Enforcement Actions Securities & Exchange Commission

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Municipal Advisor, School Consultant, and Associated Individuals Enter Settlement Offers with SEC after First-of-Its-Kind...

On June 13, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accepted the settlement offers made by two firms and three executives charged with using deceptive business practices in dealing with five school districts. As...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

Investment advisers were at the center of a number of actions brought by the Commission this week . Two proceedings involved a registered adviser and its COO that were involved in an unregistered and fraudulent offering; two...more

Corporate Investigations and White Collar Defense - July 2016

“Official Acts”—What They Are… and Are Not - Why it matters: On June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court decided McDonnell v. U.S., holding that, for purposes of the federal public corruption statutes, an “official act”...more

SEC Affirms Denial of Bounties to Three Purported Whistleblowers

On July 19, 2016, the SEC issued an order upholding the SEC Claims Review Staff’s (“CRS”) Preliminary Determination denying three claims for whistleblower awards. The SEC’s order explains how the claimants’ bounty requests...more

Securities Enforcement: 2016 Mid-Year Review

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC or the Commission) brought over 400 enforcement actions in the first half of 2016 and is on pace to surpass its record of 807 enforcements actions in a single fiscal year, which...more

Barred Securities Professional Charged By SEC

The Commission brought an action against a hedge fund operator who had previously been barred from the securities business and his son. The case centers on undisclosed conflicts and preferential withdrawal rights for the two...more

Veil Parted on SEC Whistleblower Award

Early this year, the SEC announced it had paid a whistleblower award of “more than $700,000” to a company “outsider” who “conducted a detailed analysis” that led to a successful enforcement action against the company....more

Enforcement Week III: Johnson Controls FCPA Enforcement Action – Part 2

I continue my review of the Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action today by focusing on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Declination to Prosecute. Yesterday, I considered the...more

The Scope Of SEC Defendants' Jury Trial Right: Part 3

This is the third of four articles examining the scope of the Seventh Amendment jury trial right for civil defendants in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions. Our first article explained why the Seventh...more

SEC – Phoenix Settle Accounting Errors Action

Financial reporting cases are a key focus of SEC enforcement. In some instances the actions result from fraudulent schemes such as those where executives falsify the numbers to obtain a bonus. In other instances the actions...more

New Amendments to SEC's Rules of Practice in Administrative Proceedings

On July 13, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted several amendments to its Rules of Practice regarding administrative proceedings. The amendments address, among other things, the timing of...more

Will It Be Enough?: SEC Amends Rules to Look More Like Federal Court

In a move that will make Securities and Exchange Commission administrative proceedings look more like civil litigation in federal court, on July 13, 2016, the SEC announced that it had adopted amendments to its rules of...more

Johnson Controls Pays $14 Million for China FCPA Violations: DOJ Declines Prosecution

At first glance, the SEC’s recent enforcement action against Johnson Controls for $14 million for FCPA violations in China, along with a Justice Department declination under its new Pilot Program, appears to be a “routine”...more

Enforcement Week II: The Johnson Controls FCPA Enforcement Action – Part I

I continue my exploration of recent enforcement matters and issues by turning to the Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action, which was announced last week. Mike Volkov has called...more

SEC Offering Fraud Built on Duty to Disclose Omissions

The Commission filed another offering fraud action in what has become virtually a continuous stream of these cases. Its latest action centers on the sale of interests in a payday lending business operated in partnership with...more

SEC Sanctions Unregistered EB-5 Investments Broker

We previously warned that some individuals involved with arranging EB-5 investments may be required to register as broker-dealers (see "Immigrant Investor Program Raises SEC Broker Registration Issues" in the Summer 2014...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The SEC filed a settled FCPA action in which the employees in the China subsidiary of the firm designed and adopted a bribery scheme to circumvent the compliance procedures the company had installed as a result of an earlier...more

SEC Amends Rules for Administrative Proceedings

The SEC has approved a final rule amending its rules of practice for administrative proceedings. Among other things, the final rules would adjust the timing of administrative proceedings and give parties additional...more

SEC Loses Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower

On Friday, July 8, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Sean McKessey, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, will be leaving his post by the end of the month. Jane Norberg, Deputy Chief of...more

The Scope Of SEC Defendants' Jury Trial Right: Part 2

This is the second of four articles examining the scope of the Seventh Amendment jury trial right for civil defendants in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions. The previous article explained why the...more

SEC Requires Admissions To Settle Another Blue Sheet Case

Blue sheets are an important tool for the SEC. Named for the fact that the form at one time was printed on blue paper, the information request requires the immediate production of key information regarding a securities...more

The Scope Of SEC Defendants' Jury Trial Right: Part 1

It has been settled law for some time now that the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions extends to liability determinations. Unsettled is the question of...more

The SEC’s Customer Protection Rule Initiative and Whistleblower Protection Efforts – What Broker-Dealers Need to Know

On June 23, 2016, the SEC instituted a settled enforcement action against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp. (collectively, “Merrill”), in which Merrill agreed to pay $415...more

Your daily dose of financial news - The Brief – 7.13.16

On Tuesday, the SEC announced that Citigroup would pay $7 million and admit that it submitted “inaccurate trade data” to the Commission over a period of 15 years in order to resolve claims that it left out “thousands of...more

The SEC’s Love Affair with Internal Controls

The SEC has been flexing its muscles lately. If you had some of the enforcement tools the SEC has, you would be doing the same. What am I referring to? The FCPA statute included broad provisions requiring companies to...more

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