Penalties Securities & Exchange Commission

News & Analysis as of

SEC Halts “Smart Contract” Exchange Built on Silicon Valley Start-Ups

Two entrepreneurs wanted to create a business that centered on valuing private start-up companies. They experimented with models that began with a variation of “fantasy sports,” changed to a contest and became a game. It...more

Another SEC Insider Trading Case: Does it Comply With Newman?

The SEC continues to bolster its allegations regarding the relationships between tipper and tippee in insider trading cases as well as the knowledge of the tippee. Whether those allegations will be sufficient to meet the...more

Another SEC FCPA Action Tied to Hospitality

Hospitality and effective compliance procedures are often critical issues when dealing with government officials. Those two issues came into sharp focus in the SEC’s latest FCPA case. In the Matter of BHP Billiton Ltd., Adm....more

Bribery Settlements in 2014: A Record-Setting Year

Corporations facing bribery charges under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) will pay significantly higher fines to resolve their cases, at least if recent settlements are a reliable guide. Last year, FCPA...more

Employer’s confidentiality agreement triggers SEC action and penalty - review and revise agreements now

Consistent with its prior announcements that it will protect and encourage whistleblowers, the SEC recently announced its “first enforcement action” against a company for using allegedly restrictive language in an agreement...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The SEC settled another action this week based on admissions of fact and that the Federal securities laws were filed, this time involving Oppenheimer. The action was based on the fact that the firm permitted an off-shore and...more

The High Cost of Whistleblowing

In a number of recent posts, we have highlighted the SEC’s whistleblower program, which offers awards of 10%-30% of the money collected where a whistleblower provides high-quality, original information that results in an SEC...more

Commissioner’s Concerns About Civil Penalties Temper SEC’s Release of FY14 Enforcement Results

On October 16, the SEC publicized its preliminary enforcement results for fiscal year 2014. In what it described as a “successful enforcement year,” the Commission brought a record 755 actions and obtained $4.16 billion in...more

SEC Settlement: The FCPA Risks of Entering New Markets

Entering into new, international markets may be good for developing business, but it also carries certain risks. This is particularly true in many countries where doing business may include making gifts, paying gratuities and...more

Guns and More Guns: SEC Hits Smith & Wesson for FCPA Violations

One thing the SEC likes to do is bring cases with a lot of deterrent value. That is, cases that it hopes will scare other people and companies into complying with the law. Often that means cases with large price tags...more

US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Upholds Fraud Penalties for Ex-GlobeTel Executives

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently upheld a summary judgment decision granted in favor of the US Securities and Exchange Commission against three former GlobeTel Communications Corp. (GlobeTel)...more

The Sky Is The Limit: Escalating Fines, DPA/NPAs And Deterrence

The controversy around punishment and deterrence of corporate misconduct continues to swirl. As fines increase against companies, it is important to ask the question whether the current enforcement scheme adequately punishes...more

Credit Crunch Digest -- November 2013

This issue of the Credit Crunch Digest focuses on new Libor cases filed against major banks and an update regarding two U.K. Libor cases; a jury verdict against Bank of America in connection with conduct by Countrywide;...more

SEC Assesses Its First Financial Penalty against a Municipal Securities Issuer

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced yesterday that it has, for the first time, assessed a financial penalty against a municipal securities issuer. The penalty arises from a settled administrative proceeding...more

SEC Announces Compliance Penalties Against Investment Advisory Firms, Executives

On October 23, the SEC announced penalties totaling $400,000 against three investment advisory firms and their executives for allegedly repeatedly ignoring problems with their compliance programs, which the SEC deemed...more

SEC Targets More Firms for Custody Rule Violations

On October 28, 2013, the SEC sanctioned three registered investment advisers for, among other things, violating Rule 206(4)-2 under the Advisers Act (the “Custody Rule”). These settled actions, the subject of a special SEC...more

SEC Chairman Ready to Deploy the Agency's "Full Enforcement Arsenal"

SEC Chairman Mary Jo White again made her stance on aggressive enforcement clear during her recent speech to the Council of Institutional Investors in Chicago. Speaking to a room full of investors, Ms. White outlined the...more

A Bribe is a Bribe

Last week the SEC reported that Diebold, Inc. agreed to pay more than $48 million in fines and prejudgment interest to settle SEC civil charges and DOJ criminal charges that it had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act....more

The Maxwell Technologies Fallout: The Alain Riedo Indictment For FCPA Violations

Today is the 82nd anniversary of the reporting to Alcatraz Prison of one of its most memorable residents; Al Capone. Capone was sent to prison for income tax evasion; in other words, it was a books and records violation,...more

FinCEN Joins The Enforcement Party

FinCEN’s new Enforcement Division, which was created in June of 2013, is already making its mark in the financial enforcement world. Federal regulators are focusing on compliance with Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and...more

Whistleblowing at the Right Time for the SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower rejected a claim for an award earlier in the summer because it was not "original" under the SEC's whistleblower law. The claimant originally filed a...more

JPMorgan Chase to Pay Penalties for Oversight Deficiencies

On September 19, JPMorgan Chase entered into a consent Order of Assessment of a Civil Money Penalty with the Fed, the OCC, the SEC and the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom. The penalties issued by the...more

SEC Takes Oddly Aggressive Stance on Payment of Monetary Sanctions

When Mary Jo White was installed as the SEC’s chair in April, I had little doubt she would be well-suited for her new role. She is extremely well regarded in the securities bar, and doubts about “ties to Wall Street”...more

What Is ‘Acceptance Of Responsibility’ Under The US Sentencing Guidelines?

One of the things that I am often asked is how are fines and penalties calculated for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations? ...more

Stretching The FCPA: The Danger Of The Oracle Case

My good friend and mentor, Judge Sporkin, is not shy nor bashful about his views on the FCPA. When he heard about DOJ’s undercover sting in the Shot Show case, he scoffed, “What a mistake! ...more

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