The SEC has a law enforcement division that pursues charges against perpetrators of white collar crime. These may include investment advisors, company executives, companies at large, investors, and other entities. People who are contacted by the Enforcement Division should talk to an experienced defense lawyer right away.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is in charge of regulating the US securities market. But it is also equipped to investigate and prosecute those who break the law. The Enforcement Division may bring charges against people and companies for many different crimes. People may be charged in civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings.
Whether the investigation is of a criminal or civil nature, it’s vital that you defend yourself against the SEC. The SEC has the authority to enforce many different statutes, and the penalties for violations can be serious. They may include not just hefty fines, but also long prison sentences. It’s common for the SEC to provide litigation releases that publicly announce the criminal sentences, securities litigation, and civil charges being brought against certain companies and investors.
The SEC Enforcement Division publishes a report every year that details the agency’s work. When publishing the 2019 report, the SEC stated that it will continue doing work to enforce penalties regarding securities fraud violations. The investigators say that they will focus on the investors, individual accountability, and the advancement of technology. They will use remedies to further the agency’s goals and continually assess how their resources are allocated.
With these principles in mind, a wide variety of different enforcement actions occurred throughout 2019’s fiscal year.
The SEC works hard to target companies and individuals who are suspected of harming single investors through their fraudulent actions. But there are many different ways to commit fraud. Since the SEC focuses on broadening their technology and assessing their resources, they have a fairly comprehensive map of the way that fraud changes each year.
There are a few major areas that the SEC and other federal agencies have investigated significantly.
One is cryptocurrency fraud. Cryptocurrency is digital currency that doesn’t exist in any one country’s system. It’s one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and it’s also one of the most popular targets of fraud. Fraudulent coin offerings, blockchain investment scams, and other forms of fraud are all common. These may involve Bitcoin or any one of hundreds of other cryptocurrency formats. Because cryptocurrency is so new, the SEC is still learning how to address it within the bounds of the law.
Another area is in CBD and cannabis investment fraud. Companies that commit cannabis-related fraud are often found to be guilty of money laundering and charges related to criminal activity.
There are many mobile investing and trading apps that have been closely monitored by the SEC. Companies from every sector of the economy are releasing financial apps that must comply with federal laws. Even if a company doesn’t intend to commit fraud, a lack of oversight can lead to a fraud charge. That goes especially for apps that may cause users to lose money due to the violations.
Fraud investigations often begin through email and mail solicitations. But in recent years, social media solicitations have also become a big deal. These scam artists and companies contact investors using social media. The SEC has strict marketing rules regarding mail, email, and social media solicitations. If a person doesn’t comply with these rules, they may be subject to penalties.
Biomedical and high-technology investment scams have been the subject of the SEC’s scrutiny. Many companies are offering potentially fraudulent investment opportunities with experimental technology. If they open to investors, they’re required to comply with the SEC’s rules about transparency. They must also complete all the paperwork to file and register their company, as well as to sign up for exemptions.
Some of the most common actions that can lead to an SEC fraud investigation include:
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