Michael P. Brian has been employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 1999 and currently serves as a Supervisory Special Agent for FBI Cleveland’s Cyber Criminal Squad. Before joining the Cleveland Field Office, he was assigned to the Baltimore Field Office. Throughout his career, Michael has worked investigations involving bank robberies, violent crimes, crimes against children on the internet, and national security and criminal cyber crimes. Michael is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Before joining the FBI, he worked in the engineering field in the Cleveland area.
Larissa Bungo is the Assistant Regional Director for the FTC’s East Central Region. Larissa joined the agency as a staff attorney in 1995, and investigated and litigated a broad range of civil cases involving unfair and/or deceptive practices before becoming the Assistant Director in 2010. Larissa also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2010, assisting with a mail, wire and tax fraud prosecution of former FTC defendants. The FTC awarded Larissa the Excellence in Supervision Award in 2014, and Janet D. Steiger team awards in 2012 and 2008. Larissa received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa.
Fil de Banate is an attorney with the FTC’s East Central Region, based in Cleveland. His work focuses on consumer protection, including investigating scams and filing civil lawsuits in federal court to stop fraudulent operations. He has handled matters involving imposter scams, illegal robocalls, tech support scams, a fake veterans’ charity, and student loan debt and credit card interest rate modification schemes. He also has worked on compliance matters involving the FTC’s Funeral Rule. Before joining the FTC in 2012, Fil served as an assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. He earned his degree in Finance and Economics at The Ohio State University and his law degree at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Lesley Fair has served more than 30 years with the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and has received the agency’s Lifetime Achievement Award. After two decades as a litigator with the Division of Advertising Practices, she now specializes in industry outreach with the Division of Consumer & Business Education. She also serves as the agency’s business blogger at business.ftc.gov, cited by ABA Journal as one of the Best Law Blogs of 2018. A Distinguished Lecturer on the faculty of the Catholic University School of Law since 1984, she also teaches Consumer Protection Law at the George Washington University Law School. Lesley is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas Law School.
Sheryl Harris is the Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs, which protects County residents from unfair and deceptive sales practices. The Division of Consumer Protection mediates consumer disputes against businesses, investigates scams and enforces the County’s Consumer Protection Code. Consumer Affairs organizes Scam Squad, a senior financial fraud task force that unites Cleveland-area nonprofits, social service agencies and enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the fight against fraud. From 2000 until joining the County in 2015, Sheryl wrote the consumer advocacy column, “Plain Dealing,” for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Earlier in her career, Sheryl was a reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal, where she worked on “A Question of Color,” a series on race relations that won a Pulitzer Prize. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The Ohio State University.
David Loomis is the Founder and President of Loomis Marketing of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a marketing consulting and executive coaching firm. His experience covers a broad range of industries and companies, including many well-known global brands. Dave has particular expertise in market analysis, segmentation, strategy, innovation, branding, and communications. Previously, Dave was CMO of Dix & Eaton, a strategic communications firm. From 2012 to 2014, Dave was Senior VP at Advanced Innovation & Marketing, where he trained over 500 engineers, marketers and sales professionals in voice-of-customer and product-launch techniques. For 15 years, Dave worked as an internal consultant at the holding company office of NACCO Industries, helping craft strategies for products, industries, channels, key accounts and countries. Dave began his career at Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago.
Sue McConnell began her career with the Better Business Bureau in 1981 in Cleveland, and has served as Vice President of Operations at BBB offices in Cleveland, Akron, and Honolulu. In June 2015, Sue was named President and CEO of the BBB Serving Greater Cleveland. She has served on trade association boards, was elected to serve as a representative to BBB Governance, has served on numerous international BBB committees that shaped BBB standards and policies, and has conducted training workshops for BBB staff across the country. She is regularly seen and heard on local media and was the recipient of the BBB Meritorious Service Award in 2009 — an international honor.
Cary M. Root founded Root-InfoTech of Solon, Ohio, in 1981, and continues to manage the information technology training and consulting firm as its President, Chair, and CEO. He is a seasoned technology consultant with 40 years of experience. He consults and conducts training on cybersecurity. Other specialties include working with businesses to do more with their information technology in the areas of website development, IT audits, IT support, and problem solving. Cary is past chair of the Cleveland Better Business Bureau, past board member of the Council of Better Business Bureaus representing all BBBs throughout the world, a founding director of Ohio Commerce Bank, and serves as an officer or trustee on the boards of several other world organizations.
Rebecca F. Schlag is a Senior Assistant Attorney General in Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Consumer Protection Section. Her work focuses on consumer protection matters, including investigating consumer scams and filing lawsuits against businesses and individuals pursuant to the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and other relevant laws. The suits she files typically seek restitution to consumers, civil penalties, and injunctions against violations of consumer protection laws. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office in 2014, Rebecca was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and head of the Civil Division of the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office for more than 15 years. She is active in the Ohio State Bar Association and the Scam Squad of the Consumer Affairs Office of Cuyahoga County. Rebecca received her Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Wooster.
Andrew Smith is Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. He came to the FTC from the law firm of Covington & Burling, where he co-chaired the financial services practice group. Earlier in his career, Andrew was a staff attorney at the FTC, where he led the agency’s efforts to make several rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Andrew has written extensively on consumer protection and financial services issues, served as the Chair of the American Bar Association’s Consumer Financial Services Committee, and is a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers and the American Bar Foundation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Williams College, and a Juris Doctor from William & Mary Law School, where he served as Professional Articles Editor of the William & Mary Law Review.
Melissa S. Smith is an Assistant Section Chief of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Consumer Protection Section. Melissa joined the Attorney General’s Office in 2008. In 2012, she created and directed the Ohio Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit, and also began directing the Consumer Protection Education Unit. Her legal work focuses on matters related to data breaches and data privacy. In 2018, she worked on a data breach settlement with Uber, Inc., that resulted in a $147 million settlement, including $5.7 million for Ohio. More recently, she participated on the multistate executive committee to resolve a case against Equifax related to its 2017 data breach. The $175 million settlement included $7.1 million for Ohio. Melissa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law, her Master of Arts degree in criminology from the University of Toledo, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and criminology from The Ohio State University.
Jon Miller Steiger is the Director of the FTC’s East Central Region, based in Cleveland. The East Central Region covers consumer protection law enforcement and education for Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. He received his law degree from Columbia Law School, and then clerked for the Hon. Avern Cohn in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Jon started his legal career at the FTC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. He returned home to Cleveland in 2001, with his wife and two children, staying with the FTC as a litigator before becoming Assistant Regional Director in 2005, and Director in 2009.
Thomas F. Zych is a partner in the Cleveland office of Thompson Hine LLP, where he heads the firm’s Privacy & Cybersecurity team and chairs its Emerging Technologies Practice. Tom has over 35 years of experience in a wide range of data protection, intellectual property, consumer protection, social media, competition and antitrust matters. He represents a full range of business enterprises in their privacy and data security operations. His technology practice focuses on providing strategic counseling to both mature and early stage technology ventures, including online and in-store retailers, biotechnology and bioinformatics ventures, and established businesses adopting electronic and technologically advanced means of competition. He also has considerable experience in trade secret litigation and counseling; patent, trademark and copyright litigation; intellectual property transactions; corporate internal investigations; merger and acquisition counseling; antitrust matters; and social media marketing.