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SEC Investigations

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) investigates violations of the federal securities laws. It is important to know that:

  • SEC enforcement actions are civil matters.
  • The SEC has no authority to bring criminal cases.
  • The SEC may ask you voluntarily provide documents and testimony
  • You may be required to respond to a subpoena.

Whether you have been contacted informally or served with a subpoena — you should retain an experienced securities violation lawyer to help you. How you respond can impact the outcome.

Once contacted, it is usually a bad idea to have substantive discussions with the investigators. But if you ignore this, you should be truthful because any false statement can lead to a felony charge. Also, make sure that documents and emails are not destroyed. Destroying evidence can lead to criminal charges.

SEC Wells Notice

When the SEC believes that charges are appropriate, you will get a Wells notice. This will: (1) inform you that the staff has made a preliminary determination to recommend that the Commission file an action or institute a proceeding; (2) identify the securities law violations that the staff has preliminarily determined to include in the recommendation; and (3) advise you of your right to make a submission to the Division and the Commission concerning the proposed recommendation.

As a recipient of a Wells notice you may review non-privileged portions of the staff’s investigative file and request a meeting with the staff to discuss the substance of the allegations.

We will help you

  • by managing the process to minimize the impact on your business.
  • by contacting the enforcement staff to learn as much as possible about the investigation.
  • by preparing you for an informal interview or testimony.
  • by negotiating a favorable resolution or settlement of the matter.

Contact Us

To discuss your SEC matter, contact us by email or call 601-957-3101.