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Securities Fraud

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Top Ten SEC and CFTC Recoveries of 2021

Posted  01/7/22
Top Ten Sign with Letters
As we recently detailed, 2021 proved to be a blockbuster year for whistleblowers under the CFTC and SEC Whistleblower ProgramsSeven of the ten largest whistleblower awards of 2021 were made to SEC and CFTC whistleblowers, including a massive $200 million CFTC award that was roughly twice as large as all prior CFTC awards combined.  In total, the SEC paid more awards—both in total dollars and individual...

Top Ten Whistleblower Awards of 2021

Posted  01/6/22
Red Whistle with People
2021 was another banner year for whistleblowers, who once again collectively recovered billions of dollars for the government and hundreds of millions of dollars in whistleblower rewards under the various government whistleblower programs.  This includes awards under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act and various state False Claims Act programs.  It includes awards under the Dodd-Frank 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 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 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

November 24, 2021

Guy Scott Griffithe, who controlled an entity called Renewable Technologies Solutions, Inc., and Robert William Russell, who owned an entity called SMRB, LLC, have been ordered to pay more than $6 million to resolve charges that they mislead investors by falsely stating that investments in Renewable would be used to operate SMRB, which held a license to grow marijuana under Washington’s recreational cannabis laws.  To create the illusion that the marijuana business was profitable and paying dividends as promised, Griffithe allegedly paid out purported profit distributions to some investors, which were partially funded in a Ponzi-like fashion using funds from other investors.  Griffithe was found liable for more than $5.3 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties; Russell was found liable for more than $698,000 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.  SEC

SEC Whistleblower Program Reports Stunning 2021 Results

Posted  11/17/21
close up of capitol dome with United States flag
If you have been watching the SEC Whistleblower Program over the last year, you already know that this has been a big year, with the program passing one billion in total whistleblower awards as enforcement matters based on information from whistleblowers have resulted in orders for nearly $5 billion in monetary sanctions.  This week, the SEC released its 2021 Annual Report on the SEC Whistleblower Program, and, even...

SEC Names New Whistleblower Chief

Posted  11/12/21
Securities Exchange Commission Logo on Building
On November 5, 2021, the SEC announced that Nicole Creola Kelly would take over as Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.  The Office of the Whistleblower oversees the agency’s hugely successful Whistleblower Program, which has awarded about $1.1 billion to 226 individuals over the last decade.  Over the same period, those whistleblowers have helped the SEC obtain roughly $5 billion in financial...
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