Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced three appointments to the New York State Department of Financial Services. These appointments follow the Governor’s recent nomination of Maria Vullo to serve as the Superintendent of DFS.
The Department of Financial Services is charged with protecting consumers and markets in New York State from fraud and financial crises, as well as reforming the regulation of financial services to keep pace with dynamic changes within the industry. DFS was created in 2011 by the merger of the state’s Banking and Insurance Departments.
“These individuals bring with them practical knowledge and experience that will greatly aid DFS in its role as a regulator and help consumers, investors and markets in New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “Their commitment to public service will be an asset to the talented team at DFS and I am proud to welcome them.”
Matthew L. Levine has been appointed Executive Deputy Superintendent for Enforcement. In this role he will guide the Department's enforcement actions to ensure that regulated parties are held accountable for unlawful business practices, coordinating with other senior staff and law enforcement agencies under the direction of the Superintendent.
Mr. Levine is a former federal prosecutor and trial lawyer with significant experience in matters involving the financial markets and health care fraud. He has also represented clients in private practice, most recently as the founding principal of his own law firm in New York City. For nearly a decade, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, first in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and later in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. There, he served as Acting Chief of the Business & Securities Fraud Section and supervised a group of federal prosecutors conducting major securities fraud and other white-collar prosecutions. Before becoming a federal prosecutor, he worked in private practice as a Litigation Associate at the New York City office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he represented corporate and individual clients in civil and criminal matters.
Mr. Levine clerked for the United States District Judge Barefoot Sanders in Dallas, Texas. He earned his J.D. at Columbia School of Law and a B.A. in Government at Lehigh University.
Richard A. Loconte has been appointed Executive Deputy Superintendent for Communications and Strategy at DFS. Mr. Loconte brings with him more than 20 years of experience in communications and public policy. Since 2008, he was the Deputy Head of Government Affairs & Associate General Counsel at AIG, Inc. There, he represented AIG before regulatory agencies and other government bodies on legislative and regulatory issues related to the insurance industry and the broader financial services sector, and was instrumental in reestablishing the company's federal government affairs office in Washington, DC.
From 2005 - 2008, he was the Deputy Executive Director for the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), where he oversaw the organization’s communications, administrative functions, and legal matters. Prior to his time at ABNY, he was the Director of Public Affairs at the Grand Central Partnership. Mr. Loconte has also held roles at the New York City Department of Finance and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. He earned his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from Fordham University.
Jennifer L. Smith has been appointed Special Assistant to the Superintendent at DFS. Most recently, Ms. Smith was an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she worked with former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye on various commercial and appellate matters. While at Skadden, she also served as Assistant Counsel to the Commission on Judicial Nomination and has handled multiple pro bono matters, including representation of domestic violence victims and representation of a client seeking executive clemency through the Department of Justice’s 2014 Clemency Project.
Prior to her time at Skadden, she was a Trial Attorney for Bolan Jahnsen Dacey, and Greenberg Traurig, where she litigated civil matters. She also developed a program with Sanctuary for Families to provide legal services to homeless and battered women and their children at the New York City Department of Homeless Services Prevention Assistance & Temporary Housing (PATH).
Ms. Smith earned her J.D. at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, an M.A. in Organization and Leadership from Columbia University, Teachers College, and a B.A. in English and Anthropology & Sociology from Lafayette College. She received the Empire State Counsel Award from the New York State Bar Association in 2013 and 2014.
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