SEC Announces New Cooperation Tools for Enforcement

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On Wednesday, January 13, 2010, the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced broad changes to the agency’s enforcement division. The changes come on the heels of prolonged criticism of the SEC for its failure to detect past instances of high-profile securities fraud, such as Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and the new changes are designed to address those criticisms. First, the SEC will streamline its enforcement staff into specialized “units.” Additionally, the agency will encourage companies and individuals to cooperate with the SEC’s civil actions through formal written agreements that could result in lesser penalties or no enforcement action at all for cooperators and whistleblowers.

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