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SEC-FINRA Defense Blog

In a high-profile enforcement action, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued and settled with Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of technology company Tesla, Inc., on allegations he made fraudulent statements in several tweets regarding Tesla’s intention to go private.  The SEC also brought charges against Tesla for failing to maintain required disclosure procedures and controls with respect to Musk’s tweets, which Tesla agreed to resolve. The settlements, contingent upon court approval and on a neither admit nor deny basis (no admissions...
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The Securities and Exchange Commission this week filed charges against a securities broker for wrongfully using access to his clients’ securities brokerage accounts to enrich himself at the direct expense of his customers, a number of whom had invested retirement assets. In a continuing trend, the SEC discovered the purported fraudulent stock scheme using proprietary data analytics designed to identify patterns of suspicious securities trading. The SEC brought fraud charges against broker Michael A. Bressman...
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought insider trading charges last week against a NFL player and a former investment banker for trading on material, non-public information in advance of company acquisitions.  The pair allegedly utilized encrypted text communications and FaceTime discussions to engage in the claimed illegal insider trading. In its civil enforcement action, the SEC alleges that after meeting at a social event, Damilare Sonoiki, an investment bank analyst who had access to confidential data regarding future corporate mergers, began...
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The US Securities and Exchange Commission last week filed civil charges against the founder of a venture capital fund and his financial advisory firm for over-billing investors to finance his personal business ventures, including funneling millions to his virtual reality company. In its Complaint, the SEC alleged that Michael Rothenberg touted his investment advisory firm as able to identify millennial entrepreneurs and capitalize on new, cutting-edge technology ventures.  Per the SEC’s allegations, Rothenberg’s funds had almost 200 investors and in excess...
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In a high-profile enforcement action, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Congressman Christopher Collins, his son and his son’s girlfriend’s father with illegal insider trading.  In a coordinated move, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed parallel criminal charges against all three arising out of the same underlying illicit securities trading. In both the SEC complaint and the criminal indictment, Christopher Collins, who served as an independent director of Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd., an Australian biotechnology company,...
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The Securities and Exchange Commission recently took a big hit to its enforcement program after a federal court in the Eastern District of New York dismissed its enforcement case with prejudice at the pleadings stage, including its claim for injunctive relief, on statute of limitations grounds. In SEC v. Cohen, et. al., decided last month, the Court ruled that the traditional remedies sought by the SEC, including disgorgement, civil penalties and permanent injunctions, were all governed by the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s...
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In its relentless pursuit of illegal insider trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against a former financial analyst at Stericycle, Inc. and his mother, who he allegedly tipped and who, in turn, traded on the material, non-public information as well. In its charging papers, the SEC contends that in April 2016, Matthew Brunstrum (the son) learned from his employment that that Stericycle’s first quarter 2016 financial results would come in significantly lower than the street expected and then capitalized on...
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