Kara Novaco Brockmeyer was appointed chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission's FCPA Unit in September 2011. Brockmeyer replaced Cheryl Scarboro, who oversaw the creation of the specialised foreign bribery unit until June 2011, when she left to join Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Brockmeyer left the SEC in April 2017 to join Debevoise & Plimpton.
Brockmeyer graduated with a BA cum laude from Williams College in 1989 and completed her law degree magna cum laude at the University of Michigan Law School in 1992. Prior to joining the SEC she worked for Jenner & Block in the firm's Chicago headquarters.
Brockmeyer joined the SEC in 2000 and began supervising investigations in 2002. In 2005 she was named assistant director of the enforcement division and head of the cross-border working group, which focuses on US companies with significant foreign operations.
She has overseen a number of large Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations and was a member of the team investigating the decades-long scheme by a consortium of energy services companies to bribe Nigerian government officials in exchange for contracts to build a liquefied natural gas facility at Bonny Island, Nigeria. That investigation netted US$1.7 billion in criminal fines and penalties. Brockmeyer also handled market manipulation, financial fraud and insider trading cases.
As head of the cross-border working group, she spearheaded an investigation into Chinese reverse mergers, which the SEC warned investors in June 2011 are prone to fraud. This investigation led to high-level dialogue between top SEC officials and Chinese government officials.
Her dual responsibilities in the working group and the enforcement division required juggling dozens of cases spanning multiple regions of the world.
"She had to deal with overseeing a rather large SEC initiative, and a rather well publicised SEC initiative involved offices, attorneys and accountants across the nation," Luke Cadigan, who recently moved from K&L Gates to Cooley, told Just Anti-Corruption. Cadigan once ran FCPA investigations from the commission's Boston office and worked with Brockmeyer on the cross-border working group.
"She had to deal with the challenges that arrive with prosecuting individuals and entities in other nations,” Cadigan added.
During her tenure in charge of the FCPA unit, Brockmeyer has overseen a period of change. In the last few years, the SEC has increasingly brought its own foreign bribery cases without parallel enforcement action from the Justice Department. Brockmeyer has also spearheaded the agency’s industry sweep of pharmaceutical companies, and has seen the regulator bring some of its largest corruption cases to date: VimpelCom, Och-Ziff Capital Management and Embraer – all in 2016.
In a 2016 public appearance, Brockmeyer said to expect more FCPA enforcement actions over conduct in Latin America, saying the commission has “several cases in the pipeline”.