Energy & Utilities Securities Business Torts

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SEC Continues To Focus On Microcap Fraud

The Commission continues to focus on microcap fraud actions with two new manipulation cases involving penny stocks. In one a former registered representative acted as an unregistered broker and then engaged in a series of...more

SEC Brings Fraud Charges Against Oil and Gas Company and Its CEO

On August 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission instituted cease-and-desist proceedings against Houston American Energy Corp., an oil and gas exploration and production company, and John F. Terwilliger, its CEO, for...more

SEC Alleges Fraud from Unregistered Offerings of Oil and Gas Securities

On May 12, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging that between September 2010 and January 2012, Charles Couch, directly and through his...more

Unregistered Finder Settles With The SEC, Agrees To Pay Millions

The SEC recently settled an enforcement action against an individual alleged to have sold millions of dollars in securities on behalf of oil and gas companies without being associated with a registered broker dealer, as...more

Going Public: Powhatan Energy Fund’s “Insurance Policy” Regarding FERC Enforcement’s Non-Public Manipulation Investigation Into...

On February 28, 2014, Powhatan Energy Fund (“Powhatan”) launched a public website disclosing that for more than three years, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Office of Enforcement (“OE”) has been...more

FERC Enforcement Chief Norman Bay Testifies Regarding FERC’s Energy Market Oversight and Enforcement Authority and Approach

On January 15, 2014, Norman C. Bay, Director of the Office of Enforcement (OE) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), testified before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Financial...more

Barclays Motion to Dismiss Raises Significant Issues About FERC Jurisdiction

After an investigation of actions in the western electricity markets by Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”), Daniel Brin, Scott Connelly, Karen Levine, and Ryan Smith (collectively, the “Traders” and together with Barclays,...more

The Investigative and Enforcement Priorities of the FERC Office of Enforcement

The past year has been marked by several record-breaking penalties imposed on companies and individuals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for alleged misconduct in the energy markets. On November 21, 2013,...more

How An Oil And Gas Scammer Avoided Justice

Scoundrels often get away with their crimes by scamming lots of victims for small amounts, so that no one investor can afford to prosecute his claim. Big Rock Investors Association v. Big Rock Petroleum, Inc. was an...more

Second Circuit Affirms Canadian Mining Company’s Victory in Securities Fraud Suit

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently upheld the dismissal of a multidistrict class action against Canadian mining company Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited (Agnico) and its executives, who...more

Barriers to Cooperation between the CFTC and FERC Hinder Investigations into Energy Market Manipulation – A Legislative Fix May be...

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has initiated investigations into energy market manipulation in the last two years that have resulted in nearly $1 billion in penalties and profit disgorgements from companies...more

Former Head of Investor Relations Penalized by SEC for Selectively Disclosing Material Nonpublic Information, While...

The selective and early disclosure of material non-public information resulted in a Securities and Exchange Commission cease and desist order and civil penalties against the former head of investor relations at First Solar,...more

FERC Chairman’s Letter To Senate Highlights FERC-CFTC Tension And A Voluntary Trader Ban In The JP Morgan $410 Million FERC...

This past Monday, September 9, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) posted a letter from its chairman, Jon Wellinghopf, to Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey responding to their inquiries on the...more

Corruption Allegations in China Lead to a Shareholder Class Action in the U.S.

The filing of a shareholder class action has become routine following a drop in stock price after the revelation of adverse news about a company. Allegations of corruption at a public company are proving to be no different,...more

FERC’s BP America Manipulation Show Cause And Proposed $28 Million Penalty Highlights The Interrelationship Between CFTC And FERC...

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) August 5, 2013, $28 million show cause order against BP America Inc. and other BP affiliates highlights the interrelationship between the Commodity Futures Trading Commission...more

UK Bribery Act: Serious Fraud Office Announces its First Prosecutions

On 14 August, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that four men connected to Sustainable AgroEnergy plc have been charged with offences of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to furnish...more

FERC Accuses BP of Market Manipulation

On August 5, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order to Show Cause and Notice of Proposed Penalty, directing BP America Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., BP America Production Company, and...more

Corporate and Financial Weekly Digest - July 26, 2013

In this issue: - District Court Rejects Challenge to SEC Conflict Minerals Rule - Mandatory Clearing of iTraxx CDS Indices for Category 2 Entities Began July 25 - CFTC Issues Extension of Time-Limited...more

D.C. Court of Appeals Sets New Precedent in Affirming FERC Enforcement Penalties Against a Seller Making False or Misleading...

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, in Kourouma v. FERC, (Docket No. 11-1283, July 23, 2013), has set new precedent affirming FERC’s authority to enforce penalties for a seller’s violation of its Market...more

FERC Assesses Record Civil Penalty But the Story Is Just Beginning

By Order dated July 16, 2013 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) assessed civil penalties against Barclays Bank Plc. and four of its traders – Daniel Brin, Scott Connelly, Karen Levine and Ryan Smith (Order). The...more

Delaware Court Dismisses Securities Fraud Action Against Power Plant Executives

The US District Court for the District of Delaware dismissed a class action for securities fraud against former officers and directors of a geothermal energy company, in which the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had...more

REGULATORY: D.C. Regulatory: FERC Investigations in the Wake of D.C. Circuit’s Hunter Ruling

On March 15, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) a major setback in its enforcement efforts by ruling that FERC had encroached on the exclusive jurisdiction of the...more

Court Rejects "Core Operations" Theory of Scienter in Battery Manufacturer Fraud Case

The District Court of Massachusetts dismissed Section 10(b)(5) claims against executives of a battery systems company, holding that plaintiffs could not rely on the theory that knowledge of the falsity of the statements at...more

Court Rules FERC Does Not Have Authority to Fine Trader for Manipulation of Futures Contracts

Pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) fined a natural gas trader $30 million for manipulating the settlement price for natural gas futures contracts on the New York...more

Energy Alert: FERC Hits Barclays Group and Four of Its Traders with Record $500 Million Penalty.

On October 31, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a record penalty of almost $500 million against the Barclays Group and four Barclays traders, charging them with manipulating prices for electricity in the...more

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