Category Archives: Investigations and Enforcement

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Third Circuit Reversal a Pyrrhic Win for SEC in Ongoing Statute of Limitations Saga

In Securities & Exchange Comm. v. Gentile, No. 18-1242, 2019 WL 4686251 (3d Cir. Sept. 26, 2019), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit took up the question of whether Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) injunctions constitute penalties subject to a five-year statute of limitations. In vacating a district court decision holding … Continue Reading

New Bill Seeks to Bring Clarity to Insider Trading Law

On May 7, 2019, Representative James Himes (D-Conn) introduced the “Insider Trading Prohibition Act” (H.R. 2534). The proposed legislation would amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C § 78a et seq. (the “Act”) by inserting a new section that defines the elements of criminal insider trading. The bill’s objective is to eliminate the ambiguity … Continue Reading

United States Supreme Court Holds That Knowing Dissemination of False Statements Made by Others Can Constitute Primary “Scheme Liability” In Violation of Rule 10b-5(a) and (c)

In Lorenzo v. Securities & Exchange Comm., No. 17-1077, 2019 WL 1369839 (U.S. Mar. 27, 2019), the Supreme Court of the United States (Breyer, J.) held that an individual who did not “make” a false or misleading statement within the meaning of Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders, 564 U.S. 135 (2011) (blog article … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Permits SEC to Assert Standalone Claim for False Sarbanes-Oxley Certification and Confirms Disgorgement Remedy Against CEO and CFO Despite Lack of Personal Involvement In Underlying Misconduct

In Securities & Exchange Commission v. Jensen, No. 14-55221, 2016 WL 4537377 (9th Cir. Aug. 31, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit broke new ground by providing the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) with a new independent cause of action under SEC Rule 13a-14, 17 C.F.R. § 240.13a-14, against a CEO … Continue Reading

SEC Takes Aggressive Approach to Fortify Dodd-Frank’s Whistleblower Rules

On April 1, 2015, the Securities & Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or “Commission”) fined a public company $130,000 for requiring employees involved in internal investigations to sign a confidentiality agreement that the Commission deemed violative of the whistleblower protections contained in the Dodd-Frank Act.  KBR, Inc., Exchange Act Release No. 74619 (Apr. 1, 2015).  This … Continue Reading

SEC Requires FINRA Registration for High Frequency Traders

In an effort to keep pace with rapidly accelerating market technology, the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has taken steps to expand oversight over high-frequency trading.  On March 25, 2015, the SEC unanimously approved a plan requiring that rapid-fire trading firms register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Limits “Tippee” Insider Trading Liability

In United States v. Newman, No. 13-1837 (2d Cir. Dec. 10, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the 2013 convictions of Anthony Chiasson and Todd Newman on charges of conspiracy to commit insider trading and insider trading under 18 U.S.C. § 371, Sections 10(b) and 32 of the Securities Exchange … Continue Reading

FINRA Issues Guidance Notice on Confidentiality Provisions in Settlement Agreements and the Arbitration Discovery Process

In Regulatory Notice 14-40, FINRA reminds members that it is a violation of FINRA Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade) to incorporate into a settlement agreement a confidentiality provision restricting or prohibiting a customer or other person from communicating with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA, or any federal or … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Upholds SEC’s Authority to Obtain Disgorgement from Non-Trading Insider Profits Earned by Portfolio Fund from Insider Trading

In SEC v. Contorinis, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2927 (2d Cir. Feb. 18, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to obtain “disgorgement” from a money manager profits earned by another party from trades based material nonpublic information known to the … Continue Reading

Tenth Circuit Looks Past “General Partnership” Labels in Agreements to Determine Whether Certain Investments Constitute “Securities”

In SEC v. Shields, No. 12-1438, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3369 (10th Cir. Feb. 24, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed the district court’s order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that the complaint alleged sufficient facts to (1) raise a plausible claim that the interests at issue involved … Continue Reading

Potential Challenges Associated With California’s Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act Scheduled to Take Effect on January 1, 2014

On September 21, 2012, S.B. 323, the California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (known as the RULLCA), was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2014. As described in more detail in the prior March 22, 2013 post California’s Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reaffirms Continued Use of the “Knowing Possession” Causation Standard in Rajaratnam Insider Trading Case

In United States v. Rajaratnam, No. 11-4416-CR, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12885 (2d Cir. June 24, 2013), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the conviction of Raj Rajaratnam ("Rajaratnam") for insider trading, holding that a jury instruction that the non-public information obtained by Rajaratnam "was a factor, however small" in … Continue Reading

District Court Grants Motion to Compel Against SEC, Holding that “Facts” Are Not Work Product In SEC Confidential Witness Interviews

In a recent Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) investigation, the SEC interviewed three persons who had proffer agreements with the SEC and United States Attorney. In a subsequent SEC enforcement action, a defendant served interrogatories asking the SEC to identify the factual information disclosed in those proffer sessions. The SEC objected, and the defendant moved … Continue Reading

California’s Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act

The California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (RULLCA) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2012. Intended to come into effect on January 1, 2014, RULLCA replaces the Beverly-Killea Limited Liability Company Act, and significantly revises the rules for formation and operation of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in the state of … Continue Reading

United States Supreme Court Declines to Apply the “Discovery Rule” to Extend the Five-Year Statute of Limitations for SEC Punitive Fraud Enforcement Actions

In Gabelli v. Securities & Exchange Commission, No. 11-1274, 2013 WL 691002 (U.S. Feb. 27, 2013), the United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, held that the five-year statute of limitations for the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to bring a civil suit seeking penalties for securities fraud against investment … Continue Reading

DoJ and SEC Issue Long-Awaited FCPA Guidance

At last!  We now have official guidance in one place from the United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).  A lengthy memorandum was released November 14, 2012, accompanied by a joint press conference.  Here is a link to the memo: http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/fcpa/fcpa-resource-guide.pdf… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds That SEC Need Not Prove “Proximate Cause” for Aiders and Abettors Under Section 20(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

In SEC v. Apuzzo, 2012 WL 3194303 (2d Cir. Aug. 8, 2012), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit clarified the standard for finding liability for aiding and abetting under Section 20(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 78t(e). Under Section 20(e), the Second Circuit held, … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Reverses In Part Securities Fraud Judgment Against Clearing Broker in an Action Brought by the SEC

In Securities & Exchange Commission v. Goble, 2012 WL 1918819 (11th Cir. May 29, 2012), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the recording of a sham transaction in the corporate books did not constitute “securities fraud” in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange … Continue Reading

SEC Changes Policy on Admitting Guilt in Settlements of Enforcement Actions

On January 6, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it has modified its settlement policy for enforcement actions that also involve a criminal conviction or admissions by a defendant of criminal violations. Under its new policy, the traditional “neither admit nor deny” language will be deleted from its settlement documents. Instead, the … Continue Reading

How to Turn a Bankruptcy Reorganization Into an Insider Trading Charge

In In re Washington Mutual, Inc., No. 08-12229 (MFW), 2011 WL 4090757 (Bankr. D. Del. Sept. 13, 2011), the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware denied confirmation of debtor Washington Mutual, Inc.’s (“WaMu”) plan of reorganization.  Standing in the way of confirmation was the equity committee’s motion for leave to file an … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Clarifies Standard Regarding Knowledge Of Facts That Constitute A Securities Fraud Violation For Purposes Of Triggering The Two-Year Statute Of Limitations For Rule 10b-5 Claims

In City of Pontiac General Employees’ Retirement System v. MBIA, Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 3813 (2d Cir. Feb. 28, 2011), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit delineated the standard needed to asses how much information a reasonably diligent investor must have about the facts constituting a securities fraud violation before … Continue Reading

SEC Enforcement Action Under Regulation FD For Implicit Communications To Selected Analysts

On October 21, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced enforcement actions against Office Depot, Inc. and two executive officers for violating Regulation FD by selectively conveying to analysts and institutional investors that Office Depot would not meet analysts’ earnings estimates.… Continue Reading

New York State Amends Power of Attorney Law

On August 13, 2010, New York State Governor David Paterson signed into law amendments to New York’s Power of Attorney Law (A.8392-C/S.7288-A) (the "2010 Amendments"). The 2010 Amendments become effective September 12, 2010 and will be retroactive to September 1, 2009, the effective date of the prior amendments to the New York State Power of Attorney … Continue Reading
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