Securities Fraud Defense Lawyer in Birmingham, AL
If you’ve been accused of a crime, you never want to find out that you’re up against federal charges. The agencies involved in investigating federal crimes have an enormous amount of money, time, and talent to commit to these cases, and you’re at a significant disadvantage.
This trend holds true when it comes to securities fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement takes significant action every single year to root out securities fraud cases and bring perpetrators to justice.
If you’re charged with a crime or you’re told you’re under investigation, you should know that you have likely been on their radar for months or even years. Without the assistance of a securities fraud defense attorney, you have almost no chance of protecting yourself.
The team at Kirk Drennan Law brings a substantial amount of experience in white-collar criminal defense to every single case we take. Find out how we can help you by calling our Birmingham office at 205-953-1424 now.
How the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Strives to Beat Fraud
The Annual Report put out by the Division of Enforcement of the SEC offers a behind-the-scenes look at how securities fraud cases actually play out. In their 2020 report, they note that 72% of the charges they filed were against individuals, as individual accountability is a huge part of their mission.
While the cases that get the most airtime focus on charges against major corporations and entities, the majority of the work done by the Division of Enforcement involves bringing individual perpetrators to justice. Never assume that the charges brought against you are too small or unimportant for the SEC.
Another core component of its mission is the protection of retail investors. If the actions taken by an individual cause direct harm to investors, it’s likely that those illegal actions will catch the SEC’s attention at some point.
How does the SEC find out about all of this criminal activity? A massive part of their success comes from whistleblowers. In 2020, the SEC’s whistleblower program had its most successful year yet. In fact, they awarded over $562 million to over 100 whistleblowers. This means that a significant number of cases begin with a friend, family member, or business partner turning someone in.
In recent years, they have also worked on shortening the length of investigations and bringing cases to court more quickly. As a result, they have decreased the average investigation time by three months. What does this mean for you? If you’ve heard that you’re the target of an investigation, you have less time than you think to protect yourself and your rights.
What Types of Activities Are Considered Securities Fraud?
A wide range of unethical practices fall under the umbrella of securities fraud. They include:
- Market price manipulation. Pump and dump schemes that allow individuals to profit at the expense of other investors are one common type of market price manipulation. Withholding relevant and important information is another example.
- Theft of securities. Investment advisors and firms may be guilty of securities fraud if they steal customer funds and securities. This may take the form of excessive commissions, unauthorized trading, and funneling deposits into personal accounts.
- Withholding important information. Before companies and advisors can take new money from investors, they have to provide potential investors with a clear, full, and accurate view of the opportunity. Hiding information that is important to their decision is fraud.
- Insider trading. When you see securities fraud in the news, it’s often insider trading that gets the top headlines. This type of fraud makes up a big part of the SEC’s investigations.
- Hedge fund negligence. Investors get little to no protection when they choose hedge funds. Hedge fund managers may take advantage of investors by stealing from them directly or misrepresenting the fund and those who manage it.
- Structuring products. These investment products generally do well with investors because many have limited risk. However, financial professionals must still inform investors of these risks. In some cases, advisors have sold high-risk products to clients and misrepresented the nature of the product.
- Failing to diversify. Heavily investing in one type of security can put investors at serious risk of losing money they have invested. If a broker acts against a client’s best interests, they may have engaged in fraud.
Your Next Steps If You’re Under Investigation
There are multiple ways you may find out you’re under investigation. First, federal authorities may contact you directly by phone, letter, or in person. Depending on their approach, they may ask you to set up a formal interview or they might try to get some answers to you right away.
No matter what you do, contact an attorney before you say anything. They may seem friendly and casual or even claim that you can get the matter sorted out by clearing things up. Don’t do it.
You could also receive a target letter. This type of letter informs you that you are being federally investigated. The advice is the same in this situation. Call a securities fraud attorney before you do anything else.
Why You Should Choose Kirk Drennan Law
You have a lot to lose if you are under investigation for securities fraud. Not only are you likely to lose your job, but you could also be sent to prison and be forced to pay substantial amounts of money to the government and investors who lost money.
We know that the stakes are high when someone is accused of a white-collar crime. Our extensive knowledge of federal law and white-collar crime gives us the tools needed to handle your case. Through in-depth scrutiny of the evidence and our own investigation, we’ll figure out what’s happened, what your options are, and what you should do next.
Don’t Wait Any Longer—Schedule a Consultation Today
With the SEC focusing on shorter investigation times, you don’t have any time to waste if you’re under investigation. We’re ready to talk to you, look into your case, and start building your defense. Call our Birmingham office at 205-953-1424 or reach out to us online