Cranfill Sumner Launches MBM in Washington, D.C., with Partners Patrick Mincey and Stephen Bell and Christina Zaroulis Milnor, Former Assistant Secretary of the SEC


Affiliate boutique group will focus on white collar, regulatory enforcement, and high-stakes litigation

WASHINGTON – May 1, 2024 – North Carolina-based law firm, Cranfill Sumner LLP, announced today it has brought on former Assistant Secretary of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Christina Zaroulis Milnor, to launch an affiliate boutique group and its new Washington, D.C., office with well-known white collar partners, Patrick M. Mincey and Stephen Bell. The new group, Mincey Bell Milnor (MBM) will focus on white collar, regulatory enforcement, high-stakes civil litigation, and representation of whistleblowers before federal agencies.

“Our firm’s strategic vision is to have one of the leading white collar and regulatory enforcement groups in the country,” said Marshall Wall, managing partner of Cranfill Sumner. “With MBM, we have landed a prominent government official, just exiting the SEC, paired with two nationally known white collar litigators. We set it up this way so these lawyers could have the visibility of a boutique group with the platform of our larger firm. We plan to continue to grow the practice from here.”

Milnor has held significant roles at the SEC for more than a decade. She helped shape the Commission’s whistleblower program and brings an intimate understanding of securities law, how the SEC works and works with other federal agencies, and unique insight into the regulatory landscape.

“I am thrilled to work with Patrick and Stephen, who are two of the country’s best white collar practitioners and are already assisting compelling whistleblowers in sharing their intelligence with the government,” Milnor said. “This launch is a fabulous first step after my 11 years of government service, and I am certain that this group will take on some of the most impactful, and high-profile, whistleblower representations in modern history.”

In addition to the three partners, Associate Cameron Ervin and Of Counsel Chad Rhoades will also join MBM, and all will remain attorneys at Cranfill Sumner. The group’s clients will have all the benefits of a focused boutique group, with access to the infrastructure, staffing and resources of Cranfill Sumner and its more than 80 attorneys, enabling them to seamlessly take on matters that require the assistance of large attorney teams, the management of terabytes of data, and significant document production.

“We are reinventing traditional white collar work,” Mincey said. “Just as we have done with several high-profile cases to date, we handle white collar defense matters where our clients face criminal and sometimes civil charges, and we think differently about them. In those cases, we conduct investigations that expose questionable and often covered up practices, and they end up becoming whistleblower cases instead.”

Bell added: “With Christina, MBM will have the best, most-experienced lawyers in this area – working at the intersection of business and government in D.C.”

Mincey and Bell represent prominent corporations and professionals in their most challenging criminal, civil, and regulatory cases—including at jury and bench trials and on appeal—before federal and state courts throughout the United States and investigative forums around the world. They represent qui tam relators and individuals in government whistleblower actions and have represented some of the most notable and high-profile whistleblowers in recent times under the False Claims Act, SEC’s Whistleblower Program, FinCEN, and related federal programs.

Their most prominent whistleblower cases include separate matters involving two candidates for president of the United States. One involves whistleblower Will Wilkerson in parallel investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the SEC concerning Trump Media & Technology Group, former President Donald J. Trump’s social media company that owns and operates Truth Social, alleging securities violations and suspicious loans into Trump’s company with ties to the Kremlin and a Vladimir Putin ally. The second case, in parallel multi-billion-dollar investigations by the U.S. Federal Reserve, FinCEN, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, DOJ, and SEC—as well as numerous foreign government counterparts—involves whistleblower Mark Coffey, a former registered investment advisory chief compliance officer who exposed an alleged $2 billion international conspiracy involving Venezuela’s Oil Minister and United Nations Ambassador to launder stolen money from Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) through major U.S. financial institutions.

Milnor began her legal career at the international law firm WilmerHale. Between 2013 and March of this year, she worked in various positions at the SEC, including with its Division of Enforcement, where she focused on its then nascent whistleblower program, its Office of General Counsel, and most recently as the Commission’s Assistant Secretary with greatest oversight of enforcement and litigative matters. She received her B.A. from Harvard University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia.

About Cranfill Sumner LLP

With more than 80 attorneys and 27 practice areas, Cranfill Sumner LLP attorneys serve business and professional clients throughout North Carolina and across the country. Founded in1992, the firm was built on the foundation of teamwork, client service, and reputation, and it continues that legacy today. The firm has offices in Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., and represents clients in all stages of litigation before federal and state courts in North Carolina, as well as select administrative agencies. Whether it’s for privately held companies, municipal entities, small-business owners or partnerships, the “Cranfill way” includes practical and efficient representation tailored for each client. For more information, visit