Do Victims of Financial Fraud Need to Work with a Securities Attorney?
If you’ve suffered significant investment losses as the result of securities fraud you should consult with an SEC attorney about your case. A skilled securities lawyer will be able to review the specific details of your case in order to determine precisely what action needs to be taken to protect your legal rights and financial interests.
At Sonn Law Group, our lawyers have decades of experience handling complex securities fraud cases and broker misconduct claims. We understand how much our clients have at stake when they bring an investment fraud claim.
Our legal team is prepared to fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure that you are able to maximize your financial recovery.
Learn Your Rights
If you’ve suffered significant losses in your investment accounts, talk to a lawyer who will explain your rights and options, free of charge.
What is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)?
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent agency that was created by Congress in the years immediately following the Great Depression.
The SEC is the primary federal regulator of American securities markets. It has several different core responsibilities, including:
- Ensuring basic market fairness;
- Maintaining the functioning of securities markets;
- Promoting capital formation; and
- Protecting the rights of investors.
When it comes to federal securities law, the SEC has been granted enforcement authority. Specifically, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement is responsible for recommending investigations into and prosecutions of possible securities law violations. To be clear, the SEC only has civil legal authority.
The SEC is in charge of bringing certain civil securities fraud actions. The criminal aspect of these types of cases will be referred to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). That being said, the SEC may help the DOJ prepare its criminal securities fraud case.
Related: How to File a Complaint with the SEC
What are the Most Important Securities Laws and SEC Regulations?
The SEC does not write securities laws, instead it is tasked with carrying out the will of lawmakers. The United States Congress has passed a range of critically important securities laws that keep markets fair and protect investors. Some of the most notable examples include:
- The Securities Act of 1933: The first major federal securities law, this act requires companies to make key financial disclosures and gives the authorities much needed enforcement tools to combat securities fraud.
- The Securities Exchange Act of 1934: The act the created the SEC, this act empowered the agency with the authority to enforce federal securities regulations.
- Investment Advisers Act of 1940: This federal law regulates brokers and brokerage firms. It provides critically important protections for investors.
In order to effectively carry out its role as the nation’s federal securities regulator, the SEC has been granted considerable rulemaking power. SEC rules carry the force of law, and they are some of the most important protections that investors have under the law.
As an example, SEC Rule 10b-5 was enacted by the agency in order to enforce elements of the Securities Exchange Act. This rule makes it unlawful to mislead and defraud investors.
More specifically, under Rule 10b-5, it is unlawful for a person or entity that is offering securities to make an untrue statement of material fact or misrepresent the product by omitting a material fact. Rule 10b-5 is one of many examples of the regulations that have been promulgated by the SEC in order to protect investors and put a stop to securities fraud.
What Does an SEC Lawyer Do?
An SEC lawyer is a legal professional who is qualified to handle a securities fraud claim. Securities law cases are deeply complex. As an investor, your options for recovering compensation will vary considerably depending on the underlying circumstances of your case.
For example, if you have a legal claim against your broker or brokerage firm, securities litigation may not be an option for you. This is because most brokerage firms require investors to sign mandatory arbitration provisions. You may need to work with an SEC lawyer who has extensive experience handling FINRA arbitration claims.
On the other hand, for other types of claims, your SEC lawyer may need to file a lawsuit to get you the compensation you deserve. It is important for investors to remember that securities litigation is a complicated and highly specialized area of law. While the SEC may conduct its own investigation or enforcement action into your fraud case, as an investor, it is imperative that you are represented by your own attorney who can protect your financial rights.
Should I Hire an SEC Lawyer?
If you are an investor who lost money due to securities fraud, or any type of a securities law violation, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an SEC attorney. Your securities lawyer will be able to review the underlying facts of your legal case.
With a full view of the information, your lawyer will be able to assess whether or not you have a viable securities claim. Do you want to know if you can benefit from the services of an SEC lawyer? You should review this list of five of the most common signs of investment fraud:
- The investor sustained losses that were far beyond what they were told was possible;
- The investor was pressured into putting money in a financial product that they did not fully understand;
- The investor lost money even though they were told that they were buying into a ‘guaranteed winner’ or a product that ‘cannot miss’;
- The investor was provided with false or incomplete information; and
- The investor discovered an unexplained or unreported transaction on their account or under their name.
If any of those common signs of securities fraud are present in your case, or if you have any other reason to believe that you were a victim of investment fraud, you should consult with an SEC lawyer immediately. You will only have limited time to take action to recover money for your losses.
What Questions Should Investors Ask Their SEC Attorney?
Before you hire an SEC attorney, you need to be sure that they are the best legal professional to handle your claim. Securities fraud and broker misconduct cases are deeply complex. You should work with a legal advocate who truly has the skills and experience to provide you with top-quality legal representation that you deserve.
Some questions that will be useful in assessing whether or not an SEC lawyer is the right person for your case include:
- Is your practice focused primarily on securities law? Securities arbitration and securities litigation are highly specialized fields. You want to avoid lawyers who only ‘dabble’ in SEC cases. You need a legal representative whose professional career is dedicated to protecting investors.
- Do you have experience handling similar cases? Certainly, you will want to hire an SEC attorney who has extensive experience with securities law. In addition, you should look for a lawyer who has handled legal cases that are similar to your own. For example, if you believe that you were the victim of a Ponzi scheme, you should look for a lawyer who has handled other Ponzi scheme claims.
- Will you be straightforward with me about the viability of my case? Unfortunately, not every investment loss can be recovered. Investors should avoid working with SEC lawyers who will always give them honest and straightforward information and advice about their case. The last thing you need is another false promise.
- Do you have a proven track record of success? Wronged investors need results. If you lost money due to securities fraud, you deserve full and fair compensation without delay. An SEC lawyer with a proven track record of success and a long history of achieving fair recoveries for clients is the right choice to handle your claim.
Types of Securities Cases SEC Lawyers Handle
Investment fraud and stockbroker misconduct come in a wide variety of different forms. In some cases, fraud is committed by a large company, perhaps a firm that overstated its earnings on fraudulent financial statements.
In other cases, company executives use their privileged position to engage in insider trading, gaining a personal financial advantage at the expense of investors.
Still, other investment fraud cases involve brokerage firms misrepresenting investment opportunities to their clients, or unscrupulous individuals soliciting investment for a wholly fraudulent company.
Specific examples of securities fraud and financial advisor misconduct that investors should watch out for include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty;
- Undisclosed conflicts of interests;
- Insider trading;
- Unlawful manipulation of market prices;
- Misrepresentation of material facts;
- Omission of material information;
- Ponzi schemes;
- Unsuitable investment recommendations;
- Failure to supervise;
- Excessive trading (churning);
- Overconcentration of investments; and
- Unauthorized trading.
Contact Our SEC Attorneys Today
At Sonn Law Group, our top-rated securities litigation attorneys have helped many investors recover full and fair compensation for their losses. If you sustained substantial investment losses as a result of fraud, our law firm can help.
To arrange a free, no obligation review of your case, please contact our office today. Our SEC lawyers take on claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that we only get paid if we get you compensation for your losses.