The Securities and Exchange Commission named LeeAnn Ghazil Gaunt the new chief of its Enforcement Division’s Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit.
Gaunt replaces Elaine Greenberg, who left the agency in July. Her appointment comes as the agency is realigning its enforcement divisions under Mary Jo White, who became SEC chairman in April. A new emphasis is being placed on several areas, including improving its risk analysis capabilities.
“In her 13 years with the SEC, LeeAnn has demonstrated tremendous judgment and leadership as a valued member of our enforcement team,” said Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
In the past several years, the enforcement division brought actions against New Jersey and Illinois for misleading the public about pension liabilities. Those states, as well cities, across the country are grappling with unfunded pension liabilities.
The Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit also oversees municipal bonds and has brought actions against school districts in Miami and Harrisburg, Pa.
Gaunt, who has worked in the SEC’s Boston regional office for 13 years, has been a part of the pensions unit since it was created in 2010. Cases she has investigated have involved a range of matters from insider trading to investment advisor violations.
In September 2012, she was the lead investigator on the agency’s first enforcement action involving pay-to-play for in-kind political contributions. In that case, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay about $10 million in restitution, penalties and interest for donations made to the then Massachusetts treasurer, Timothy Cahill.
Before joining the SEC, Gaunt was a lawyer in private practice in Boston with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and later at Goodwin Procter. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University and her law degree from Northwestern.