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The Securities and Exchange Commission has appointed a new chief accountant for its division of enforcement — Charles D. Niemeier, a partner at Washington, D.C.-based Williams & Connolly, who previously worked as a certified public accountant for both Ernst & Young L.L.P. and Arthur Andersen. In addition to his role as chief accountant, in which Niemeier will supervise the enforcement efforts of some 25 SEC accountants, Niemeier will co-head a new SEC financial fraud task force, along with Division Associate Director Paul R. Berger. The task force has been established because “this is an area of the highest priority for the commission,” said SEC Chief of Enforcement Richard Walker, adding, “The specialized focus unit will step up our response to financial reporting and disclosure violations.” The task force’s staff will include seven attorneys and four accountants, Walker said. Niemeier, 43, is expected to join the SEC, in what will be his first government position, on or about June 1. Niemeier first joined Williams & Connolly as an accountant in 1989 and, then during his time at Williams & Connolly, earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. As a partner, he has specialized in securities law. Niemeier also has substantial prior experience in forensic accounting. When asked how he came to take the SEC position, Niemeier, a native of Gatesville, Texas, remarked, “It popped up and this is something that I have a little bit of experience in�the financial fraud area�and I just believe there is something here that I may be able to contribute. Right now, the commission is facing a lot of issues, including the Chairman’s [Arthur Levitt's] attack on financial fraud, and I just want to be a part of that.” Niemeier “brings a unique combination of legal and accounting skills” to the department, said Walker. The new chief accountant replaces Walter Schuetze, who retired from the position earlier this year but has stayed on as a consultant to the division.

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