Claudius Modesti is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. The one and only PCAOB enforcement director to enter private practice, Claudius counsels and defends accounting firms, regulated entities, corporations and individuals in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings involving the PCAOB and the SEC, in addition to advising on other federal or state criminal investigations.
Claudius was the PCAOB’s first enforcement director, leading the team that built the enforcement group from its inception. He oversaw the development of the PCAOB’s policies and procedures for identifying matters for investigation, and he led investigations of U.S.- and foreign-based accounting firms, with many of them also requiring coordinating parallel investigations with the SEC. Claudius’ role also included overseeing the PCAOB’s litigation process. He also played a key role in the PCAOB’s collaboration with its foreign audit regulator counterparts.
Claudius managed a team of more than 60 lawyers, accountants and other professional staff with enforcement jurisdiction over 1,900 registered accounting firms. Annually, he oversaw more than 100 investigations spanning a broad range of audit matters, including:
- Accounting fraud
- Revenue recognition
- Asset impairment
- Illegal acts
Prior to a 14-year tenure at the PCAOB, Claudius served with the Fraud Section of the DOJ’s Criminal Division as a trial attorney, the SEC as an enforcement attorney and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) as a federal prosecutor in the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit.
After several years at the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Claudius moved to the DOJ’s Criminal Division Fraud Section, where he investigated, indicted and prosecuted white collar crimes. At EDVA, he focused on prosecuting securities fraud by public companies.