• #RiskAlert: Investment advisers are encouraged to review policies and risks relating to electronic messaging Link
    SEC_News Sat 15 Dec 2018 18:22
  • Online shopping in a public place? Be careful using that public wifi. Tips to stay safe online: Link
    SEC_News Sat 15 Dec 2018 16:22

    The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help investors protect their online investment accounts from fraud. As with all web-based accounts, investors should take precautions to help ensure that their online investment accounts remain secure.  These online security tips can help.

    Pick a “strong” password, keep it secure, and change it regularly.  Select a strong password for your online investment account.  A strong password is one that is not easy to guess and generally uses eight or more characters that include symbols, numbers, and both capital and lowercase letters.  A strong password should not use words found in a dictionary, or personal information such as a name or birthday.  Make sure you secure your password and never share it via electronic messaging (such as e-mail or text messages) or over the phone.  In addition, you should change your password regularly.

    Use...

  • Watch Chairman Clayton's wide-ranging town hall-style Q&A session with the Investor Advisory Committee earlier this… Link
    SEC_News Sat 15 Dec 2018 15:07

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  • Jeffrey S. Mooney Named Associate Director in the Office of Clearance and Settlement Link
    SEC_News Fri 14 Dec 2018 16:56

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Jeffrey S. Mooney has been named Associate Director of the Office of Clearance and Settlement in the agency’s Division of Trading and Markets. 

    Mr. Mooney joined the SEC staff in 1996 and has served in a variety of roles, most recently as Assistant Director for the Office of Clearance and Settlement. He has been instrumental in regulatory and policy initiatives for clearing agencies and security-based swap data repositories, and has represented the agency in international working groups focused on standards for financial market infrastructure. Mr. Mooney served as a Senior Special Counsel in the division from 2000 to 2009, and participated in an interagency effort to develop provisions of Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act. He also represented the agency in domestic and international working groups designed to improve the clearance and settlement process. In 1998, he served as counsel to SEC Chairman...

  • Chairman Clayton thanks Commissioner Stein for her thoughtful perspective and strong advocacy for our markets and i… Link
    SEC_News Fri 14 Dec 2018 16:51

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  • Chairman Clayton delivers opening remarks at yesterday's meeting of the Investor Advisory Committee Link
    SEC_News Fri 14 Dec 2018 16:16
  • Watch Chairman Clayton's wide-ranging town hall-style Q&A session with the Investor Advisory Committee yesterday. Link
    SEC_News Fri 14 Dec 2018 15:51
  • Chairman Jay Clayton and @CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo’s joint statement on the IDI exception to the swap de… Link
    SEC_News Fri 14 Dec 2018 14:11

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  • SEC charges former New York investment advisor and daughter with conducting a Ponzi scheme Link
    SEC_News Fri 14 Dec 2018 13:41

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former Rockland County, New York-based investment adviser and his daughter with conducting a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that defrauded local community members as well as members of their family and close friends.

    The SEC alleges that Hector May, an investment adviser representative and the president and chief compliance officer of the now-defunct Executive Compensation Planners Inc. (ECP), and his daughter Vania Bell, who served as ECP’s controller and senior compliance administrator, misappropriated more than $7.9 million in a Ponzi scheme involving bonds.

    According to the SEC’s complaint, with Bell’s help, May lied to investors by promising to invest their money in bonds when they actually used the money to pay for personal and business expenses, as well as extravagant items, such as jewelry, furs, vacations, and a limousine driver. To conceal the fraudulent scheme, they sent bogus account...

  • SEC, MSRB, FINRA to hold Compliance Outreach Program for Municipal Advisors Link
    SEC_News Thu 13 Dec 2018 18:10

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today announced the opening of registration for the Compliance Outreach Program for Municipal Advisors. 

    There is no cost to attend the program, which provides an open forum for municipal advisory industry professionals to discuss regulatory and compliance issues with regulators. The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco on Feb. 7, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST. Additional information, including the agenda, is available on the SEC, MSRB, and FINRA websites. The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and Office of Municipal Securities (OMS) are partnering with the MSRB and FINRA to sponsor the program.  Topics of discussion include the duties and standards of conduct for solicitor and non-solicitor municipal advisors under MSRB Rule G-42 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and...

  • SEC impersonator faces up to 20 years in prison after guilty plea announced by Department of Justice, SEC Inspector… Link
    SEC_News Thu 13 Dec 2018 18:05

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  • .@RPublicService’s 2018 #BestPlacestoWork rankings are in, and the SEC is in the top 3 among mid-size federal agenc… Link
    SEC_News Thu 13 Dec 2018 15:55

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  • Jeffrey Minton, Office of the Chief Accountant Chief Counsel, to retire from the SEC after 20 years of service Link
    SEC_News Thu 13 Dec 2018 15:20

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Jeffrey Minton, Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA)'s Chief Counsel, will be retiring from the agency next month after more than 20 years of service at the SEC, with over half of that time spent in his role in OCA. 

    The Office of the Chief Accountant is responsible for accounting and auditing matters arising in the Commission’s administration of the federal securities laws, such as oversight activities of standard setting organizations and the PCAOB. 

    Mr. Minton provided critical counsel and assistance on oversight activities, numerous rulemakings, and technical assistance to Congress on legislation. He also has directed OCA's enforcement liaison program, providing insightful analytical guidance and assistance to the Division of Enforcement on many enforcement actions and Commission on accountant suspension and reinstatement orders. Mr. Minton also devoted significant efforts to enhancing...

  • SEC ranked one of the best places to work in government by @RPublicService. Scores reflect SEC staff commitment to… Link
    SEC_News Wed 12 Dec 2018 22:00

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  • Executives Settle ICO Scam Charges Link
    SEC_News Wed 12 Dec 2018 21:34

    Two former executives behind an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) that was stopped by the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year have been ordered in federal court to pay nearly $2.7 million and prohibited from serving as officers or directors of public companies or participating in future offerings of digital securities.

    AriseBank’s then-CEO Jared Rice Sr. and then-COO Stanley Ford were accused of offering and selling unregistered investments in their purported “AriseCoin” cryptocurrency by depicting AriseBank as a first-of-its-kind decentralized bank offering a variety of services to retail investors.

    “Rice and Ford lied to AriseBank’s investors by pitching the company as a first-of-its kind decentralized bank offering its own cryptocurrency for customer products and services,” said Shamoil T. Shipchandler, Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office.  “The officer-and-director bar and digital securities offering bar will...

  • Three developers settle charges of fraudulent EB-5 offering Link
    SEC_News Wed 12 Dec 2018 20:49

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that three Houston-area developers have agreed to settle charges that they misused investor funds raised from 90 Chinese investors under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program on unrelated projects.

    The three developers – America Modern Green Senior (Houston) LLC, America Modern Green Community (Houston) LLC, and America Modern Green Residential (Houston) LLC – have repaid the $49.5 million that they raised from the Chinese investors.

    According to the SEC’s order, the developers told investors that their funds would be used exclusively for a large mixed-use real estate development EB-5 project.  Instead, the SEC found that the developers improperly transferred $20.5 million of investor funds for various undisclosed and improper purposes, including funding purchases with respect to two unrelated real estate projects.  In addition, the SEC found that the developers’ offering materials improperly described...

  • ICYMI: Last week, Chairman Clayton spoke about rulemaking from 2018, what's ahead in 2019, and some of the key risk… Link
    SEC_News Wed 12 Dec 2018 19:14

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  • Congratulations to our Office of the General Counsel! Ranked in top 5 among federal agency offices by… Link
    SEC_News Wed 12 Dec 2018 18:59

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  • SEC ranked in top 5 among federal agencies for innovation, effective leadership and employee skills-mission match i… Link
    SEC_News Wed 12 Dec 2018 15:44

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  • RT @SEC_Investor_Ed: Promises of high returns are a red flag for fraud… even for marijuana-related investments. Link
    SEC_News Wed 12 Dec 2018 15:09

    Scam artists often exploit “hot” industries to trick investors, including by making false promises of high returns with low risks. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Retail Strategy Task Force are warning investors about these kinds of investment schemes involving marijuana-related companies.

    OIEA regularly receives complaints about marijuana-related investments, and the SEC continues to bring enforcement actions in this area. If you are thinking about investing in a marijuana-related company, you should beware of the risks of investment fraud and market manipulation.

    Investment Fraud                      

    Fraudsters may try to use media coverage about the legalization of marijuana to promote an investment scam. Look out for these signs of fraud: 

  • SEC Names Danae M. Serrano Acting Ethics Counsel and Designated Agency Ethics Official Link
    SEC_News Tue 11 Dec 2018 19:13

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Danae M. Serrano has been named Acting Ethics Counsel and Designated Agency Ethics Official. Ms. Serrano joined the SEC in 2010 as an Assistant Ethics Counsel, and has served as the Deputy Ethics Counsel and Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official since 2013.  Ms. Serrano also served as the Agency’s Acting Chief Compliance Officer until August 2018.  “Danae is widely respected by her colleagues throughout the Commission for her steady and thoughtful ethics counsel,” said Chairman Jay Clayton.  “I know that Danae and her team are committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards at the SEC, and I want to thank her for taking on this important role in support of the Commission and our dedicated staff.” “I am grateful for this opportunity to lead the talented and dedicated staff in the Office of the Ethics Counsel, and for the Chairman’s support of the SEC’s robust ethics and compliance...

  • If you’re running a minority-owned and/or woman-owned business, or would like to, you won’t want to miss this oppor… Link
    SEC_News Tue 11 Dec 2018 17:48

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  • SEC Charges The Hain Celestial Group with Internal Controls Failures Link
    SEC_News Tue 11 Dec 2018 15:03

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against a natural and organic food company stemming from weaknesses in the company's internal controls related to end-of-quarter sales practices that were designed to help the company meet its internal sales targets. Based upon its extensive cooperation with the SEC's investigation, which included self-reporting and remediation efforts, the SEC did not impose a monetary penalty on the company.

    According to the SEC's order, between 2014 and 2016, sales personnel for The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. offered the company's two largest distributors incentives at the end of fiscal quarters to encourage the purchase of sufficient inventory for Hain to meet quarterly internal sales targets. The incentives offered by Hain included rights of return for products that spoiled or expired before they were sold to retailers, as well as cash incentives of up to $500,000, substantial discounts, and extended payment...

  • SEC Charges Agria Corporation and Executive Chairman With Fraud Link
    SEC_News Mon 10 Dec 2018 20:07

    A multinational agricultural company has agreed to pay $3 million to settle charges that it concealed substantial losses from investors through fraudulent accounting in connection with its divestiture of its primary operating entity.  In a related action, the company’s executive chairman Lai Guanglin (aka Alan Lai) settled charges that he manipulated the company’s share price.   

    As described in the SEC’s order, Agria Corporation sold its Chinese operating company in return for stock and land use rights to 13,500 acres of undeveloped land in a remote, mountainous area of China’s Shanxi Province.  The SEC order found that Agria overstated the value of the stock it received by $17 million and assigned a value of nearly $60 million to the effectively worthless land use rights.  A separate SEC order found that in March 2013, Lai used nominee brokerage accounts to engage in manipulative trading in Agria’s American Depository Shares in order to...

  • Three broker-dealers to pay more than $6 million in penalties for providing deficient blue sheet data: Link
    SEC_News Mon 10 Dec 2018 19:22

    The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that three broker-dealers have agreed to pay more than $6 million to settle charges for providing the SEC with incomplete and inaccurate securities trading information in required SEC productions known as “blue sheet data,” which the SEC uses to carry out its enforcement and regulatory obligations, including the investigation of insider trading and other fraudulent activity. 

    According to the SEC’s orders, over a period of several years, Citadel Securities LLC, Natixis Securities Americas LLC, and MUFG Securities Americas Inc. each made numerous deficient blue sheet submissions containing inaccurate or missing data; incorrect order execution times that failed to adjust for time zone changes; and incorrect or missing exchange codes, transaction type identifiers, opposing broker number and contra-party identifiers.  Citadel, the largest provider of blue sheet data of the firms charged today, submitted...

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