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SEC-FINRA Defense Blog

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently filed securities fraud charges against a self-styled penny stock promoter for conducting a manipulative trading scheme involving over ninety microcap stocks. The SEC’s complaint names Eric Landis of Virginia, and alleges he falsely represented to media buyers for microcap stocks that he would disseminate marketing materials for the securities through email lists with thousands of subscribers.  In truth, the SEC claims, his distribution lists did not exist.  Instead, to create volume and the fictitious impression that he was generating interest from the investing public,...
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In light of the significant advances in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies and their increasing use in the raise of capital in our financial markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued an official pronouncement concerning several of its recent enforcement actions in this emerging area to provide guidance to market participants. While the SEC has stated that it encourages technological advancements that benefit the investing public, it nonetheless has made clear that this must be done so in a manner consistent with the federal securities...
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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission secured a court order effectively halting an ongoing securities fraud run by a licensed stock broker. In its Complaint, the SEC alleges that broker Sean Kelly utilized entities he controlled to raise at least $1 million in investment capital from 12 investors, which included elderly retirees, representing that he would use their funds to invest in real estate funds and private placements.  Instead, according to the SEC, Kelly blew investor money on personal expenses,...
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The SEC last week brought charges against an immigration lawyer and her husband for allegedly engaging in a scheme to defraud that reaped millions in undisclosed compensation sourced from foreign national investors seeking permanent US residency via the EB-5 Immigration Investor Program. The complaint filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission claims that Jean Danhong Chen and her husband, Tony Jianyun Ye, with the material assistance of a friend, Kuansheng Chen, generated in excess of $10 million in undisclosed commissions by...
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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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