SEC Fraud Defense in San Jose, California
Hire seasoned SEC Fraud Defense Lawyers for corporations, company executives, and other insiders in San Jose, California.
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San Jose, CA 95131
The SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) is responsible for regulating the securities industry as well as prosecuting conduct within its mandate. There are many federal laws governing financial crime and misconduct. The SEC prosecutes such crimes and wrongdoing with penalties like professional sanctions, hefty fines amounting to millions of dollars, as well as prison time in serious cases.
The SEC discharges its mandate through a special division (enforcement division) responsible for investigating and prosecuting federal securities law violations. The division constantly investigates securities professionals and other players, including third parties in the industry and beyond.
If you/your company is contacted by the SEC’s enforcement division or is subjected to enforcement actions, find a seasoned San Jose SEC fraud defense lawyer. We can review your case before an investigation and craft effective SEC fraud defense strategies. Expert legal representation is the best way to reduce the risk of serious penalties like hefty fines and jail time.
What Federal Securities Laws Does the SEC Enforce?
Suspected fraud allegations and wrongdoing involving securities trading are investigated by the SEC’s enforcement division. These matters tend to fall under several federal financial laws, the most notable being:
- The 1934 Securities Exchange Act: This Act offers requirements on disclosing important information when seeking to get over 5% of company securities through tender offer or a direct purchase. The law generally covers securities transactions that take place in the secondary market.
- Securities Act (of 1933): This law was the first-ever federal financial law on stock market regulation. The law prohibits deceit, misrepresentation, among other fraudulent activities, when selling securities.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act: This federal law dates back to 2002 and focuses on auditing and financial guidelines for public companies. The law protects employees, shareholders, and the general public from fraudulent financial practices and accounting errors.
- Dodd-Frank Act: This law was inspired by the 2008 financial crisis. It was established to prevent excessive risk-taking by players in the financial industry. The law has protections such as a consumer watchdog that oversees exploitative lending practices.
- FCPA: The FCPA (or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) was enacted to prevent corruption for purposes of securing or retaining business. The SEC uses the Act to prosecute persons or entities who unlawfully pay, promise to pay foreign officials money, or other items of value in exchange for getting or retaining business.
What Unlawful Practices, Violations, or Wrongdoing Does the SEC Investigate and Punish?
You/your company could be subject to SEC investigations, criminal charges, and subsequent penalties like hefty fines and jail time for the following:
Trading should be fair with all players using information available to the public instantaneously (at the same time). However, some people use information that isn’t known to the public to profit or help others profit. Those who offer insider information and those who act on it to buy/sell securities and make profit open themselves up to SEC investigations.
Since “insider information” can be a vague term, innocent persons exposed to SEC investigations for discharging their work i.e., innocent brokers, should seek advice from SEC fraud defense lawyers to avoid serious consequences.
Broker & Dealer Fraud
A broker or dealer who misrepresents assets, investments, credentials, or engages in other fraudulent business practices is bound to face SEC investigations.
The SEC also investigates and enforces action on those found guilty of manipulating markets for their own personal gain. This unlawful practice can take many forms, from spreading inaccurate information about a company to “pumping and dumping” stocks.
Theft or Embezzling Funds
The SEC alongside other agencies at federal and state levels, investigate and prosecute persons or entities operating in the securities space for taking and promising to invest their client’s money but use the funds for other purposes.
Persons or entities that mislead their clients or investors, including hiding important information from them, risk SEC investigations and enforcement actions. Misrepresentation is common where information is required to make informed decisions on investing. If the information is provided with the sole purpose of deceiving investors, the SEC considers this to be fraud.
Trading during Mergers and Other “Blackout” Periods
Corporate insiders shouldn’t trade at certain periods unless certain conditions are met. Blackout periods are common if there is a pending company announcement that will have a significant effect. Also, trading may be restricted when company executives are facing certain allegations or when there is a merger about to happen.
Companies are supposed to issue notices to their staff and executives, and other personnel on trading blackouts. In some cases, these periods aren’t straightforward, resulting in many SEC investigations.
There are other unlawful practices and violations capable of triggering an SEC investigation. For example, you don’t have to directly benefit from insider trading to be found guilty. Providing family members sensitive information can amount to insider trading. Corporate trading policy violations can also attract SEC charges.
Even if you, your company, or executives are innocent, SEC charges in San Jose, California should be tackled by a seasoned SEC fraud defense attorney. The severity of SEC charges calls for a serious legal team.
Which Industries are Most Prone to SEC Investigations Today?
The SEC has increased attention on cryptocurrency players. The agency is increasingly targeting investment solicitation rampant in the cryptocurrency space today.
The cannabis industry is also a target. While cannabis is legal in many states, including California, players in the space must follow certain rules, especially in relation to meeting the high barriers of entry.
The SEC is also increasingly monitoring mobile trading applications and prosecuting players who are out to defraud innocent, unsophisticated investors. The SEC targets many other industries.
I Have Been Accused by the SEC of Fraud. What Should I Do?
As mentioned above, SEC investigations and charges can have serious implications ranging from professional sanctions to hefty fines and jail time. Even if the allegations are false, you shouldn’t attempt to defend yourself without a seasoned SEC fraud defense attorney.
SEC Fraud Defense in San Jose: What Defenses Can Be Used against SEC Charges or Investigations?
Experienced SEC fraud defense lawyers in San Jose, California know the defenses they can use to fight SEC investigations or charges. Some of the defenses we have used successfully in the past to help clients facing SEC investigations, and other actions include:
- Entrapment: Charges resulting from being coerced into participating or creating an enabling environment for securities fraud can be challenged.
- Lack of intent: We can also task the prosecution to prove you intended to defraud.
- Lack of sufficient evidence: We can also press for sufficient evidence to be produced to prove financial crimes beyond reasonable doubt. Missing evidence can cause SEC charges to be dismissed.
- False statements: SEC charges resulting in prosecution linked to statements can be challenged. If the charges arise from accusations of false statements, there must be facts to prove this.
Our goal is ensuring our clients are protected from SEC matters such as criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions. We use the above and many other defenses in our overall defense strategies based on the unique facts of the case.
We have lawyers dedicated to SEC investigations who work closely with SEC’s investigators and other defenders to provide favorable outcomes to our clients.