Release Number 8667-23

Chairman Behnam Announces Veteran Federal Prosecutor Ian McGinley as Enforcement Director

McGinley Arrives with Significant Experience in Commodity Fraud, Crypto and Cyber Enforcement

February 28, 2023

Washington, D.C. — Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam today announced that longtime federal prosecutor Ian McGinley will serve as the agency’s Director of Enforcement. Mr. McGinley’s arrival supports the Chairman’s continued focus on aggressively monitoring and policing commodity markets at a time of heightened stress and volatility, emerging digital threats to financial markets, including cryptocurrency frauds, cyber-enabled financial fraud, and cyberattacks. Mr. McGinley spent more than a decade as a prosecutor at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), where he co-led the Complex Frauds and Cyber Crime Unit, and also served as a senior member of the Securities and Commodities Task Force, among other positions.

“Ian McGinley is a leader in combatting modern financial fraud. His background as a prosecutor with unique experience in commodities, crypto, and cyber-crimes and frauds makes him an ideal person to lead the CFTC’s enforcement team. The financial markets operate primarily through cyberspace, with fewer physical barriers and human interventions than ever before,” said Chairman Behnam. “While this era is defined by tremendous opportunities to build efficiencies and expand the scope of derivatives markets, these market transformations also create new opportunities for fraud and manipulation. This is especially relevant with respect to the growing influx of retail participants who are particularly susceptible to scams and frauds. At a time when the CFTC needs to continue being aggressive and nimble in our efforts to prosecute those looking to prey on customers in this environment, Ian is the right choice.”

“I want to thank Gretchen Lowe for her incredible commitment to public service and leading the CFTC’s preeminent enforcement program. Gretchen, who has led the enforcement division with great skill and distinction as the Acting Director since April of 2022, navigated many challenging and novel issues, delivering record-breaking results for the Commission last fiscal year, particularly in the digital asset space.”

At SDNY, Mr. McGinley led criminal prosecutions involving a wide range of white-collar crimes, including market manipulation, insider trading, cryptocurrency fraud, bank fraud, and cybercrime. When the pandemic began, he was appointed SDNY’s Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to oversee all pandemic related fraud cases.  Earlier in his career at SDNY, he served as the Chief of the Narcotics Unit, where he supervised the nation’s first felony criminal case against a pharmaceutical distributor and its executives for the illegal distribution of opioids.  He also investigated and tried cases involving sanctions violations and international terrorism, including the trial conviction of Abu Hamza al-Masri, a notorious terrorist leader who supported al-Qaeda. Mr. McGinley tried eleven jury trials and argued numerous appeals. During his time at SDNY, he received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, the True American Hero Award, the Counterintelligence Operations Award, and was named Federal Prosecutor of the Year in 2015.  Most recently, since September 2021, Mr. McGinley was a partner at the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, where he handled criminal and regulatory matters.  

“I want to thank Chairman Behnam for his confidence in me and for his commitment to continuing this division’s aggressive efforts in prosecuting fraud and manipulation. I have worked alongside the talented and dedicated staff of the CFTC enforcement division, and I have always been impressed by their professionalism and commitment to public service and justice. With the growing global importance of the markets the CFTC oversees and the complexity of the threats to the stability of these markets, the CFTC’s enforcement mission is now more important than ever. I am eager to join Gretchen and this highly motivated group,” said Mr. McGinley.

Mr. McGinley received his J.D. from New York University School of Law. He has an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School and an M.Sc. with merit from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Gene E.K. Pratter of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.