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Post date: August 7 2018

A.G. Underwood Announces Appointment Of Cynthia Hanawalt As New Investor Protection Bureau Chief

 News from the New York Attorney General's Office 

August 7, 2018

Attorney General's Office Press Office / 212-416-8060 


NEW YORK – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced the appointment of Cynthia Hanawalt as Chief of the Investor Protection Bureau for the Office of the New York Attorney General. Ms. Hanawalt has been leading the Bureau’s enforcement work as Enforcement Section Chief, and brings significant private sector experience prosecuting and defending complex securities matters.  She takes the helm of a Bureau that has long been a driving force behind critical financial industry reforms on behalf of investors.

“As Enforcement Section Chief, Cynthia played a critical role in many of the Bureau’s victories including the team’s recovery of $772 million on behalf of New York investors,” said Attorney General Underwood. “I am confident Cynthia will continue the Investor Protection Bureau’s vital work protecting everyday investors and the integrity of our markets.”

Investor Protection Bureau Chief Cynthia Hanawalt said, “I am honored to accept this appointment from Attorney General Underwood.  Amidst federal retreat and Congressional attacks on the state laws protecting our citizens, there could not be a more important moment for energetic state securities work.  We are fighting for New Yorkers’ financial security on all fronts, from classic abuses like Ponzi schemes and fee overcharges to the evolving risks to the public in trading cryptocurrency.”

Cynthia Hanawalt joined the Office of the Attorney General in 2017, to serve as Enforcement Section Chief of the Investor Protection Bureau.  In that role, she led the enforcement team to groundbreaking resolutions in electronic trading and the mutual fund industry, and to the recovery of hundreds of millions in housing relief for New Yorkers, as well as the development of an active pipeline of innovative new investigations.

Previously, Ms. Hanawalt was a Partner at the boutique securities firm Bleichmar Fonti & Auld LLP, where she represented institutional investors seeking to recover losses and improve the fairness and transparency of financial markets through strategic litigation.  She started her legal career as an associate at McKee Nelson LLP, defending clients in federal and state securities matters.  She is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and Duke University, where she received the Griffith University Service Award.

The Investor Protection Bureau is responsible for enforcing New York State’s securities law, the Martin Act.  The Martin Act gives the Attorney General broad law enforcement powers to conduct investigations of suspected fraud in the offer, sale, or purchase of securities. The Investor Protection Bureau is part of the Division of Economic Justice, which is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Manisha M. Sheth.

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