SEC Issues White Paper On Penny Stock Risks
On December 16, 2016, the SEC announced several new settled enforcement proceedings against market participants including issuers, attorneys and a transfer agent, related to penny stock fraud. On the same day the SEC issued a new white paper detailing the risks associated with investing in penny stocks. This blog summarizes the SEC white paper.
As I have written about on numerous occasions, the prevention of micro-cap fraud is and will always be a primary focus of the SEC and other securities regulators. In fact, the SEC will go to great lengths to investigate and ultimately prosecute micro-cap fraud. See my blog HERE regarding the recent somewhat scandalous case involving Guy Gentile.
The SEC Division of Economic and Risk Analysis published a white paper on the risks and consequences of investing in stocks quoted in the micro-cap markets versus those listed on a national securities exchange. The paper reviewed 1.8 million trades by more than 200,000 investors and concludes that
SEC Continues Efforts To Prevent Microcap Fraud
As I’ve written about numerous times in the past, a primary agenda of the SEC and FINRA is to prevent small- and micro-cap fraud. On March 23, 2016, the SEC charged Guy Gentile with penny stock fraud. The SEC complaint, as well as numerous industry articles and a blog by Mr. Gentile himself, reveal in-depth efforts by the SEC together with FINRA and the FBI and DOJ to remove recidivist and bad actors from the micro-cap system. While the methods used by the regulators have been the subject of heated debates and articles, the message and result remain that the SEC is committed to its efforts to deter securities law violations.
Although small- and micro-cap fraud has always been an important area of concern and enforcement by the SEC since the financial crisis of 2008, it has increasingly been a focus. Regulators have amplified their efforts through regulations and stronger enforcement, including the SEC Broken Windows policy, increased Dodd-Frank whistleblower
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