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SEC Defense: Santa Barbara, California

John W. Sellers
Attorney John W. Sellers
Santa Barbara SEC Defense Team Lead
Former DOJ Trial Attorney
envelope iconContact John
Santa Barbara address – by appointment only:
1117 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the main U.S. regulatory authoritative source in the field of securities and complex financial assets. Besides a regulatory task, the SEC also is mandated to enforce numerous federal financial laws. Through this mandate, the SEC can investigate and prosecute alleged violations of this securities legislation. Ultimately, the SEC is mandated to see these procedures through and to impose sanctions when necessary. These sanctions are situated on the civil, criminal, or administrative level and can consist of monetary fines, professional sanctions, and even jail time. Regarding the personal scope of the SEC’s enforcement mandate, the SEC is authorized to target companies, individuals in executive positions, and other professional insiders.

The SEC has regional offices in several cities of particular financial interest and this includes a regional office in Santa Barbara, California. If you are professionally active in this region and you are contacted by the Santa Barbara office, it is recommended that you urgently seek legal representation in the form of an SEC fraud defense lawyer from Oberheiden P.C. Our lawyers have outspoken expertise in this regard and we can confidently help you by devising a reliable defense strategy. Whether you are put under a formal investigation, or you are only in the monitoring phase, our SEC fraud defense attorneys are equipped with a noteworthy assortment of legal tools to solve your criminal or civil liability problems.

SEC Fraud Defense in Santa Barbara

The SEC’s headquarters reside in Washington D.C. It further consists of 11 regional offices, each of which is limited as regards territorial jurisdiction. Santa Barbara is located in Southern California and therefore falls within the territorial jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Regional Office. This office is located at 444 South Flower Street. The Los Angeles Regional Office has jurisdiction in Southern California, which includes Santa Barbara, but also in Arizona, Hawaii, Guam, and Nevada. Consequently, this means that all firms and securities experts located in these areas fall within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles office, which is quite a broad territorial scope.

The Federal Securities Laws Enforced by the SEC

The SEC’s Enforcement Division is mandated to enforce several federal securities laws. Most prominently, these include:

  • Dodd-Frank Act
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Securities Act of 1933
  • Securities Exchange Act of 1934

These federal laws typically have a very broad, general scope. Based on these laws, the SEC is mandated to prosecute various types of fraudulent conduct in the securities and financial assets trading industry. By prosecuting these instances of financial misconduct, the SEC intends to protect the interests of investors by safeguarding their monetary investment against fraud and deceit.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden



Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney


Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Conduct Prosecuted by the SEC

Fraudulent misconduct can manifest itself through a number of financial offenses. The SEC is mandated to investigate allegations of such fraudulent behavior. When these allegations prove to be true, the SEC can inflict criminal or civil liability upon you or your company, which can result in extremely serious sanctions. Most typical examples of fraudulent behavior prosecuted by the SEC include:


Embezzlement is committed by securities professionals when they take money away from their clients under false pretenses. They claim to use the money for investing it on behalf of the client but instead use the money for their own benefit. This constitutes embezzlement, but it also constitutes theft. Embezzlement if a very regular occurrence in the U.S. and thus is an important point on the agenda of the SEC and other law enforcement agencies, both on a state level and a federal level. It requires a thorough investigation to ensure that it is, in fact, embezzlement. Once embezzlement is identified, this can constitute a securities violation or a criminal offense.

Misrepresentation/Omission of Material Information

Another offense that occurs on a widespread scale is misrepresentation/omission of material information. One speaks of misrepresentation when a securities professional misleads an investor and one speaks of omission when the professional hides material information from an investor. In both variations, the investor is not able to make an informed investment decision because the professional has neglected the legal duty to provide potential investors with all the necessary, correct information. Both variants thus comprise deceit. The SEC typically treats this type of misconduct as investor fraud and tends to put it at the top of the prosecution agenda.

Insider Trading

Furthermore, insider trading revolves around the principle of fair competition in the financial market. Nevertheless, it sometimes happens that certain professionals have insider knowledge as regards a specific firm or specific type of investment. This results in a remarkably unfair advantage over other investors and thus, the SEC condemns this behavior. Notwithstanding that insider trading is not always easy to distinguish from legitimate forms of trading. The SEC prosecutes both professionals who tip off other investors and professionals that receive tips relying on insider knowledge. It can lead to both criminal and civil punishments.

Trading during Blackout Periods

When so-called blackout periods are in place, professional insiders can under no circumstance execute trades. This is true unless they can invoke certain predetermined exemptions or exceptions. These blackout periods can have various reasons as a cause, although it regularly is the result of a pending SEC investigation. When securities professionals do not comply with this trading ban, the SEC will investigate these allegations and possibly impose serious sanctions.

FAQs about SEC Fraud Defense in Santa Barbara

What Are Possible Sanctions as a Result of Securities Violations?


Without beating around the bush, when securities professionals violate the federal financial laws that fall under the SEC’s mandate, the sanctions are very serious. The SEC itself can only impose civil, professional, and administrative sanctions. However, even these sanctions can take on enormous proportions. For instance, monetary fines can easily reach up to billions of dollars and professional sanctions can entail a resolute trading ban. Additionally, the SEC also can refer cases to other federal/state law enforcement agencies to invoke criminal charges and punishments. Examples of such agencies include the DOJ and the FBI.

Should I Seek Legal Advice when under SEC Investigation?


Absolutely. The SEC is very thorough and authoritative. In general, the SEC is very powerful. Hence, it is recommended to arm yourself with a legal team of experienced lawyers and other legal experts to stand your ground. Without such a team, mistakes are easily made and one mistake can easily result in a negative legal outcome.

Why Does Oberheiden P.C. Not Call Itself the Best SEC Fraud Defense Law Firm?


At Oberheiden P.C. we are firm believers in the principle of “actions speak louder than words”. Thus, we rely on our reputation and our track record as regards defending firms, securities professionals, corporate executives, and other insiders involved in an SEC procedure. In almost all the cases that we take on, we keep the liability of our clients to an absolute minimum. We are able to provide these services through a high amount of expertise, an amazing team of senior lawyers, and a great work ethic. Thus, why should we call Oberheiden P.C. the best SEC fraud defense law firm when we can just let our reputation speak for itself? Additionally, we believe in life-long learning and continue to strive for excellence. We believe that this sets us apart from other SEC fraud defense law firms in the best way possible.

What to Do When You Are on the SEC’s Radar

When you or your firm are being investigated or monitored by the SEC Los Angeles Regional Office, your first reflex should be to seek legal representation. Since SEC matters should not be taken lightly, you should call upon the expertise of our senior attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. We have an exceptional track record as regards defending our clients and always strive to minimize liability to the extent possible. So far, we have been exceedingly successful. Even if the SEC investigation against you would result in a trial, our lawyers are equipped with the proper legal tools to help you in that department as well. The red threat through our SEC fraud defense expertise is a waterproof approach that we maintain at all times.

First, our legal time will conduct an internal investigation. This first step is crucial since it will provide clarity on the severity of the situation. This investigation needs to be conducted at an extremely early stage. Through this investigation, our lawyers are able to get a clear picture of the allegations against you, business practices, your exposure, and so on. Hence, it will become possible to determine whether you or your firm could be potentially criminally or civilly liable. It will expose your weaknesses and strengths from a legal point of view, which is essential in the next steps of our approach. Through this first step, we tend to bring in the guidance of outside counsel in order to boost confidentiality and trust in relation to our clients.

Secondly, our lawyers are predominantly focused on assisting you during the SEC procedures. The SEC is quite thorough and strict in this aspect, which is precisely why an experienced team of attorneys on your team can do wonders. Our attorneys will prepare you until you are completely ready to give reliable, convincing testimonies. We will also encourage you to respect procedural deadlines and we will help your administration. Through all of this, our lawyers will ensure that the SEC will not simply have access to documents or records that can potentially be incriminating or detrimental to your fraud defense.

The final step is to create a watertight defense strategy. Based on the information provided through the internal investigation, the SEC documents, and other sources, our lawyers will pull out all the stops to design the ultimate defense. Depending on which allegations you are up against, we will modify the defense in order to get the most optimal results. We will play into your strengths, weaknesses, instruments, and resources to create the most encompassing SEC fraud defense. This can only be done by comparing different defense strategies until the best one comes out on top. We are also not above constantly reviewing the chosen defense strategy because we continuously strive to offer you the most effective legal service. Circumstances can change and thus, the same goes for the desired strategy. Through this well-constructed approach, the absolute goal is to plead you free from any criminal, civil, or administrative sanctions. Even more so, we operate on a preventive level too, with success. Yet, when this is not possible, we will call upon our entire arsenal to minimize liability and the extent of possible sanctions.

Our experienced team of legal experts has been serving the interests of firms, executives, and other insiders involved in an SEC investigation for quite some time now. Therefore, if you need legal help to arm yourself against the SEC, call us at 888-680-1745 or contact our legal team. They will patiently take the time to analyze your situation and will take appropriate action depending on their findings.

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