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SEC Enforcement Actions

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the United States agency with primary responsibility for enforcing federal securities laws. Whistleblowers with knowledge of violations of the federal securities laws can submit a claim to the SEC under the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program, and may be eligible to receive  monetary rewards and protection against retaliation by employers.

Below are summaries of recent SEC settlements or successful prosecutions. If you believe you have information about fraud which could give  rise to an SEC enforcement action and claim under the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.

January 21, 2022

A whistleblower received an award of $1.8 million, with the SEC finding that the individual voluntarily provided original information that led the SEC to open an investigation that was directly based on the whistleblower’s information.  The SEC further noted that the individual had also reported the misconduct internally in a timely manner, had suffered hardship as a result of reporting, and had provided substantial ongoing assistance during the government’s investigation.   SEC

January 21, 2022

Two unidentified whistleblowers were jointly awarded $37 million based on findings that they voluntarily provided key evidence to the government, which significantly contributed to the government’s understanding of the underlying wrong, and provided ongoing assistance during the government’s investigation.  The award is based on amounts recovered in a successful enforcement action by the SEC, as well as a separate related action by a different, unidentified, agency.  SEC

January 10, 2022

The SEC has issued two awards totaling more than $4 million to three whistleblowers whose information and assistance helped bring about two successful enforcement actions.  In the first order, a single whistleblower who reported internally before providing significant new information to the agency on an existing investigation was awarded $2.6 million.  According to the SEC, the misconduct occurred overseas and would have been difficult to detect without the whistleblower’s tip.  In the second order, two whistleblowers received a joint award of $1.5 million for providing substantial ongoing assistance.  SEC

December 21, 2021

Nikola Corporation will pay $125 million to resolve charges that the transportation systems provider, which designs and manufactures electric trucks and hydrogen fuel systems, misrepresented or omitted material facts about its products, technical advancements, and commercial prospects.  Many of these statements were made by Nikola’s founder and former CEO, Trevor Milton, on social media and otherwise, both before and after Nikola went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  An SEC action against Milton is continuing.   SEC

December 20, 2021

Private equity fund adviser Global Infrastructure Management, LLC will pay a $4.5 million civil penalty to resolve SEC charges that the company overcharged clients by failing to offset certain portfolio company fees against management fees charged to clients, as it was required to do under the offering and governing documents. Global has previously repaid $5.4 million to affected clients.  SEC

December 17, 2021

J.P. Morgan Chase entities, including broker-dealer J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, will pay a total of $200 million -- $125 million as an SEC penalty and $75 million as a CFTC penalty -- to resolve claims that firm employees communicated both internally and externally on unapproved channels, failed to preserve written communications, and failed to supervise.  Defendants admitted that employees, including senior and supervisory employees, regularly and openly communicated about business using personal devices, text messages, WhatsApp, and other private messaging, none of which were preserved by the firm, in violation of recordkeeping requirements.  As a result, J.P. Morgan entities were unable to provide information in response to subpoenas and information requests from regulators.  SEC; CFTC

December 15, 2021

Broker-dealer Wedbush Securities Inc. has agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations related to the unregistered sale of large blocks of 50 different low-priced microcap companies by Silverton SA, a former offshore customer.  The SEC also found that Wedbush failed to file SARs for certain suspicious transactions that it executed for Silverton, despite the presence of numerous red flags.  SEC

December 7, 2021

The SEC has issued a whistleblower reward of $5 million to an individual who voluntarily provided original information to the Commission regarding the misuse of proceeds from a securities offering.  The SEC found that the whistleblower promptly reported the misconduct, enabling the Commission to quickly bring a successful enforcement action and return millions to harmed investors.  SEC

December 6, 2021

Dialysis provider American Renal Associates Holdings, Inc. and three of its former financial executives have entered into a settlement agreement resolving allegations of accounting fraud; ARA will pay a $2 million civil penalty. The company and it executives allegedly manipulated revenue by improperly recognizing payments from insurance companies for patient services, overstating net income by more than 30% in 2017 and by more than 200% for the first three quarters of 2018.  The company issued restated financial in 2019.  SEC
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