The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement announced on November 6, 2019 that it ordered more than $4.3 billion in disgorgement and penalties for the 2019 fiscal year. The SEC also reports returning approximately $1.2 billion to harmed investors through enforcement actions.
“Across a broad array of cases, the Enforcement staff has continued to show determination, sophistication, and thoughtfulness in detecting and deterring bad conduct and crafting meaningful remedies,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a press release.
For fiscal year 2019, the SEC had 862 enforcement actions, including standalone actions. The enforcement division saw market manipulation, broker-dealer misconduct, account violations and numerous other infractions. The agency barred or suspended nearly 600 people from the securities industry while suspending trading for 271 companies.
Through the SEC’s new Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative, 95 investment firms voluntarily self-reported violations. They were ordered to return more than $135 million to affected investors. Other major penalties issued by the SEC during the 2019 fiscal year include:
- The SEC alleged Facebook knew their user data was misused. Facebook was ordered to pay a $100 million civil penalty.
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was found inflating monthly sales by paying auto dealers to report fake vehicle sales. Dealers were maintaining a “cookie jar” of actual sales but only reported the sales in months FCA fell short of targets. FCA was ordered to pay a $40 million penalty.
- Nissan, its former CEO and former director were accused of falsifying financial disclosures and omitting more than $140 million to be paid to the CEO for retirement. Nissan was ordered to pay a $15 million civil penalty. Injunctions, civil penalties and director bars were given to the former CEO and former director.
This fiscal years’ $4.3 billion in fines and disgorgement is up from $3.9 billion from the previous year, reports Reuters.
“We are proud of the work Enforcement staff did in enabling the SEC to punish misconduct, deter future wrongdoing, and obtain relief for harmed investors,” Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in a statement.
The Spencer Law Firm’s attorneys assist in securities related proceedings such as FINRA and SEC enforcement proceedings, arbitration and general regulatory actions. The Spencer Law Firm assists individual investors and those who have securities claims brought against them by investors, FINRA or the SEC in litigation. If you have any questions regarding securities matters, please feel free to call Bonnie Spencer at the Spencer Law Firm at (888)237-459 to see what we can do for you. You can also visit us at Spencer-Law.com or at our office at 4635 Southwest Freeway, Suite 900, Houston, Texas, 77027.