Driven. Creative. Strategic. Focused.

Driven. Creative. Strategic. Focused.

Michael Piazza

Photo Of Michael Piazza
  • Partner
Ford O’Brien Landy LLP
3700 Ranch Road 620 South
Suite B
Austin, Texas 78738

(212) 256-1047


Mike Piazza focuses his practice on securities and white collar litigation, complex commercial litigation, business disputes, and accounting liability matters. He regularly handles the defense of individuals and companies faced with allegations of wrongdoing asserted by U.S. regulatory authorities (e.g., SEC, CFTC, FTC, PCAOB), the U.S. Department of Justice, state attorneys general, and foreign regulatory authorities. He has deep experience with SEC policies, investigation priorities, and enforcement protocols.

Mike has extensive securities and white collar litigation experience. He has tried, litigated, or arbitrated matters concerning alleged market manipulation, hedge fund fraud, '33 Act, '34 Act, and '40 Act violations, alleged compliance failures, accounting fraud, insider trading, and offering fraud.

And as a former Regional Trial Counsel for the U.S. SEC's Los Angeles Regional Office, a primary area of Mike's private practice focuses on regulatory compliance and dispute resolution. He advises clients on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act, AML statutes, OFAC, and other anti-corruption laws and regulations worldwide. Mike has led and conducted multiple risk assessments. He is experienced at using data from these risk assessments to then design, implement, execute, and monitor global anti-corruption compliance programs. And with the increasing concern about protecting personal data, Mike's compliance efforts further focus on assessing cybersecurity risks and advising on potential solutions. 

Select Engagements:

• Defending public company CEO in parallel DOJ and SEC insider trading investigations arising from a 10b-5 trading plan (2022-2023).
• Defended private equity fund in an SEC investigation, obtained closure of the investigation with no enforcement recommendation (2022).
• Defended former officers of a large utility company in securities class and derivative actions (2021).
• Defended a private equity fund founder through an SEC whistleblower investigation (2020).
• Defended a Midwest-based investment advisor against potential claims related to alleged malfeasance by the deceased founder of the firm; guided the firm through self-reporting to the SEC which resulted in no enforcement action by the Staff (2019).
• Defended three outside directors of a mutual fund in an SEC investigation by the SEC's San Francisco Regional Office; no liability findings against the directors (2017).
• Defended California real estate developer and his private equity fund in an SEC investigation by the Los Angeles Regional Office, and obtained closure of the investigation with no enforcement recommendation (2017).
• Defended San Diego real estate developers in an SEC investigation by the Los Angeles Regional Office; obtained closure of the investigation within six months from inception with no enforcement recommendation (2017).
• Defended two individuals in an SEC investigation by the SEC's Chicago Regional Office concerning alleged violation of an SEC Bar Order; after a pre-Wells Notice meeting, the Staff was persuaded to close the investigation with no enforcement recommendation despite the Staff's threat that a Wells Notice was "imminent (2016).
• Defended Dallas-based hedge fund manager and his fund in connection with an investigation by the SEC's New York Regional Office; obtained closure of the investigation with no enforcement recommendation (2015).
• In Re Air Touch Communications (2015): Represented the three independent outside directors in an SEC investigation into alleged accounting fraud; obtained declinations for all three directors.
• Prime Mover Capital Partners LP et al. v. Electronic Gaming Asia, et al. (S.D.N.Y. 2014, aff'd by the 2nd Circuit 2015): Represented 14 current and former officers and directors of Asian gaming company against securities fraud claims; obtained dismissal of all claims from district court, affirmed on appeal.
• FTC v. Commerce Planet Inc., et al. (C.D. Cal. 2013): Represented C-level executive of an internet marketing company in trade practice matter concerning the use of negative options in internet marketing.
• SEC v. Retail Pro, Inc., et al. (S.D. Cal. 2012): Represented C-level executive from inception of an SEC investigation through jury verdict in securities fraud matter.
• Defended a SoCal-based hedge fund and two individual fund managers targeted in a joint SEC, DOJ, and Houston District Attorney investigation; negotiated global settlement with no criminal charges (2009).
• Defended an individual involved in the New York pension fund pay-to-play scandal (separate SEC, DOJ, and NY Attorney General investigations); obtained early, favorable plea deal (2008).


  • University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • J.D. - 1987
    • Honors: magna cum laude
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
  • Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota
    • B.A. - 1983
    • Honors: cum laude

Professional Associations And Memberships

  • Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni (ASECA)
  • Orange County Bar Association (California)