Ellen M. Wheeler

Partner

Overview

Ellen M. Wheeler is a partner and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP. She is a member of the firm’s Securities Enforcement & Litigation as well as Securities, Commodities & Exchange Regulation Practices.

She represents broker-dealers, underwriters, futures commission merchants, traders, auditors, and officers in both litigation and enforcement matters. In particular, Ellen has defended clients in large securities class actions, in arbitrations brought by customers and employees, at administrative hearings against the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, and in connection with other enforcement investigations and proceedings by the SEC, CFTC, PCAOB, FINRA, CME Group, and other regulatory organizations.

Additionally, Ellen provides regulatory counseling to clients, including assisting broker-dealers, introducing brokers, and other clients with regulatory exams, internal investigations, and compliance with new rules and regulations.

Representative Enforcement Engagements

  • Counsel to commodity trading advisor alleged by CME Group to have engaged in manipulative trading; investigation closed with no action
  • Counsel to entity alleged by CFTC to be acting as unregistered commodity trading advisor; investigation closed with no action
  • Counsel to municipal underwriter in SEC investigation of alleged “flipping” of municipal bonds; investigation closed with no action
  • Counsel to trader and firm accused of “spoofing” by multiple CME Group exchanges; secured favorable settlement on behalf of trader, no action against firm
  • Counsel to multiple firms in position limits investigations by CFTC; all matters closed with no action
  • Counsel to multiple firms in CBOE proceedings involving alleged violations of priority rules; all matters closed with no action or with favorable settlement
  • Counsel to Investment Advisor in SEC investigation of cross-trading; investigation closed with no action
  • Counsel to commercial entity in CFTC investigation regarding EFRPs; investigation closed with no action
  • Counsel to trader in ICE investigation regarding alleged wash sales; investigation closed with no action
  • Counsel to multiple underwriters in connection with the SEC’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative
  • Counsel to former employee of mutual fund management company in an enforcement proceeding brought by the SEC concerning allegations of market timing; following approximately three-week hearing, client was exonerated of all charges
  • Counsel to former chief financial officer of public company in an enforcement proceeding brought by the SEC charging CFO with fraud in connection with public disclosures; two–week hearing resulted in favorable opinion with no sanctions levied against client

Representative Litigation Engagements

  • Counsel to multiple options specialist firms in action brought by professional traders involving allegations of order mishandling, resulting in dismissal of claims against some defendants and summary judgment in favor of remaining defendants
  • Counsel to investment bank in connection with multiple lawsuits arising out of collapse of auction rate securities market, resulting in dismissal of all claims
  • Counsel to investment advisor in FINRA arbitration in connection with claims arising out of collapse of auction rate securities market
  • Counsel to individual defendant in class action and multiple individual actions alleging fraud and violations of Sherman Antitrust Act and the Commodity Exchange Act
  • Counsel to individual defendant in class action involving allegations of stock options back dating
  • Counsel to clearing firm in CBOE arbitration, resulting in dismissal of all claims with prejudice
  • Counsel to broker-dealer in FINRA arbitration brought by former customer; week-long arbitration resulting in award entirely in favor of defendant
  • Counsel to investment bank in major class action involving allegations of manipulation and misconduct in connection with initial public offerings

Pro Bono

Ellen also actively represents clients on a pro bono basis and, in particular, individuals seeking asylum in the United States after fleeing persecution in their home countries. She serves on the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Leadership Council.

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School, (J.D., 1997)
    • Chief articles editor, Michigan Journal of Gender & Law
  • Grinnell College, (B.A., 1994)
    • Political Science

Admissions

  • Illinois
    • Northern and Central Districts of Illinois
  • District of Colorado
  • The Second Circuit
  • The Seventh Circuit
  • The Federal Circuit
  • Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois

Publications and Presentations

  • Author, “Recent Trends and Developments in False Statement Actions: Whether You Can Advise Your Client to “Just Answer the Question” and Other Ethical Issues Raised by the CFTC’s Recent Enforcement Action,” ABA Derivatives & Futures Law Committee Meeting (January 2020)
  • Co-author, “Hot Topic: Securities and Commodities Enforcement,” Corporate Disputes (Jan-Mar 2019)
  • Co-author, “Stock Exchange Immunity Erodes As Biz Models Evolve,” Securities Law360 (Aug. 20, 2018)
  • Presenter, “Broker-Dealers and FCMs: Are Their Regulations Harmonized or Not?” FIA Law and Compliance 2018 (May 2018)
  • Author, “Harmonizing the SEC’s and CFTC’s Enforcement Regimes,” FIA Law and Compliance Conference (March 2018)
  • Presenter, “When Your Regulators Become Your Adversaries,” Foley & Lardner LLP Market Regulation Series (April 9, 2014)
  • Co-author, "Top Ten SEC Enforcement Developments of 2012," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (2013)
  • Presenter, “Navigating the Dodd-Frank Minefield,” Foley & Lardner LLP Market Regulation Series (April 12, 2012)
  • Presenter, "The Expansion of SEC’s Enforcement Authority," Chicago Bar Association seminar entitled "The Crash of 2008 – The Government’s Response: Financial Reform" (March 17, 2011)
  • Co-author, "Top Ten SEC Enforcement Developments of 2010," BNA’s Securities Regulation & Law Report (February 21, 2011)
  • Presenter, "Addressing New Issues in FINRA, SEC and State Examination and Enforcement Proceedings," 2010 National Society of Compliance Professional Midwest Regional Meeting (April 12, 2010)
  • Co-author, "Top Ten SEC Enforcement Developments of 2009," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (March 15, 2010)
  • Co-author, "Top 10 SEC Enforcement Developments of 2008," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (March 3, 2009)
  • Co-author, "Top 10 SEC Enforcement Developments of 2007," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (April 7, 2008)
  • Co-author, update to chapter on securities litigation, Matthew Bender Treatise on Securities Law
  • Presenter, "Trends in Securities Enforcement," BNA (July 2008)

Insights

Stock Exchange Immunity Erodes As Biz Models Evolve
20 August 2018
Law360
VIX Manipulation Class Actions
11 May 2018
Legal News: Securities Enforcement & Litigation
Multiple Cases Filed Alleging VIX Manipulation By Traders
14 March 2018
Legal News: Securities Enforcement & Litigation
Multiple Cases Filed Alleging VIX Manipulation By Traders
14 March 2018
Legal News: Securities Enforcement & Litigation