Claudius Modesti

Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Key Experience

Served as a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement attorney, federal prosecutor and the first director of the Division of Enforcement for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

Conducts internal investigations on behalf of senior management, audit committees and boards of directors.

Regularly advises clients on SEC financial reporting, disclosure, compliance, and corporate governance requirements.


Offers extensive enforcement experience across a broad range of capital market regulatory and corporate governance matters, including representing corporations, accounting and other professional firms, investment firms and other financial institutions in front of the Department of Justice (DOJ), SEC, PCAOB and other regulatory bodies.

As an SEC enforcement attorney and a federal prosecutor for over a decade, Claudius investigated and prosecuted insider trading, offering fraud, accounting fraud, government contract fraud and bribery matters. Claudius then became 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

Disclosure violations


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.