Depositing Penny Stocks with Brokers Creates Obstacles; SEC Charges E*Trade with Section 5 Violation
ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100
On October 9, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed an enforcement action against E*Trade Securities and E*Trade Capital Markets for selling billions of shares of unregistered and otherwise restricted penny stocks for their customers. The SEC found that the firms processed the sales on behalf of three customers while ignoring red flags that the offerings being conducted were in violation of the federal securities laws in that the shares were neither registered nor subject to an available exemption from registration. E*Trade Securities and E*Trade Capital Markets settled the enforcement proceeding by agreeing to pay a total of $2.5 million in disgorgement and penalties.
The SEC press release on the matter quoted Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, as saying, “Broker-dealers serve an important gatekeeping function that helps prevent microcap fraud by taking measures to ensure that unregistered shares don’t reach the market if the registration rules