Securities Fraud Defense
Atlanta Criminal Lawyer
If you believe you are the subject of a securities fraud investigation or have already been arrested or called in for questioning, it is important to seek legal counsel. You have the right to an attorney, and deciding to involve an Atlanta criminal lawyer at The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C. may be the best choice to preserve your freedom.
Representing defendants facing federal charges and investigations in and around the Atlanta area of Georgia, our firm is led by a former federal prosecutor who has been working as a criminal defense attorney for well over 20 years. Since 1985, our firm has committed its practice to the defense of suspected, arrestees and defendants facing federal charges, including securities fraud. Securities fraud cases are highly complex and may involve alleged violations of a number of state and federal laws, including mail fraud, wire fraud,
money laundering and bank fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and various other federal agencies may be involved in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes. Our founding attorney has the advantage of personal experience as a federal prosecutor and can use this to our clients' advantage.
What is securities fraud?
Securities fraud is generally classified as a white collar crime because it is committed in a financial/business setting. Often referred to as investment or commodities fraud, it involves violations of state and federal laws that govern the buying, selling and trading of securities. Some examples of securities fraud include:
- Ponzi schemes
- Pyramid schemes
- Prime bank investment fraud
- Market manipulation
- Stockbroker embezzlement
- Insider trading
- Late-day trading
- Unauthorized trading
- Accounting fraud
- Excessive trading
Potential Penalties for Securities Fraud
The penalties associated with a securities fraud conviction will vary depending on the manner in which the scheme or act was carried out as well as the amount of money involved and the type and number of investors affected. Federal securities laws as outlined in the Securities Act of 1933, Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Private Securities Litigation Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 may influence securities fraud charges and penalties. A defendant may face up to 20 years or more in prison as well as considerable fines and restitution, which may total in the millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to the FBI, the agency secured 394 convictions for securities and commodities fraud in fiscal year 2011. These convictions resulted in $8.8 billion in restitution orders, $113 million in fines and $751 million in asset forfeitures. One notable case involved the conviction of the owners of A&O Entities, which sold life insurance policies primarily to the elderly. One of the conspirators was sentenced to 60 years in prison and another was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Another notable conviction and sentence involved the owner and president of Agape World, Inc. and Agape Merchant Advance, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, was ordered to pay $179 million in restitution and faced an asset forfeiture of more than $409 million.
In addition to the SEC and FBI, an independent regulator called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has the authority to investigate and cite brokers, brokerage firms and financial advisors for alleged violations of FINRA rules and state and federal laws. FINRA may levy fines and can suspend or bar individual brokers or brokerage firms from the securities industry. Private investors may file arbitration claims with FINRA regarding an alleged act of securities fraud by their brokers or advisors.
The penalties for securities fraud may be extreme. Do not place your future in incompetent hands – contact an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer at our firm today and see how we can help you.