Category Archives: Securities Enforcement

SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Issues 2020 Examination Priorities

John W.R. Murray recently authored a White Collar Crime and Government Investigations Alert about the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations 2020 examination priorities.  They include prioritizing the interests of retail or “Main Street” investors, particularly with respect to registered investment advisers that serve retail investors, cybersecurity and digital assets.

Click here to read the full alert. More

White Collar Year in Preview: SEC Enforcement Trends in 2020

Editors’ Note:  This is the first in our start-of-year series examining important trends in white collar law and investigations in the coming year.  Up next:  a look at trends in health care enforcementLook for additional posts throughout the month of January.

As we look towards the SEC Division of Enforcement’s agenda for 2020,… More

SEC Office of the Whistleblower Issues 2019 Annual Report

John W.R. Murray and Christian Garcia recently authored a White Collar Crime and Government Investigations Alert about the annual report from the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, which provided details on enforcement priorities and whistleblower activity that are important for public and private companies, investment advisers and broker-dealers.

Click here to read the full alert. More

SEC Division of Enforcement Issues 2019 Annual Report

On November 6, 2019, the SEC Division of Enforcement published its annual report for fiscal year 2019. The report provides valuable insight, not only as to the Division’s performance over the past year, but also about its current priorities and where it will be focused in the near-term future. Overall, Enforcement’s program since 2017, when SEC Chairman Jay Clayton assumed leadership of the agency, has been shaped by five “core principles”: (1) focus on the retail investor;… More

SEC Continues to Seek Disgorgement Despite a Looming Supreme Court Case that Could Invalidate the Practice

On November 6, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint, captioned SEC v. Pierre, against a New York investment advisor for allegedly operating a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. The SEC alleges that the defendant promised investors unreasonably high rates of return (20 percent every 60 days) and that he paid those investors, in the face of significant losses, with money from new investors.… More

Biotech CEO Convicted of Securities Fraud and Obstructing SEC Investigation

The chief executive of a Boston-based biotech company, Frank Reynolds, was convicted of defrauding investors and obstructing an SEC investigation. Reynolds founded the biopharma startup PixarBio Corp. in 2013 and took the company public in 2016. By the next year PixarBio was in a tailspin and an SEC probe was opened. Reynolds is now facing possible jail time and millions in fines after he stoked the brief meteoric rise of PixarBio with promises of ground breaking inventions,… More

No False Claim Where Relator Merely Analyzes or Interprets Publicly Available Data

The Massachusetts Superior Court recently held that a qui tam relator’s analysis of publicly available information was subject to the public disclosure bar and that, no matter how involved or expert that analysis was, the relator was not the original source of the information alleged in the complaint.  Thus, in Commonwealth ex rel. Johan Rosenberg v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., et al., SUCV2014-03323, Judge Kaplan,… More

Massachusetts Regulators Placing Increased Focus on Cannabis-Related Securities Offerings

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin and his Securities Division are increasingly turning their attention toward securities offerings in the cannabis industry, as demonstrated by the June 19, 2019 filing of the second enforcement action against a cannabis business in the last two months.  The filing was accompanied by a statement from Galvin warning of future sweeps in the industry.

The latest enforcement action, brought against Positronic Farms,… More

Trends in Securities Enforcement Discussed at BBA’s White Collar Conference

We have been writing about white-collar enforcement trends discussed at the Boston Bar Association’s recent White Collar Crime Conference (see here and here). Today we look at one area that was the subject of much discussion at the conference: securities enforcement.

Paul Levenson, Director of the Boston Regional Office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that the SEC is looking closely at microcap fraud,… More