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Lawyer Chided for Not Checking Before Telling Judge to ‘Ctrl-F’

Oct. 21, 2019, 6:55 PM

A defense attorney must watch what he says in court after misrepresenting an SEC deposition and telling a New York federal district judge she was welcome to word search the filing if she didn’t believe him.

James M. Wines told the judge at a pretrial conference in a market manipulation suit that “layering” and “spoofing” didn’t come up a single time during a two-day deposition of one of his clients in 2014. But the transcript showed the client “discussed layering extensively in response to” Securities and Exchange Commission questions, Judge Denise L. Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said Oct. 21.

“Your Honor, you can do a word search of that testimony,” said Wines, who represents a Ukrainian trading firm and its owner against a suit alleging they manipulated U.S. markets, according to the order. “You will not find the word ‘layering.’ You will not find the word ‘spoofing.’ I can guarantee it,” he said at the Oct. 11 conference.

The SEC submitted a copy of the deposition transcript Oct. 13. The transcript recorded at least eight SEC questions including the word “layering,” which involves placing and canceling orders to trick others to but securities at inflated prices, Cote’s order said.

Wines’s client and the SEC “engaged in a detailed discussion of layering, its characteristics, its relationship to a control system implemented by” one of the other defendants, “and whether layering constitutes market manipulation.” The order didn’t identify any transcript references to “spoofing.”

“Mr. Wines is reminded to exercise care before making factual representations” to the court, Cotes said. “Any further misrepresentations of fact by Mr. Wines will be taken seriously and addressed accordingly.”

Wines represents Vail Management Partners (doing business as Avalon FA Ltd.), Nathan Fayyer, and Sergey Pustelnik through a solo firm based in Alexandria, Va., according to the docket. His website indicates he’s barred in New York and the District of Columbia.

The case is SEC v. Lek Securities Corp., S.D.N.Y., No. 17-cv-01789, order filed 10/21/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Bennett in Washington at jbennett@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com