Securities fraud, also known as investment fraud, is broadly defined as any deceptive practice that induces an investor to buy or sell a security on the basis of false or misleading information. A security can be a stock, bond, option, note, or any other transaction where a person invests money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits.
Securities fraud can take many forms, including Ponzi schemes, theft or embezzlement, security price manipulation, front running, insider trading, or making misstatements on a company’s financial reports. Investment fraud is not only the giving of false or misleading information, but can also include omission of information.
Securities fraud is governed by many Federal and State statutes, common law, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the Federal Agency that regulates and oversees investment companies and investment advisors. In addition, all 50 states also have their own securities regulators, and FINRA oversees all broker-dealer firms and individuals employed by broker-dealers.
The Securities Act of 1933, also known as the “truth in securities” law, requires that purchasers of investments receive financial and other material information concerning the investments being offered for sale to the public. It also forbids deceit, misrepresentations, and other fraud in the sale of investments. Except for a few exceptions, securities sold in the United States must be registered with the SEC.
Companies wishing to sell securities must file registration forms containing: (i) a description of the company’s assets and business; (ii) a description of the security to be offered for sale; (iii) information about the management of the company; and (iv) financial statements certified by independent accountants. Investors who bought securities and incurred losses may be entitled to recover if they can show that there was misleading, inaccurate, or incomplete disclosure of material information.
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 created the SEC and gave it broad authority over the securities industry, including the right to regulate brokerage firms, investment advisory firms, financial advisors, and investment advisors. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 also prohibits certain types of fraud in the investment markets.
Between all of the Federal, State, common law, and FINRA rules, harmed investors have many avenues of recourse against wrongdoers. We specialize in representing victims of securities fraud.
Please contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation if you believe that you are a victim of investment or securities fraud.