The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a law enforcement agency that contains an Enforcement Division that assists in executing its law enforcement function. It recommends commencing investigations of securities law violations by bringing civil actions in federal court or before an administrative law judge. The enforcement division works closely with other law enforcement agencies to bring criminal cases as well, when appropriate.
Being investigated by the SEC can have severe consequences and the rules and regulations issued and governed by the SEC are specialized and complex. If you have been investigated by the SEC and have been ordered to appear at a hearing before an administrative judge, you need to be well prepared and properly represented. The Law Office of Patrick Quillian can provide valuable information, insight from experience, and trusted guidance to help you defend yourself against the SEC Enforcement Division.
During an investigation, evidence can be collected from several sources, including market surveillance activities, investor tips and complaints, media reports, and other sources. Some common violations that may lead to an SEC investigation include:
Misrepresentation or omission of important information about securities
Manipulating the market prices of securities
Theft of customers’ funds or securities
Breach of broker-dealers’ duty to treat customers fairly
Trading unregistered securities
An SEC administrative hearing is conducted before an administrative law judge, who considers evidence presented by the Enforcement Division staff, as well as evidence submitted by the individual or entity that is the subject of the proceeding. The administrative law judge will then issue an initial decision, which will include a finding of facts and legal conclusions. Sanctions could include:
Cease and desist orders
Suspension or revocation of broker-dealer and investment advisor registrations
Barring from associating with the securities industry
Civil monetary penalties
If the judge finds that there has been a violation of an SEC regulation, he or she will recommend sanctions. Both parties have a right to appeal any portion of the decision to the Commission.
Patrick Quillian and his team of skilled legal professionals have the sophistication and experience required to preserve your rights when going before the SEC.