As the financial world gets more complex, it becomes harder for financial professionals to maintain an understanding of the various rules and regulations. Because of this, more individuals are receiving subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission. When this happens, it can make a person quite nervous and scared, wondering what will come next. However, instead of weaving your way through the legal process alone or with an attorney who has little or no experience in these matters, contacting an SEC subpoenas lawyer can make the process much easier from the beginning.
Why Am I Being Contacted?
When you receive a subpoena from the SEC, the first thought you’ll have is wondering why you are being contacted by the agency. In most cases, you are being contacted because the SEC has placed you under investigation or it is believed you have relevant information pertaining to a current investigation. In either case, the subpoena will state that you are expected to provide certain documents to the agency, or that you will be expected to testify in court or at a hearing with SEC investigators. If you are the recipient of a subpoena, it’s vital to meet with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may make critical mistakes that could result in further legal trouble. For example, by not having a lawyer present with you during questioning, you may incriminate yourself so that something you say will be used against you. Or if you are asked to provide certain documents, it will be to your benefit to speak with your attorney to find out if it will be in your best interest to hand over the requested documents.
Formal Order of Investigation
Once you receive your subpoena, there are several important points your attorney will need to address prior to any action being taken. Of all these, gaining a copy of the formal order of investigation is perhaps the most critical to ensuring all goes well. A document that goes into great detail regarding the agency’s investigation, it can give your attorney additional facts about the case. In doing so, a solid defense strategy can be planned, or your attorney can help you become better prepared to testify at your OTR, also known as an On the Record Interview. At this interview, saying the wrong thing can be devastating. Even if you say something you otherwise believe is harmless, the fact is investigators and SEC attorneys can take your words out of context and use them against you.
What If I Am Charged?
If after having an OTR or handing over documents you find out the SEC plans to charge you with a crime, you must have the sound advice of a knowledgeable SEC subpoenas lawyer. Realizing you can be charged either civilly or criminally, your attorney will begin to do what is necessary to protect your legal rights. While your case can be heard in a courtroom or in an administrative proceeding with an administrative law judge presiding, many of these matters are settled before they reach either of these settings. Surprisingly to many who are investigated, the SEC prefers to resolve disputes in this manner so that they can keep from becoming bogged down with a handful of difficult to solve cases.
What Are The Penalties?
If after having a hearing or testifying in court you are found guilty of the charges levied against you, various penalties may be imposed. If you are found to be criminally liable, imprisonment as well as fines may be part of your sentence. However, if you are found to be guilty in a civil hearing, you may be fined thousands of dollars, have your license suspended or revoked, and be forced to repay any profits you made from illegal activity.
Use an Experienced Attorney
When you find yourself the subject of an SEC investigation, having an experienced attorney on your side can save your career and your reputation. By focusing on protecting yourself and your livelihood, you greatly increase your chances of having a successful outcome to your case. Instead of letting this become a negative life-changing event, let a skilled SEC subpoenas lawyer help you achieve the results you desire.