If you hear the phrase “Ponzi scheme,” you may immediately think of Bernie Madoff’s $68 billion 20-year long fraud exposed in 2008. But there have been many high-profile Ponzi schemes since. Just in February 2022, film actor Zachary Horwitz was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his Hollywood-based Ponzi Scheme—a $650 million fraud. Then, later that month, the founder of cryptocurrency BitConnect was indicted for his role in a $2 billion Ponzi scheme. And just a couple of weeks later, a Utah business owner received a 19-year prison sentence for his Ponzi Scheme that defrauded 568 victims of $200 million. Continue reading
People toss around the term “fraud” all the time, often it to describe something fake or insincere. But when it comes to the legal understanding of the term in context of the securities laws, fraud means more than something fake. Understanding what fraud means is important for those who work in the financial sphere—especially if you’re working with clients who aren’t sophisticated investors. Where the line is between aggressive sales, marketing and investing, and actual fraud is sometimes hard to determine. Continue reading
If you’re aware of a SPAC that is defrauding investors, you may be wondering if you should go to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and become a whistleblower. While how to best submit your case will always depend on your case, here are guidelines to help you understand the process. But one thing to keep in mind from the start: It’s important to realize that the SEC receives many tips, but it only pursues a few. So the real issue isn’t how you file a tip. Your real question should be, “How do you get the SEC to take an interest in your case?” Continue reading
The SEC announced another whistleblower bounty that paid nearly $3.5 million to four individuals.
Jointly, three whistleblowers provided information to the SEC that led to the staff opening an investigation. The investigation led to a successful enforcement action by the SEC. Additionally, that information and investigation led to another agency opening its own investigation, culminating in a separate enforcement action. Continue reading
The SEC has announced its latest whistleblower bounty of $6 million to five individuals in two groups for one single covered action.
The first group, known as “Claimant 1” in the order, provided crucial documents to the SEC that led to requests for additional documentation. These documents were the crux of the SEC’s case. The individuals continued to provide documentation and information to help SEC staff to understand the company’s business practices. Continue reading
The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently awarded a bounty of $10 million to a whistleblower who offered original information voluntarily. The information led to the opening of an investigation and a subsequent successful enforcement action.
According to the order, the individual provided the information properly via a Form TCR that involved information previously unknown to the CFTC, and in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA.) The whistleblower was under no obligation to provide this information, and provided it at the outset of the investigation, when the CFTC was unaware of the ongoing conduct. Continue reading
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has awarded a $625,000 bounty to four whistleblowers who provided information and assistance in an investigation.
A total of nine claimants submitted award applications for this enforcement action. Of that number, only four received awards. Claimants 2, 3, 4, and 6 received bounties from the civil monetary penalties levied against the two defendants involved in the enforcement action. Claimant 4 offered the highest level of assistance and cooperation and received the largest portion of the bounty. All four offered substantial assistance that included providing names and other information which supported the Commission’s action against the defendants. Continue reading
The SEC has awarded $3M to three different whistleblowers for assisting with three distinct covered actions in three separate orders.
1. In the first order, the Claims Review Staff (CRS) awarded a bounty of $1.5 million to an individual who provided original information and voluntarily gave assistance to SEC staff that led to a successful covered action. Continue reading
The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has awarded another whistleblower bounty to someone offering information and assistance. This time, the whistleblower received an award of $1.25 million after voluntarily supplying information that resulted in a successful SEC enforcement action. Continue reading
Compared to the decades of experience investors have with the S&P and NASDAQ, everyone’s a comparative rookie when it comes to cryptocurrency. And crypto’s appeal often comes from the idea that crypto exists outside of traditional banking. However, overlooked in that idea is the reality that—not unlike traditional banking and other investment platforms—many crypto services charge users expensive fees for these crypto transactions. And these fees can get very steep, very quickly. However, our experienced securities attorneys understand how the federal securities laws apply to cryptocurrency. Continue reading