporate and securities compliance and regulatory issues. He represented numerous financial institutions, executives and securities professionals, including public companies, broker-dealers, investment advisers, hedge funds, private equity firms, and accounting firms, as well as individual officers, directors, lawyers and accountants.

Mr. Rivera’s securities and banking experience also complements Venable’s financial regulatory group. The firm boasts a number of former senior counsel and officials with the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, FDIC and other agencies.

Mr. Rivera received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (1991) and his B.S. in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University (1988).

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