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What the SEC can learn from its German peer BaFin

Posted  08/13/21
Building of Wirecard in Germany
The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, otherwise known as BaFin, is Germany’s version of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a supervisory body working to ensure the functioning, stability and integrity of the German financial system. BaFin was created following a 2002 merger between Germany’s Federal Banking Supervisory Office (BAKred), the Federal Securities Supervisory Office (BAWe), and...

SEC Chairman Views Cryptocurrency Markets as the “Wild West” and Calls for More Investor Protection

Posted  08/13/21
Cryptocurrency and US Hundred Dollar Bills Scattered Around
During a recent speech discussing the intersection of national security with cryptocurrencies at the Aspen Security Forum, Gary Gensler, the new Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), made clear the SEC will use its broad powers to continue protecting investors from the volatility associated with cryptocurrency markets which he characterized as the “Wild West.”  He also urged Congress to grant...

DOJ Lowers The Boom On COVID-19 Healthcare Scams, Again

Posted  05/28/21
COVID Virus Zoomed In
Hey, fraudsters, did you hear?  There was a global pandemic, so the government pumped trillions of dollars into the economy.  Probably a good time to get a piece of the cut, you ask?  They’ll never find out, right?  So many ways to grift! Well, not so much.  From the start, the cops on the beat, led by the United States Department of Justice, have screamed from the rooftops:  “Don’t do it.  We WILL...

Constantine Cannon Client Receives Maximum Award for Blowing the Whistle on ITG

Posted  05/21/21
silver whistle with Securities Exchange Commission logo
The SEC has made a multi-million-dollar award to a Constantine Cannon client whose original information and assistance led to an enforcement action against the brokerage firm ITG.  The award—30% of the recovery—is the maximum allowed under the SEC Whistleblower Program. The SEC has taken three enforcement actions against ITG in recent years, two of which involve ITG’s dark pool POSIT.  POSIT is an alternate...

How will regulators respond to Bitcoin’s price fluctuations?

Posted  05/18/21
Bitcoins stacked with stocks rising
The price of Bitcoin—never stable—has become even more erratic in the last month.  From April 17 to May 17, the price fell 26%.  Such a huge drop would be noteworthy in a stock investment.  But in something claiming to be a currency, that kind of instability is normally only seen in times of crisis and hyperinflation.  Coming just as cryptocurrencies are making a play to be considered mainstream, this latest...

Top Ten SEC and CFTC Recoveries of 2020

Posted  01/15/21
top ten list
Despite its many shortcomings, 2020 did bring great news for whistleblowers: record-breaking growth in the CFTC and SEC Whistleblower Programs, as well as massive enforcement actions by both agencies.  In this post, we will detail the Top Ten SEC and CFTC recoveries of 2020 in cases other than FCPA enforcement.  As detailed below, the SEC netted billions of dollars in penalties and restitution from companies accused...

JPMorgan Chase Pays nearly $1 Billion in Fines for Market Manipulation of Precious Metals and U.S. Treasuries

Posted  10/16/20
investors on computers for market trading
JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay over $955 million to settle civil and criminal charges over a scheme involving fake trades in precious metals and U.S. treasuries designed to manipulate the market in an effort to enhance the bank’s profits and cut losses. The multi-agency enforcement action was brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and...

CFTC Sets Sights on Binary Options Fraud

Posted  09/17/20
commodity futures trading commission logo
The CFTC continues its hot streak, aggressively pursuing fraudsters and rewarding whistleblowers who come forward with valuable information.  One particular enforcement trend stands out: a number of high-profile settlements related to illegal binary options trading platforms. Binary options are the OTB of the stock market—a method of gambling whether particular stocks will go up or down without actually...

Catch of the Week: Bank of Nova Scotia Fined for Commodities Fraud and False Statements to Investigators

Posted  08/21/20
building of a bank
Self-disclosure offers wrong-doing corporations a path to leniency: Fess up, the government says, and we’ll go easier on you.  But as the Bank of Nova Scotia learned, you had better reveal the full extent of the problem, or you are just making your problem worse. The Bank had made a self-disclosure that secured it's leniency and an $800,000 deal for charges of commodities fraud.  When the CFTC later determined...

DOJ Charges Healthcare CEO with Criminal Securities and Healthcare Fraud

Posted  06/12/20
Hands in handcuffs behind back of white man in business suit
In 2008, Rahm Emanuel, then-President Obama’s chief of staff, famously said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.  I mean, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”  However poorly phrased, generations of political and business leaders have understood the kernel of truth in his admonition. So have scammers and rip-off artists. We have been following the...
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