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J.P. Morgan Sued For Edward Turley’s Alleged Misconduct: $55 Million!

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce has filed another case against J.P. Morgan Securities for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts continuing in fall 2019 and thereafter by Edward Turley (“Turley”), a former “Vice-Chairman” of J.P. Morgan. At the outset, it is important for our readers to know that our clients’ allegations have not yet been proven. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with J.P. Morgan and Mr. Turley and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Turley Allegedly Misrepresented And Misled Claimants About His Investment Strategy The claims arise out of Turley’s “one-size-fits-all” fixed income credit spread investment strategy involving high-yield “junk” bonds, preferred stocks, exchange traded funds (“ETFs”), master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), and foreign bonds. Instead of purchasing those securities in ordinary margin accounts, Turley executed foreign currency transactions to raise capital and leverage clients’ accounts to earn undisclosed commissions. Turley over-leveraged and over-concentrated his best and biggest clients’ accounts, including Claimants’ accounts, in junk bonds, preferred stocks, and MLPs in the financial and energy sectors, which are notoriously illiquid and subject to sharp price declines when the financial markets become stressed as they did in March 2020. In the beginning and throughout the investment advisory relationship, Turley described his investment strategy to Claimants as one which would generate “equity returns with very low bond-type risk.” Turley and his partners also described the strategy to clients and prospects as one “which provided equity-like returns without equity-like risk.” J.P. Morgan supervisors even documented Turley’s description of the strategy as “creating portfolio with similar returns, but less volatility than an all-equity portfolio.” Note: It appears that no J.P. Morgan supervisor ever checked to see if the representations were true and if anybody did, they would have known Turley was lying and have directly participated in the scheme. The Claimants’ representative was also told Turley used leverage derived from selling foreign currencies, Yen and Euros, to get the “equity-like” returns he promised. Turley also told the investor not to be concerned because he “carefully” added leverage to enhance returns. According to Turley, the securities of the companies he invested in for clients “did not move up or down like the stock market,” so there was no need to worry about him using leverage in Claimants’ accounts and their cash would be available whenever it was needed. The Claimants’ representative was not the only client who heard this from Turley; that is, he did not own volatile stocks and not to worry about leverage. Turley did not discuss the amount of leverage he used in clients’ accounts, which ranged from 1:1 to 3:1, nor did Turley discuss the risks currency transactions added to the portfolio, margin calls or forced liquidations as a result of his investment strategy. After all, Turley knew he could get away without disclosing those risks. This was because J.P. Morgan suppressed any margin calls being sent to Turley’s clients and he liquidated securities on his own to meet those margin calls without alarming clients.  This “one-size-fits-all” strategy was a recipe for disaster. J.P. Morgan and Turley have both admitted that Turley’s investment strategy was not suitable for any investor whose liquid net worth was fully invested in the strategy. It was especially unsuitable for those customers like Claimants who had other plans for the funds in their J.P. Morgan accounts in fall 2019 and spring 2020. Unfortunately, Turley recommended and managed the “one-size-fits-all” strategy for his best clients and friends, including Claimants. Turley was Claimants’ investment advisor and portfolio manager and required under the law to serve them as a “fiduciary.” He breached his “fiduciary” duties in making misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The most egregious breach was his failure to take any action to protect his clients at the end of February 2020, when J.P. Morgan raised the red flags about COVID-19 and recommended defensive action be taken in clients’ accounts. Turley Allegedly Managed Claimants’ Accounts Without Written Discretionary Authority Claimants’ representative hired Turley to manage his “dry powder,” the cash in Claimants’ accounts at J.P. Morgan, which he would need on short notice when business opportunities arose. At one point, Claimants had over $100 million on deposit with J.P. Morgan. It was not unusual for Claimants to deposit millions and make multi-million-dollar withdrawals of funds for different acquisitions and projects. Turley would then select the securities to buy with the cash deposited that suited his “one-size-fits-all” strategy. He would also decide whether to sell securities and/or increase the leverage in the accounts to meet Claimants need for cash from the accounts. Turley regularly made multi-million-dollar purchases and sales in Claimants’ accounts without a word being spoken with his clients.  Although Turley called and texted often, the communications with his clients were almost always about anything other than getting permission to buy or sell any securities in Claimants’ accounts. Turley’s reports about account activity were generally limited to the “Big Number;” that is, reporting the net equity in the accounts and whether it had gone up or down. Turley rarely consulted with Claimants’ representative about any transaction in Claimants’ accounts before they occurred.  Turley exercised his discretion even though Claimants never executed any documents giving him written discretionary authority over Claimants’ accounts. There was not enough time in the day to speak with every client and do the volume of transactions on an individual basis, so Turley exercised discretion and entered large block orders in the same securities for many of his clients at the same time to generate millions in commissions and fees each year. Note: Claimants did not think this was unusual because they hired Turley to manage their accounts, just as they hired others to manage other businesses. However, Turley knew better...

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Investors With “Blown-Out” Securities-Backed Credit Line and Margin Accounts: How do You Recover Your Investment Losses?

If you are reading this article, we are guessing you had a bad experience recently in either a securities-backed line of credit (“SBL”) or margin account that suffered margin calls and was liquidated without notice, causing you to realize losses. Ordinarily, investors with margin calls receive 3 to 5 days to meet them; and if that happened, the value of the securities in your account might have increased within that period and the firm might have erased the margin call and might not have liquidated your account. If you are an investor who has experienced margin calls in the past, and that is your only complaint then, read no further because when you signed the account agreement with the brokerage firm you chose to do business with, you probably gave it the right to liquidate all of the securities in your account at any time without notice. On the other hand, if you are an investor with little experience or one with a modest financial condition who was talked into opening a securities-backed line of credit account without being advised of the true nature, mechanics, and/or risks of opening such an account, then you should call us now! Alternatively, if you are an investor who needed to withdraw money for a house or to pay for your taxes or child’s education but was talked into holding a risky or concentrated portfolio of stocks and/or junk bonds in a pledged collateral account for a credit-line or a margin account, then we can probably help you recover your investment losses as well. The key to a successful recovery of your investment loss is not to focus on the brokerage firm’s liquidation of the securities in your account without notice. Instead, the focus on your case should be on what you were told and whether the recommendation was suitable for you before you opened the account and suffered the liquidation.

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FINRA Arbitration: What To Expect And Why You Should Choose Our Law Firm

If you are reading this article, you are probably an investor who has lost a substantial amount of money, Googled “FINRA Arbitration Lawyer,” clicked on a number of attorney websites, and maybe even spoken with a so-called “Securities Arbitration Lawyer” who told you after a five minute telephone call that “you have a great case;” “you need to sign a retainer agreement on a ‘contingency fee’ basis;” and “you need to act now because the statute of limitations is going to run.”

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A Stockbroker’s Introduction to FINRA Examinations and Investigations

Brokers and financial advisors oftentimes do not understand what their responsibilities and obligations are and what may result from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) examination or investigation. Many brokers do not even know the role that FINRA plays within the industry. This may be due to the fact that FINRA, a self-regulatory organization, is not a government entity and cannot sentence financial professionals to jail time for violation of industry rules and regulations. Nevertheless, all broker-dealers doing business with members of the public must register with FINRA. As registered members, broker-dealers, and the brokers working for them, have agreed to abide by industry rules and regulations, which include FINRA rules.

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Can I Recover My GWG L Bonds Investment Losses?

In recent news, it was reported that GWG Holdings, a Dallas, Texas-based asset manager that provides insurance services, as well as acquires life insurance policies in the secondary market, filed for bankruptcy on April 20, 2022. It is estimated that GWG Holdings has more than $2 billion in liabilities, including $1.3 billion of GWG L bonds, and has missed millions of dollars in combined interest and principal payments to investors owning the GWG L bond series. IMPORTANT: As of February 2022, GWG Holdings has failed to pay $13.6 million in payments to GWG L bondholders. These were high yield, high risk, illiquid investments that as stockbrokers should have been wary and not recommended to investors with conversative or moderate risk tolerances. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is currently investigating claims against stockbrokers related to recommendations to purchase GWG Holdings L bonds (“GWG L bonds”) and is offering free consultations to those who have suffered GWG L bond losses. If you have suffered GWG L bond investment losses, our experienced securities litigation attorneys are prepared to discuss the matter and provide their legal opinion as to whether you can recover damages against the broker-dealer who recommended and sold you GWG L bonds. Please contact our law firm at 561-338-0037 or online for a free consultation. What are GWG L Bonds? In 2012, GWG Holdings created and has since sold nearly $2 billion in GWG L bonds to investors. These high-yield bonds were unrated and illiquid investments and therefore, unsuitable for investors with conservative or moderate risk tolerances. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. GWG Holdings issued the GWG L bonds to raise capital to purchase an individual life insurance policyholder seeking liquidity or cash by selling his/her life insurance policy to GWG Holdings for more than the surrender value but substantially less than the policy’s face value. GWG Holdings would then make the premium payments and hope to receive a payout worth greater than what it paid for the policy after the original policy matures or the policyholder passes away. The subject GWG L bonds were created to finance these life insurance policy purchases by GWG Holdings.  The problem for investors was the GWG L bond investments depended on insurance policy premiums and benefits being paid out according to assumptions and statistical models, thus making them speculative investments for investors seeking income and protection of their capital. Further, GWG L bonds had no secondary market, which prevented investors from liquidating should they need the cash immediately. In other words, money used to purchase GWG L bonds was essentially trapped from the moment of purchase. Moreover, the only collateral supposedly backing GWG Holdings are interests in GWG subsidiary companies that purportedly owned real assets, including the insurance policies. Don’t Be Discouraged by GWG Holdings’ Bankruptcy  As early as April 2022, news sources reported that GWG Holdings was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. However, this news should not stop investors from seeking the opinion of a skilled and experienced securities attorney and getting just compensation. Broker-dealers and their agents who misrepresented and/or made unsuitable recommendations as to the GWG L bonds may still be held liable for losses in investor accounts. In other words, an account holder can still file a FINRA arbitration against the broker-dealer to recover losses in GWG L bonds for misrepresentations, unsuitable recommendations, failure to conduct adequate due diligence, negligence, etc. You should not let your broker-dealer or broker/financial advisor convince you otherwise. Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. Recovers Investment Losses The attorneys at Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. are experienced in litigating high-yield and speculative fixed-income instrument securities loss cases. For over 40 years we have represented investors in arbitration and securities litigation matters, including FINRA arbitration proceedings in nearly every state. Contact us now at 561-338-0037 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.  GWB L Bonds Were Sold for High Commissions! According to GWG Holdings, the GWG L bonds were sold by Emerson Equity, the managing broker-dealer, which partnered with other brokerage firms that also sold the L bonds to their retail customers. The commissions on such sales by the brokerage firms were as high as 8%. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. suspects that many other broker-dealers were involved in the recommendation and sale of the GWG L bonds to their customers. Some of the firms alleged to have sold L bonds to their customers include: Aegis Capital Ages Financial Services Allied Beacon Partners American Trust Investment Services Arete Wealth Management Ausdal Financial Planers Cabot Lodge Securities Capital Investment Group Centaurus Financial, Inc. Center Street Securities Coastal Equities Dempsey Lord Smith Emerson Equity Great Point Capital IFP Securities International Assets Advisory Intervest International Equities Corporation Kingswood Capital Partners Landolt Securities Lifemark Securities Lion Street Financial Malone Securities Moloney Securities M Stevens Securities National Securities National Securities Corporation Newbridge Securities NI Advisors (Stiba Wealth Management) Strategic Financial Partners SW Financial The Fig Group Titan Securities TRL Capital Corporation Western international securities, Inc. Westmark Capital If the name of your broker-dealer does not appear on the list above, do not be alarmed. Rather, call us at 561-338–0037 or contact us online for free consultation to discuss whether you may have a claim to recover damages. Recover Your GWG L Bond Investment Losses in a FINRA Arbitration The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is prepared to help investors who have sustained damages or monetary losses not only in GWG L bonds but other investments in your account in FINRA arbitration. If you were one of those investors who have suffered losses, you should seek the immediate advice of an experienced investment fraud attorney with more than 40 years of experience representing investors in investment fraud and broker-dealer negligence cases. It is imperative that you seek our consultation as soon as possible, as there are applicable eligibility rule and/or statutes of limitation that may forever bar your claim against the broker-dealer who...

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What is an SEC Wells Notice & How to Respond

If you’ve received a Wells Notice from the SEC, it’s important to understand what it is and how to respond. What is a Wells Notice? A Wells Notice is usually a formal letter (sometimes just a telephone call) in which the staff enforcement attorneys of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) notify individuals and/or firms that they are planning to recommend that the SEC authorize the attorneys to bring an enforcement action against the individual and/or the firm.  Investment Losses? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 800-732-2889. A Wells Notice will typically set forth the specific allegations against the individual and/or firm, as well as provide an opportunity for a response before the SEC makes a final decision on whether to bring charges. After an SEC investigation has turned up evidence of potential securities law infractions, the staff enforcement attorneys will usually provide a Wells Notice but, not always! Note: If you have received a Wells Notice, it means the SEC enforcement attorneys believe you have been violating securities laws and regulations, it is not a finding of guilt. It is important that you act quickly and consult with an experienced securities defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. What information is contained in a Wells Notice? A Wells Notice from the SEC will usually contain the following information: Identify the specific charges against the individual or firm that the SEC Enforcement Division is considering; Notify the recipient of the Wells Notice the opportunity to provide a written or videotape voluntary statement defending their actions (which may or may not include arguments why the Commission should not bring an action or why proposed charges or remedies should not be pursued, or bring any relevant facts to the Commission’s attention in connection with its consideration of the matter); Provide a reasonable time period for the recipient to prepare and submit their response; Advise the recipient that any submission should be addressed to the appropriate Assistant Director; Inform the recipient of the Wells notice that their Wells submission may be used by the Commission in any action or enforcement proceeding; An attached copy of the Wells Release; and An attached copy of the SEC’s Form 1662. The majority of what appears in a written Wells notice is boilerplate. Typically, the written notice details statutory and regulatory infractions under consideration but does not allude to the specifics of the specific case. Are public companies required to disclose a Wells Notice? A Wells notice is a private communication to the recipient, and the Commission will not disclose it. In the past, many companies elected to not make any public disclosure of a Wells Notice. However, in recent years, some companies have voluntarily disclosed the receipt of a Wells Notice in their public filings with the SEC. Generally, such disclosures are a discretionary choice, rather than a requirement. The decision turns on whether the investigation and potential consequences would be a material fact that needs to be disclosed in light of other statements being publicly made by the company. Are registered broker-dealers and investment advisors required to disclose a Wells Notice? Yes, if you are a registered broker-dealer or investment advisor, you will be required to disclose the receipt of a Wells Notice in your Form U4. Related Reads: SEC Subpoenas: How to Respond How to Respond to a Wells Notice If you’ve received a Wells Notice, the first thing you should do is consult with an experienced securities defense attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the specific allegations against you and decide whether you should respond at all. If so, the attorney will craft a strategic and customized response on your behalf. Your response to a Wells Notice (also known as a Wells Submission) will be incredibly important in determining whether or not the SEC takes enforcement action against you. In some cases, a well-crafted response may convince the SEC to drop the matter entirely. In other cases, it may result in a more lenient punishment if the SEC does decide to bring charges. Before responding to a Wells Notice, you and your attorney will need to carefully review all of the evidence collected during the SEC’s investigation. This may include: Understanding the specific charges the SEC Enforcement Division is considering filing against you The limitations established for the Wells notice disclosure The deadline for submitting your Wells Notice disclosure to the SEC Once the analysis of the evidence is complete, your attorney will work with you to prepare a persuasive response that addresses the SEC’s specific concerns. This is a very important step as a Wells Submission presents the facts and the first arguments to persuade the SEC Enforcement Division to not pursue an enforcement action or to recommend a less severe action. The SEC will review the response and make a final determination on whether or not to bring charges. Even though the Wells Notice process is confidential, it may become public if the SEC decides to bring an enforcement action against you. More important, whatever is written in the response to the Wells notice could be deemed an admission of the facts stated within the Wells Notice. What Happens if the SEC decides to bring Charges? If the SEC decides to bring charges after you’ve received a Wells Notice, it will file a formal complaint against you in federal court or administrative proceeding. At this point, you will have an opportunity to defend yourself against the SEC’s charges. This is a complex process, and you will need to have an experienced securities defense attorney by your side to protect your rights and help you navigate the legal system. A Wells Notice is just the beginning of the SEC’s enforcement process, but it’s a very important step. If you’ve received a Wells Notice, make sure you consult with an experienced SEC defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. Consider Consulting with an Experienced SEC Defense Attorney If you’ve received a Wells Notice, you should consult with an experienced...

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What is Insider Trading?

Using insider information to make investment decisions on the stock market is illegal and can lead to serious financial penalties. This type of investment fraud is commonly referred to as insider trading. In this article, we will cover the definition of insider trading, how it is detected and prosecuted when insider trading is illegal, and the potential penalties that a person may face if convicted. What is insider trading? Insider trading is the practice of trading a company’s stocks or other securities by an individual to one’s own advantage through having access to confidential or non-public information. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. For example, if a company insider tells his or her friend about an upcoming merger that has not been made public, both the company insider and the friend could be held liable for insider trading if the friend buys the stock. IMPORTANT: The definition of an “insider” for insider trading purposes is far broader than most people realize. While it includes corporate officers and directors, it also covers employees at lower levels, friends and family members, and other persons who have access to nonpublic information. Who is an “insider”? An “insider” is anyone who is an officer, director, 10% stockholder or has access to inside information as a result of his or her relationship with the Company or an officer, director, or principal stockholder of the Company. According to SEC Rule 10b-5, the definition of an “insider” goes considerably beyond these key company personnel. In fact, this rule also covers ANY employee who has access to confidential information as part of his or her job duties. In addition, if ANY person outside of the company has received a “tip” from an “insider” about the material, nonpublic information, that person would also be considered an “insider” under this rule. Lastly, Rule 10b-5 also covers any family members or close friends of an “insider.” For example, if the CEO of a company tells his son about an upcoming merger, and the son then buys stock in the company before the merger is public knowledge, both the CEO and his son would be considered “insiders” under this rule. Who can be charged with insider trading? An individual is liable for insider trading when they have acted on privileged knowledge or confidential information that is not available to the general public to attempt to make a quick/easy profit. This may include using information about: Upcoming mergers or acquisitions; Unreleased financial reports; New product releases; Changes in company leadership; and any other information that could give an individual an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Identifying insider threats might be simple at times: CEOs, executives, and directors are immediately exposed to important information before it’s made public. However, lower-level employees may also have access to this type of information, which means that anyone from an entry-level analyst to a janitor could be susceptible to committing insider trading. Note: If you are under investigation or have been charged with insider trading, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced SEC defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you and build a strong defense. How is insider trading detected? Both companies and regulators try to prevent insider trading to ensure the integrity of a fair marketplace. Despite what you may have read before, not all insider trading is illegal. Directors, workers, and management of a corporation may buy or sell the company’s stock with special knowledge as long as they notify the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about those transactions; these trades are then made public. Unfortunately, not all insider trading is this transparent. Illegal insider trading happens when people use confidential information to make profits in the stock market. The SEC investigates and prosecutes these cases as they are a form of securities fraud. Here are a few of the ways that the SEC detects insider trading: Monitoring Trading Activity The government tracks stocks that are being bought and sold to look for patterns that may be indicative of insider trading. The SEC monitors trading activity, especially around the time when significant events happen, such as a major announcement or earnings release. This practice of surveillance can lead to the discovery of large, irregular trades around the time of these events. The SEC may then investigate the people behind those trades to see if they had access to nonpublic information. Complaints From The Public The SEC also relies on tips from the public to help detect insider trading. When the SEC receives a large number of complaints from investors who lose substantial sums of money around the same time, it can be an indication that insider trading has taken place. Since the insider trader has special knowledge, they can leverage investment tactics like options trading on the company’s stock to make a lot of money in a short period. When this occurs, it can lead to other investors losing money and filing complaints with the SEC. Whistleblowers The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower was created in 2011 to reward people who come forward with information about securities law violations, including insider trading. The SEC gets tips from whistleblowers who come forward with information about potential violations. Whistleblowers can be current or former employees, lawyers, accountants, or anyone else with knowledge of insider trading. Whistleblowers have incentives to come forward, as they may be eligible for a portion of the money recovered by the SEC. The maximum award is 30% of the amount recovered, and it can be higher if the SEC takes action based on the information provided. Which regulatory agencies are involved in investigating insider trading? The SEC is the primary federal regulator that investigates and prosecutes cases of insider trading. The agency has a division, called the Division of Enforcement, which is responsible for bringing enforcement actions against individuals and companies who violate securities laws. The Department of Justice (DOJ) also plays a role in investigating and prosecuting insider trading cases. The DOJ can bring criminal charges against individuals...

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How a Margin Call Works: Definition, Triggers, and How to Handle

Increased volatility in the market can sometimes bring about uncomfortable and surprising situations for investors, especially when it comes to margin calls. When you buy stock on a margin, you’re essentially borrowing money from your broker to finance the purchase. While this is a strategy that can amplify your gains if the stock price goes up, it can also lead to painful losses if the stock price falls and you’re forced to sell other assets or put more money into your account to meet the margin call. In this article you will learn everything there is to know about margin calls, including: what is a margin call; what triggers a margin call; what happens when you get a margin call; how long do you have to pay a margin call; what happens if you cannot pay the margin call; how you can avoid a margin call; and how to handle margin call liquidation. IMPORTANT: If you have suffered significant investment losses as a result of being forced to liquidate a margin account, you should speak to an experienced securities fraud attorney about your legal options. What is a margin call? A margin call is a demand from your broker that you must deposit more money or securities into your margin account to cover potential losses. This typically occurs when a margin account runs low on funds, usually due to heavy losses in investments. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. In most, but not all cases, your broker will notify you of a margin call and give you a set amount of time to deposit more funds or securities into your account. You typically will have two to five days to respond to a margin call. Timeframes for responding to a call may vary depending on your broker and the circumstances. Regardless of the time frame, it is important that you take action as soon as possible. IMPORTANT: If you aren’t able to meet the margin call fast enough or don’t have any extra funds to deposit, your broker may also force you to sell some of your securities at a loss in order to free up cash. This is known as forced liquidation. In fact, many margin account agreements allow brokerage firms to liquidate your portfolio at their discretion without notice. What triggers a margin call? There are several things that can trigger a margin call, but the most common is when the value of securities in your account falls below a certain level set by your broker (house maintenance margin requirement) or securities exchange where securities are traded (exchange margin requirement). Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. When this occurs, your broker will issue a margin call in order to protect themselves from losses and to ensure that your account has enough funds to cover potential losses. You’re then required to deposit additional funds or securities into your account to meet the call to bring your account back to the maintenance margin level. If you don’t make a deposit, your broker may sell some of your securities at a loss to cover the shortfall. Margin calls can occur at any time, but tend to occur during periods when there is high volatility in the markets. What happens when you get a margin call? A margin call is most often issued these days electronically, through your broker’s online platform. You can also receive an email or other notification from your broker informing you of the margin call and how much money you need to deposit by a certain time. What happens next depends on your broker and the situation. If your broker is not worried about the situation, they may give you some time to raise the extra funds to deposit into your account. If they are worried, they may demand that you meet the call immediately or they may even sell some of your securities to cover the shortfall if you don’t have the extra cash on hand without notice. Yes, a broker can sell your securities without your permission if you don’t have enough money in your account to meet a margin call. All of this depends upon the contract you signed when you opened your account which outlines the broker’s rights in these situations. It’s important to remember that your broker will most likely be interested in protecting their own financial interests rather than yours, so you should make sure that you understand your rights and obligations before entering into a margin agreement. Because they are not always required to give you time to meet a margin call, unless they are under contractual agreement to do so, they may not notify you before liquidating assets in your account to pay off any margin debt. If this happens, your investment portfolio may suffer significant losses. Unfortunately, even if you are in a position to meet the call, you may not be able to get your securities back if they have already been sold by your broker. When you opened up your margin account, you likely signed an agreement that gave your broker the right to sell your securities without notifying you first. This is why it’s important to understand the terms of your margin agreement before signing it. You should also be aware of the risks involved in trading on margin. MPORTANT: If your broker decides to sell your highly appreciated securities, you can be left with large deferred-tax liabilities as well as major capital gain tax expenses that must be paid in the relevant tax year. In addition, brokers can sell your securities within the margin account at an undervalued price, leaving you with even more investment losses. How long do you have to pay a margin call? The time frame for responding to a margin call can vary depending on your broker and the circumstances. Typically, brokers will allow from two to five days to meet the call. You will need to review your...

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Can a Broker Sell My Stocks Without My Permission?

You looked into your investment account and discovered that a number of your shares had been sold without your permission. You didn’t give the go-ahead, so you’re understandably confused, frustrated, and angry. What do you do now? First, you need to determine who sold your stocks. If it was your broker, you may be finding yourself asking whether or not your broker can sell stocks without your permission. Can my broker sell my stocks without permission? Your broker cannot sell stocks without your permission, unless you have given written authorization to do so. This is called unauthorized trading and not permitted under securities industry rules. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. However, while the appropriate authorization must always be obtained, a broker does not necessarily need to obtain express permission for every transaction. In this article we will review the two circumstances in which a broker may sell securities without prior notice to or consent from the client. Note: If you believe you have suffered losses on your investment as a result of unauthorized trading, you should speak to a stockbroker fraud attorney about your legal rights. Is Your Investment Account a Discretionary Account? The first instance when a broker may sell stocks without your permission is if they are trading in a discretionary account. A discretionary account is one in which the broker has the authority to make investment decisions on behalf of the client, without prior approval from the client. If you are unsure whether or not you have a discretionary account, you learn about the difference between a non-discretionary and discretionary account here. In order for a broker to sell stocks in a discretionary account, they must have what is called “discretion.” This means that the broker must have reasonable grounds to believe that the sale is in the best interests of the client. The key word in this definition is “reasonable.” This means that a broker cannot simply sell stocks without your permission because they feel like it. There must be a reason for the sale, such as an expectation of a market decline or other adverse event that could impact the value of the security. If you do not agree with a decision made by your broker in a discretionary account, you have the right to object and have the decision reviewed by a supervisor. Is There a Margin Call on Your Account? The second instance when a broker may sell stocks without your permission is in response to a margin call. A margin call is when the broker demands that the client deposit additional funds or securities to cover the cost of the stock purchased on margin. Technically, you probably gave him permission when you opened your margin account. If you do not meet the margin call, the broker has the right to sell the securities to cover the margin debt. This is done in order to protect the interests of the broker and the securities lending institution. Trading on a margin account is a risky investment and can result in substantial losses. For this reason, it is important to understand the risks before opening a margin account. You can learn more about margin trading on FINRA’s website. Get a Second Opinion: Contact a Stockbroker Fraud Lawyer Today If you have discovered that your broker sold stocks without your permission, you may be feeling overwhelmed and confused. You may be wondering what your legal rights are and whether or not you can take action. The best way to determine your legal rights and options is to speak with a stockbroker fraud lawyer. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. specializes in representing investors who have suffered losses as a result of investment fraud. We offer free, no-obligation consultations so you can learn more about your legal rights and options. Call us today at (800) 732-2889 to speak with an stockbroker fraud lawyer.

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How to Handle an SEC Subpoena [Step-by-Step]

No one ever wants to receive an SEC subpoena, but when you do it is important to take action immediately so as to protect your future. In this article we will review what an SEC investigation subpoena is, the different types of SEC subpoenas you can receive, and what to do, step-by-step, if you receive an SEC investigatory subpoena. What is an SEC Subpoena? An SEC subpoena is a legal order for recorded testimony that is issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with one of its investigations. The subpoena requests documents, data, or both which are relevant to an ongoing investigation. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. Note: If you get served with an SEC subpoena, it means you’re likely under suspicion of committing or witness to securities fraud even though the SEC will tell you not to conclude anything from the fact you were served with a subpoena. It is strongly encouraged that you consult with a SEC defense lawyer. SEC Subpoena Power The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing securities laws, proposing new securities rules, and regulating the securities industry. The SEC has the power to investigate almost any company or individual for securities fraud. The SEC is primarily interested in issues involving potential stock manipulation, false or misleading statements in offering documents, insider trading, and other areas where investors are being cheated out of money. The staff of the SEC has subpoena power which they can use to compel individuals and companies under investigation to produce requested documents and/or testify at hearings under oath about their involvement with certain companies or businesses. If you receive an SEC subpoena, your life could be turned upside down until the issue is resolved. There are two types of SEC subpoenas: Subpoena ad testificandum: This subpoena compels the person to whom it is addressed to appear at a specific time and place and testify under oath or affirmation. Subpoena duces tecum: This subpoena compels the person to whom it is addressed to produce documents in his possession or control, either at a designated location or before the person who signed the subpoena. What happens when you get an SEC Subpoena?  When you get served with an SEC subpoena, it means that your records are being requested by a federal agency for an investigation. Generally, you’ll be told that you have 30 days from the date of service of this document to provide all records related to whatever it’s requesting. IMPORTANT: You will likely have to appear in front of a SEC enforcement official who may ask you questions under oath and subject to the penalty of perjury and/or making false statements to a government official. Do not lie about not having any records because if they come back and say you lied about having them, you could be charged with obstruction of justice. What should I do if I get an SEC Subpoena? Unfortunately, investigations by the SEC does happen from time to time. If you receive an SEC subpoena, it’s important to act quickly and be proactive. Below are the steps to take after receiving a subpoena from the SEC: Step 1: Consult a SEC defense lawyer who is experienced with SEC subpoenas immediately. Your lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and represent you during the investigation. An attorney can determine how to respond to your subpoena, what information you should immediately turn over, and help you avoid making any mistakes that could result in additional scrutiny or legal consequences. Step 2: Know your rights under the concept of “privileged” information. Under the attorney-client privilege, for example, you do not have to provide anything to the SEC if it would be between you and your lawyer. Step 3: Read the terms of the subpoena thoroughly. Make sure you understand them and determine what information must be turned over. If your subpoena requests specific documents, the SEC will likely want to review all of those documents. Step 4: Respond to the subpoena as soon as possible with an attorney by your side. Returning things too quickly without consulting a lawyer first could look bad for you during the rest of the investigation process. And if they ask for something that is difficult or unrealistic to produce, you can let them know that upon receiving their request. Some items may take longer than 30 days to find/produce depending on how easy it is for you to obtain (i.e., if there are thousands of emails it could take some time). Step 5: Keep a detailed record of all aspects of the process, including any contact or communication with an SEC investigator(s) so that you can protect yourself down the road with evidence in case there is any uncertainty about what happened during the investigation process. Step 6: Keep the details of your case confidential with yourself and your legal representation. Do not discuss or share information about your case with anyone who isn’t an attorney because you do not want to risk incriminating yourself. Step 7: Be proactive and do not engage in any activity that could be considered obstruction of justice, such as lying or concealing information. What types of records might the SEC subpoena? The Commission may subpoena documents related to financial transactions (including transfers of money between accounts), communications (including e-mails), photographs, videos, and other data like employment history or company policies/employee handbooks/training manuals. For example, the SEC may subpoena communications related to specific stock sales or actions taken during an acquisition. Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced SEC Defense Attorney If you are served with an SEC subpoena, you should promptly contact a lawyer experienced in representing parties dealing with federal investigations to guide you through how to handle your case and protect yourself. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. has over 40 years of experience dealing with the SEC subpoenas and enforcement actions. Our attorneys can help you determine what information needs to be turned over, provide advice on how to handle...

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Options Trading vs. Margin Trading: The Risks & Benefits of Both

When it comes to trading stocks and other securities, there are a few different approaches that investors can take. Two of the most popular methods are options trading and margin trading. Both of these strategies can be profitable, but they each come with their own set of risks and rewards. In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between options trading and margin trading. As an investor it is important to understand the risks and benefits of each before deciding if either of these investment strategies is right for you. What is the difference between options trading and margin trading? Margin trading offers investors a way to control a larger number of shares than they could with just their own money with the added risk that losses could be amplified. Options trading, on the other hand, provides investors to buy or sell securities at a later date for a set price and is considered to be low risk and low returns. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. Note: Trading on a margin is considered a risky investment strategy. If you have lost money due to an advisor or broker who has unsuitably recommended margin trading, you should speak to an experienced investment fraud lawyer to discuss your legal options. What is Options Trading? Options trading is a type of investing where you trade contracts that give you the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an asset at a set price on or before a certain date. Options are typically used as a way to hedge against other investments, or to speculate on the future price of an asset. When you buy an option, you have the right to buy or sell the underlying asset at a set price. If the price of the asset goes up, you can make a profit by selling it at the higher price. If the price goes down, you simply don’t exercise your option and don’t incur any loss. There are two types of options: call options and put options. What is a call option in stocks? A call option is a contract that gives you the right to buy an security at a set price within a certain time frame. The price you will pay for the security is called the strike price. The time frame in which you can buy the security is called the expiration date. If the stock price is above the strike price when the expiration date arrives, you will exercise your option and buy the stock at the strike price. If the stock price is below the strike price, you will let the option expire and not incur any loss. What is a put option in stocks? A put option is a contract that gives you the right to sell an security at a set price within a certain time frame. If the stock price is below the strike price when the expiration date arrives, you will exercise your option and sell the stock at the strike price. If the stock price is above the strike price, you will let the option expire and not incur any loss. What are the benefits of options trading? Options trading is a relatively low-risk way to invest in stocks and other securities. Because you are not obligated to buy or sell the underlying asset, you can simply let the option expire if it is not profitable. Options trading can also be used to generate income through premiums. When you sell an option, you collect a premium from the buyer. If the option expires without being exercised, you keep the premium as profit. What are the risks of options trading? The biggest risk of options trading is that you may not correctly predict the future price of an asset. If you buy a call option and the price of the underlying asset goes down, you will lose money. If you buy a put option and the price of the underlying asset goes up, you will also lose money. In order to make money from options trading, you must correctly predict which direction the price of an asset will move. Can you sue your broker for options trading losses? Yes, you can sue your broker for options trading losses. However, it is important to understand that your broker is not obligated to make money for you. They are only required to provide you with the resources and information necessary to make informed investment decisions. If you lose money due to bad investment decisions, you cannot sue your broker. What is Margin Trading? Margin trading is when you buy or sell stocks (or other types of securities) with borrowed money. This is also sometimes called “trading on margin.” The money you borrow is called a margin loan. This means you will be going into debt in order to make an investment. Typically the loan comes from your broker, and you will repay it with interest at a later date. Buying on a margin may have a lot of appeal compared to using your own money, but it is very important to understand the risks before you do it. Margin trading is a form of leverage. Leverage is when you use something (in this case, money) to control a much larger amount of something else. Note: If the investment doesn’t make money, you will have to pay back the loan with interest regardless. This means that the investment losses can be much greater than if you had just used your own money. What are the risks of margin trading? The biggest risk of margin trading is that you may lose more money than you originally invested. When investors trading on a margin and they experience losses, they may be required to pay back more money than they originally borrowed (Margin Call). A margin call is when your broker asks you to add more money to your account because the value of your securities has fallen. If you cannot afford to pay the...

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What Does a Securities Lawyer Do?

If you’re having difficulties with your financial advisor or broker and suffered investment losses, you might want to hire a securities lawyer who knows the securities laws and securities industry rules inside and out.  What Does a Securities Lawyer Do? A securities lawyer specializes in securities laws and regulations that apply to investors, brokers, and financial advisors. Securities lawyers represent investors claiming losses as a result of misconduct or fraud, as well as brokers and financial advisors accused of misconduct by their clients or their employers. Investment Losses? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 800-732-2889. Brokers and advisors provide investment advice and sell securities products such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. When you work with an advisor or broker, you probably signed an agreement that required them to comply with Federal and state securities laws and securities industry rules, including the rules requiring an advisor or broker to only make suitable investment recommendations and to act in your best interest. IMPORTANT: If your financial professional isn’t doing what was agreed to, or if you think they’ve committed securities fraud, you can file a complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). But before you do, you might want to talk to a securities lawyer. You have the right to seek compensation from the parties responsible if you were an investor who lost money as a result of broker misconduct. What Are Securities Laws? Securities laws are the laws that regulate the securities industry. The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is the government agency that oversees the securities industry and enforces the Federal securities laws. These rules are designed to protect investors from fraud and other abuses, and to ensure that the securities industry operates fairly and transparently. Federal law requires companies that sell securities to register with the SEC. This registration process provides important information about a company’s business, its financial condition, and its management. It also gives the SEC important information about the people who sell the company’s securities. The federal securities laws also require those who sell securities to be licensed and to meet other standards of conduct. Investors and brokers use this information to make informed investment decisions. When brokers don’t disclose important information, or make false or misleading statements, they may have committed securities fraud. Further, the SEC provides a forum where investors can bring SEC complaints. The SEC may use these complaints to assist them in SEC investigations and the detection of securities fraud. In comparison to other areas of the law in the United States, there are few securities lawyers. Most lawyers who practice in this area work for the government, regulating or prosecuting firms and individuals who have violated securities law. It’s Important To Find A Good Securities Lawyer Who Represents Investors! There are a few lawyers who represent investors in private lawsuits and arbitrations against firms or individuals who have committed fraud and violated other securities laws. In order to sue someone for securities fraud, you must be able to prove that they made false or misleading statements, and that you relied on those statements to your detriment. Proving fraud can be difficult, and you should talk to a securities lawyer before you decide whether to sue. If you are an investor who suffered losses due to broker misconduct, you have the right to seek reimbursement from the parties responsible. Broker misconduct exists in multiple forms, including: Breach of fiduciary duty; Failure to disclose a conflict of interest; Churning, also known as excessive trading; Lack of diversification; Failure to adequately supervise; Misrepresentation; Omission of material facts; Unsuitable investment recommendations; Unauthorized trading; and  Misappropriating client funds.  While some forms of broker misconduct are easy to recognize, others are not. A financial advisor who stole funds out of your account and transferred them to a personal account clearly misappropriated your funds and committed misconduct. It’s more difficult to prove that a financial advisor recommended unsuitable investments, however, because the suitability of an investment depends on a number of different factors.  If you suffered investment losses and believe it was a result of broker misconduct, contact a good securities fraud lawyer today to evaluate your case.  Securities Laws are Complex and Numerous The laws that govern the securities industry are complex and numerous. This is partially due to the fact that the securities industry is complex and ever-changing. As new technologies and products are developed, they must be regulated. And as the markets change and evolve, the rules must change with them. This complexity can make it difficult for investors to understand their rights and what they should do if they think their broker has committed securities fraud. Below are just a few of the securities laws that may be relevant to your case: The Securities Act of 1933 Often called the “truth in securities” law, the Securities Act of 1933 has two main objectives: To require that companies disclose important information about their securities before they sell them; and To prevent fraud in the sale of securities. You can read more about the Securities Act of 1933 here. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is often called the “most important securities law in the United States.” It created the SEC and gave it broad authority to regulate the securities industry. Among other things, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requires companies that sell securities to the public to disclose important information about their business, financial condition, and management. It also requires brokers and dealers who trade securities to be licensed and to meet other standards of conduct. You can read more about the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 here. Trust Indenture Act of 1939 The Trust Indenture Act of 1939 is a federal law that regulates the sale of municipal securities. Municipal securities are debt obligations issued by states, cities, and other government entities. The Trust Indenture Act of 1939 requires state and local governments to disclose important information about their finances before they sell municipal securities. It also prohibits them...

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What is Forced Liquidation?

If you find yourself reading this article, it’s likely because you’re going through a forced liquidation. Forced liquidation, sometimes referred to as forced selling, is the process by which an investor is forced to sell their assets, typically by a broker or financial advisor, in order to meet margin calls or repay debts. In this guide we will go over what forced liquidation is, how it works, and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation. What is Forced Liquidation? Forced liquidation, also known as forced selling, occurs when an investor is forced to sell their assets or securities, typically by a broker or financial advisor, in order to repay debts or meet margin calls. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. The term “forced liquidation” usually refers to the involuntary sale of assets, but it can also refer to the situation where an investor is given a choice between selling their assets or having them sold by the broker. Forced liquidation often happens when an investor has been unable to meet a margin call or has failed to repay debts. When this occurs, the broker or exchange will take possession of the assets and sell them in order to recoup the money that is owed. How Forced Liquidation Works If you find yourself in a forced liquidation situation, it’s likely because you have failed to meet a margin call or have been unable to repay debts. When this occurs, the broker or exchange will take possession of the assets and sell them in order to recoup the money that is owed. In most cases, the assets are sold at a loss, which can be significant. Forced Selling within a Margin Account If you have a margin account, your broker may force you to sell your securities if the value of your account falls below the minimum required amount. Within a margin trading account, this is known as a margin call. Your broker or advisor will typically give you a set period of time to bring your account up to the minimum value, and if you are unable to do so, they will sell your securities to repay the debt. It’s important to note that you may not be able to control which securities are sold, and you may not be able to get the same price for them that you paid when you purchased them. Forced Selling within a Securities-Backed Lines of Credit If you have a securities-backed line of credit (“SBL”), your broker or financial advisor may force you to sell your securities if the value of your account falls below the minimum required amount. Your broker or advisor will typically give you a set period of time to bring your account up to the minimum value, and if you are unable to do so, they will sell your securities to repay the debt. It’s important to note that you may not be able to control which securities are sold, and you may not be able to get the same price for them that you paid when you purchased them. What is margin call? A margin call is a demand from a broker or exchange for an investor to deposit more money or securities into their account. Margin calls are typically made when the value of the securities in an account falls below a certain level, known as the margin requirements. If an investor fails to meet a margin call within the grace period, the broker or exchange has the right to sell the securities in the account in order to cover the shortfall. Can a Broker Liquidate an Investor’s Account without Notice? Some investors learned the hard way the true meaning of “forced liquidation” when their brokers sold their securities without much warning in order to meet margin calls. In most cases, brokers will give investors a grace period to meet margin calls, and they are not required to sell the securities in an account without notice. There can be cases where a broker may sell securities without notice (a “Blow-Out), with the investor suffering substantial investment loss, this is typically only done in the most extreme cases where there is a fear of an imminent market crash and the broker wants to protect their own interests. We have heard from many investors that when they complained to their respective brokerage firms, they were told that they signed contracts that allowed the broker-dealers to do exactly what they did to them and that they had no recourse. Without doubt, contracts with those onerous contract conditions were signed, but that does not mean that the terms of the contract are enforceable. Can You Take Legal Action After a Forced Liquidation? If you have been the victim of a forced liquidation, there may be legal action that can be taken against a broker-dealer for breach of fiduciary duty and other causes of action. You may not have recourse for the issuance of margin calls and/or forced liquidations of all or some of your securities on short notice or no notice at all, but that doesn’t mean that the broker-dealer did nothing wrong. IMPORTANT: The most important question to ask is: what happened when the securities-backed line of credit and/or margin accounts were recommended by your broker or financial advisor to be opened in the first place. Depending on the situation that led to you opening up your securities-backed line of credit and/or margin accounts, you may have legal action you can take to help recover your investment losses. In some cases, the recommendation to open the account may have been unsuitable for you. In other words, if your broker or financial advisor recommended that you open an account that was too risky for you given your investment profile, then they may be held responsible for the losses that you incurred as a result of the forced liquidation. We’ve Helped Investors Who’ve Suffered Losses Due to Forced Liquidation The securities fraud attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert...

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How SEC Investigations Work: Process, Timeline, and Causes

You never want to be in the situation where the SEC is investigating you, but when they do, you must act quickly and decisively to minimize any harm. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common reasons why the SEC might initiate an investigation into a company or individual, the SEC investigation process, how long SEC investigations take, and some steps you can take to protect yourself if it happens to you. What Causes an SEC Investigation? The SEC’s Division of Enforcement is in charge of investigating alleged breaches of securities law. Unregistered securities offerings, insider trading, accounting errors, negligence, market manipulation, and fraud are all common reasons for SEC investigations. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. The SEC may also investigate a company or individual if they receive a complaint from someone who has been harmed by the alleged violations. Note: If you are under investigation by the SEC, it’s generally safe to assume that you’re under investigation for or a witness to securities fraud. You are strongly enouraged to seek an expereinced SEC defense lawyer. There are Two Types of SEC Investigations: The SEC can conduct two types of investigations: formal and informal. Informal Investigations: For a vast majority of cases, investigations are informal. An informal investigation is less formal and typically occurs when the SEC has general concerns about a company or individual’s compliance with securities laws. The focus of an informal investigation is broader, and the SEC typically relies on information provided by the company or individual under investigation as well as other sources such as whistleblowers. This means that the SEC staff will review the facts and evidence available to them and make a determination as to whether or not an enforcement action is warranted. Following an informal investigation, the SEC may choose to take no action, issue a warning letter, or file a formal enforcement action. Formal Investigation: A formal investigation is more serious and typically occurs when the SEC has specific evidence that a violation of securities laws has occurred. In a formal investigation, the SEC will often use its subpoena power to obtain documents and other information from the company or individual being investigated. The SEC generally reserves formal investigations for more-important matters involving large sums of money or a large number of investors. However, this isn’t always the case, and Enforcement Division staff may elect to pursue a formal inquiry in any situation where it appears that administrative, civil, or criminal fines might be appropriate. All SEC investigations are conducted privately. Facts and evidence obtained by the SEC during an investigation are not made public unless and until the SEC files a formal enforcement action. What Happens When You are Under Investigation? First, you will NOT be told you are under investigation by the SEC. But you will likely receive a letter from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement with a Subpoena requesting documents and/or requiring you to give testimony. At that point, you can request the opportunity to view the Formal Order of Investigation with a summary of the investigation underway. It is a very general description and rarely identifies who or what conduct is under investigation. In most cases, it is important to respond to the SEC as quickly as possible and to provide them with all of the relevant information. Failure to respond or provide false information can lead to civil and criminal penalties. It is strongly advised that you seek legal representation if you are under investigation by the SEC before you respond to the SEC’s letter. An experienced securities defense lawyer will be able to help you navigate the process and protect your rights. What are the Risks of Not Responding to an SEC Investigation? If you do not respond to an SEC investigation, the SEC may take enforcement action against you. This could include filing a lawsuit against you or seeking a court order requiring you to take specific actions such as making restitution to investors or ceasing and desisting from certain activities. The SEC may also seek to bar you from working in the securities industry or from participating in penny stock offerings if you are a registered person. How Long Do SEC Investigations Take? The length of an SEC investigation can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. However, in most cases, the SEC will take a many months to investigate a company or individual before making a decision on whether to take enforcement action. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. Of course there are factors outside of the SEC’s control that can also affect the length of an investigation, such as the availability of witnesses or the need to gather evidence from foreign jurisdictions. You can learn more about the SEC’s enforcement process by visiting the SEC’s website. What Happens After an SEC Investigation? After an SEC investigation, the Enforcement Division will decide whether to take enforcement action. Of course, the ideal case (when the SEC has started an investigation) is to conclude the inquiry with no evidence of wrongdoing. However, if the SEC’s Enforcement Division decides to take action, the division will file a lawsuit in federal court. The SEC’s litigation is generally public, and the agency will typically issue a press release announcing its action. The press release will include a summary of the allegations and the relief being sought by the SEC. Defendants in SEC lawsuits have the right to be represented by an attorney and to file a response to the SEC’s allegations. The litigation will proceed through the court system, and a final judgment will be issued by the court. What’s a Wells Notice? If the SEC decides that they want to pursue a formal enforcement action against you, they will send you what is known as a Wells Notice. A Wells Notice is a formal notification from the SEC that they are considering bringing an enforcement action against you for violating securities law. It gives you an opportunity to respond to the allegations...

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