With the change of presidential administrations in January 2017, it was expected that the priorities of the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) would shift away from white-collar crime enforcement and towards immigration, violent crime, and narcotics enforcement. But recent data actually show a significant uptick in both prosecutions and convictions of individuals by the DOJ Criminal Division’s Fraud Section in 2018 over the previous two years. Moreover, the amount of money the DOJ recovered from companies through Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) or Non-Prosecution Agreements (NPAs) skyrocketed in 2018 .
By Eric R. Breslin, Mauro M. Wolfe, and Jovalin Dedaj
In the last few weeks, the SEC and its administrative law judges (“ALJs”) have tested the truthfulness of the old adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
On May 3, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied the SEC’s request to rehear a decision, in which the Court determined that the SEC’s administrative law judges were unconstitutional appointments. That decision was just another setback for the SEC in a high-stakes constitutional debate which could potentially put the issue of how the SEC appoints its ALJs before the Supreme Court. Later this month, much to the dismay of the SEC, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will rehear arguments in its decision, which initially held in favor of the SEC. Continue reading “Home-Field Advantage? Scrutinizing the Independence of the SEC’s ALJs”
This week reports surfaced that a major shift in the SEC enforcement division had taken place – behind the scenes. The timing is quite interesting as the agency’s annual seminar and SEC Alumni dinner will occur at the end of the month. No doubt this will be a topic, among many, of the annual SEC cocktail regulars in DC.
The reports indicate that the Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar has centralized the power of the enforcement division to “issue subpoenas or formally launch probes,” as Reuters put it. The question that has been asked is – What does all of this really mean, really? Continue reading “Changes Are Coming to the SEC Enforcement Division – What Does It All Mean?”
On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged CEO Dejun Zou and board chair Amy Qiu, husband-and-wife executives at China-based RINO International Corporation, alleging that they engaged in a scheme to overstate the company’s revenues and divert $3.5 million in proceeds from a securities offering for their personal use. This would be a routine case – except it involves a China-based company, a jurisdiction that the SEC has found difficult to regulate. For some time now, the SEC has been hamstrung in gaining access to information from China. Today’s historic announcement by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) may be the first major step in alleviating such difficulties.