The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, is a government regulatory and oversight agency whose purpose is to maintain a fair stock market and protect investors and institutions from various types of fraud. It can conduct investigations of suspected illegal activity and can also bring civil actions against those who have violated its regulations. However, even though it can work with the Justice Department or other law enforcement officials on criminal cases, it cannot directly send a perpetrator to jail. Perpetrators of SEC fraud can wind up in jail, though, if a law enforcement agency to whom SEC refers a case finds the perpetrator to be guilty. Prison sentences for some types of securities fraud crimes can be long, especially if those crimes were federal crimes.
The SEC Division of Enforcement and SEC Investigations
The SEC Division of Enforcement is the branch of SEC that conducts investigations of alleged violators of the SEC laws and regulations. Although it cannot put any guilty party in jail, it can bring different types of civil actions against offenders. It can ask for documents and evidence as part of an investigation and can demand testimony from witnesses or various employees of suspicious institutions. It can also order civil penalties like fines or can seize assets that are considered ill-gotten from those who have violated the law. When the SEC suspects that criminal charges may be appropriate, it can also recommend criminal charges and refer the case to a law enforcement agency.
The Role of the Courts in Enforcement
The SEC Division of Enforcement may refer a case that potentially may have criminal charges associated with it to criminal law enforcement agencies for further investigation. Then, if warranted, the case may go to court and if the perpetrators are found guilty of a criminal act, they will be charged and sentenced by that court. Some SEC investigations may also be coordinated with criminal investigations of various financial fraud activities, resulting in criminal charges being tried in a court.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation With a SEC Charges Lawyer Today
If you are facing charges related to securities fraud or some other type of SEC violation, call to schedule a free consultation with a SEC charges lawyer today. The experienced legal staff at the Law Offices of John D. Kirby will use their state-of-the-art professional networks and resources to thoroughly evaluate your case and deliver the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at 619-557-0100 and speak with our friendly staff. Our expert team will give you the legal advice you can trust.