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December 9, 2020

ICE Data Pricing & Reference Data LLC agreed to pay $8 million to resolve charges that between 2015 and 2020 it failed to take adequate steps to ensure the accuracy of securities pricing data it supplied to clients, including by relying on single broker quotes which did not reasonably reflect the value of certain securities.  This conduct affected the prices ICE Data PRD provided for more than 40,000 fixed-income securities. SEC

December 9, 2020

General Electric Co. (GE) has agreed to pay $200 million to settle SEC charges of violating accounting controls, disclosure controls, antifraud, and reporting provisions of securities laws.  According to the SEC, between 2015 to 2017, GE failed to disclose to investors the full picture of some of its profits, including that some of the profits from its power business stemmed from reductions in prior cost estimates, that increases in industrial cash collections came primarily from internal receivable sales between its power and financial services businesses, and that risks had arisen in its insurance business.  When challenges to those businesses were finally disclosed to the public in 2017 and 2018, GE’s stock fell by almost 75%.  SEC

December 8, 2020

UK-based investment advisor BlueCrest Capital Management Limited has agreed to pay over $132 million in disgorgement and interest and over $37 million in penalties, for a total of $170 million, to settle charges of failing to make material disclosures, or making inadequate or misleading disclosures, to investors for more than four years.  The alleged securities law violations involved omissions and inadequate or misleading statements regarding the firm’s transfer of a majority of its highest-performing traders from its flagship client fund, BlueCrest Capital International (BCI), to a proprietary fund, BBSMA Limited, and replacing live traders with an underperforming algorithm while continuing to collect performance fees.  SEC

December 7, 2020

The SEC has granted awards to five whistleblowers whose disclosures led to three successful enforcement actions.  The first award of $1.8 million was granted to a company insider who gave information about fraudulent conduct that would have been difficult to detect otherwise.  The second award of $750,000 was granted to two whistleblowers, one of whom received a waiver on TCR filing requirements by providing a tip that prompted an investigation, and the other who provided new information that resulted in additional actions being added.  The last award of $400,000 was also granted to two whistleblowers; the two individuals had provided analysis that prompted an investigation.  SEC

December 2, 2020

Energy company SCANA Corp. has agreed to pay a $25 million penalty to settle SEC charges of defrauding investors.  SCANA and its subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G), have also agreed to pay $112.5 million in disgorgement.  According to the SEC, SCANA, SCE&G, and top executives Kevin Marsh (former CEO) and Stephen Byrne (former executive VP) defrauded investors by making false and misleading statements concerning a nuclear power plant expansion that they said would qualify the company for more than $1 billion in tax credits.  However, defendants knew the project was far behind schedule and likely to be scrapped.  The false statements led investors to buy more than $1 billion in bonds, and caused millions of dollars in losses when the project was ultimately scrapped in mid-2017.  DOJ; SEC

November 5, 2020

The SEC awarded a whistleblower $3.6 million, stating that the individual had provided information that alerted the Commission to misconduct that was occurring abroad, and further provided substantial and ongoing assistance during the course of the investigation, traveling abroad at the whistleblower’s own expense and providing extensive supporting documentation.  SEC

November 5, 2020

A whistleblower received a $750,000 SEC award, with the Commission stating that the individual provided significant information that uncovered an ongoing fraud and assisted the investigation. SEC
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