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David Nelson

Fort Lauderdale

t: 954.377.4233
f: 954.356.0022
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Areas of Practice


Global Investigations and White Collar Defense

Securities Litigation


Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1983

Princeton University, B.A., Politics, 1979


District of Columbia


New York

Pennsylvania (inactive)

David Nelson is counsel in the firm's Fort Lauderdale and Miami offices.  His practice includes representation in Securities and Exchange Commission investigations, securities litigation, internal investigations, and white collar criminal matters. 

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Nelson was Regional Director of the SEC's Miami Regional Office from 2000 through 2009.  As Regional Director, Mr. Nelson oversaw all aspects of the office's operations, including its enforcement, examination, and litigation programs. Under his leadership, the Miami office brought highly significant cases covering the full range of the Commission's enforcement program, including:

  • Accounting and corporate reporting cases involving Andrx, Pediatrix, Hamilton Bank, and Tribune Company.
  • Emergency action against a billion dollar viatical scam operated by Mutual Benefits, which, in litigation, established case law in the 11th Circuit that viaticals are subject to SEC regulation.
  • The SEC's first-ever case alleging jurisdiction over interest rate swap agreements in connection with illegal payments to a Jefferson County, Ala., official to acquire municipal finance business.
  • Financial fraud case against former officers of DHB Industries, a major supplier of body armor to the U.S. military, and its former CEO David Brooks.
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases involving Bell South and the Bristow Group.
  • Offering fraud and affinity fraud cases such as K.L. Group, Pension Fund of America, U.S. Pension Trust, Focus Financial, Wealth Pools, Scoop Capital, and Worldwide Entertainment.
  • The landmark auditor independence case against PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Under Mr. Nelson's direction, the Miami office also conducted hundreds of routine, cause and sweep examinations of broker-dealers, investment advisers and mutual fund firms in the region, which led to the detection and correction of compliance violations.

Mr. Nelson joined the SEC staff in 1984 and held a number of management positions of increasing responsibility within the Division of Enforcement, including branch chief, Assistant Regional Director of Enforcement, and Deputy Regional Director.  Over his career, Mr. Nelson was twice cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to work on criminal matters for the Southern District of New York and for the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Nelson earned numerous awards over his SEC career including the John Marshall Award (Department of Justice), Chairman's Special Act Award, Capital Markets Award, and Chief Postal Inspector's Special Award. Nelson also devoted significant efforts to enhancing the Commission's commitment to diversity, and was a member of the SEC's first agency-wide diversity initiative.

Early in his career, Mr. Nelson was a member of the prosecution team in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York that carried out the criminal investigations and prosecutions of Drexel Burnham Lambert, Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, and others.

Mr. Nelson attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before transferring to and graduating from Princeton University with an A.B.  His law degree is from Georgetown University Law Center.

Related News

Stuart Singer and Other Fort Lauderdale Attorneys Named ‘Most Effective Lawyers’ (December 4, 2015)

Dos and Don’ts Under the SEC Whistleblower Rules (Westlaw Journal, White-Collar Crime)

David Boies named litigator of the week for Halliburton argument (In The News)

Supreme Court upholds Basic v. Levinson (In The News)

Former Galleon Group Employees Represented by BSF in Connection with Insider Trading Investigations (04.15.2011)

BSF Assumes Lead Role in Emerging Legal Matters Arising from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme (In The News)

BS&F Draws Former SEC Miami Regional Head (Winter 2010)

Other BSF Cases of Interest (Winter 2010)

BSF Retained by Galleon in Connection with Insider Trading Probe (12.15.2009)

BSF Next Stop for Outgoing SEC Director David Nelson (07.31.2009)

Government Service

Securities and Exchange Commission, 1984 to 2009 (Regional Director, Miami, 2000 to 2009)