Eric Bustillo roots out securities fraud as Miami's top cop in Securities and Exchange Commission's regional office
In the world of securities fraud, Eric Bustillo is Miami's top cop. As director of the US Securities and Exchange Commission's Miami Regional Office, his jurisdiction covers Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
He says he does it to make a difference. He sees his job as "protecting people who need protecting." And he does it all despite a 1982 auto accident that left him a quadriplegic.
He has an understated way. But his resume speaks for itself.
He earned degrees in business and law from the University of Miami in 1985 and 1989, respectively. He started his career at the SEC's Miami office from 1990 to 1995 as an enforcement staff lawyer and as branch chief. Then it was on to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida for 15 years as an assistant US attorney and chief of the Economic and Environmental Crimes Section. In that role, he was responsible for managing more than 60 employees and leading the investigation and prosecution of complex white-collar crimes.
Mr. Bustillo was named to his current post in December 2009, heading the regional headquarters in Miami — one of 11 offices of its kind in the nation. He quickly earned the respect of both superiors and subordinates.
Calling the Miami office "a key ingredient in our national enforcement effort," SEC Division of Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami said Mr. Bustillo's "great talent and experience, along with the expertise and professional excellence of the current enforcement management staff, will combine to continue that office's record of smart and informed enforcement action and investor protection."
Mr. Bustillo manages a staff of about 100 attorneys, paralegals, researchers and others.
After meeting him, Greg Gilman, Chapter 293 president of the SEC employees union, described him as "straightforward and sincere." According to the union, relations previously were strained between senior management and frontline staffers at the Miami office. "Since Bustillo's arrival," a union newsletter states, "union representatives have found him to be a pleasure to work with."
His appointment also came at an important juncture for the SEC. He has overseen the Miami office through a reorganization of the Enforcement Division. "Due to the fact that Bustillo likes to be well informed about all of the investigations, cases and examinations, he was extremely busy through the entire reorganization," the union wrote.
Mr. Bustillo took the helm in Miami — which has grown into an international financial capital — in the aftermath of the financial crisis that has resulted in a slew of regulations. He says the SEC needs to use its limited resources strategically to make the greatest impact, while fulfilling its mission of protecting investors and guarding the integrity of capital markets.
Mr. Bustillo discussed his career and the challenges facing the SEC in his Brickell Avenue office with Miami Today reporter Scott Blake.
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