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The Federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), along with state securities agencies, is responsible for enforcing securities laws, including those concerning insider trading and securities fraud. These so-called “white-collar” crimes are of primary concern to the federal government, since they have the potential to increase capital costs for securities issuers and impact overall economic growth. An experienced insider trading lawyer can work to protect your rights if you’ve been accused of insider trading or securities fraud in the DuPage County area.
Securities fraud involves schemes to defraud investors of their money by encouraging or influencing them to buy or sell securities based on false information. Securities fraud may encompass a wide range of activities, including falsifying financial reports, establishing dummy corporations and spreading misinformation via emails, online forums and chat rooms for the sole purpose of defrauding potential investors. Insider trading is a specific criminal act that falls under the umbrella of securities fraud.
Insider trading refers to the trading of securities, including stocks, bonds and stock options, by an individual or group of individuals with access to private information about the security or the company that issued it. Generally, individuals who participate in insider trading do so in order to benefit financially from the information they have access to.
Depending on the circumstances, you may have participated in insider trading without your knowledge. For example, you can be charged with insider trading if you sell off stock after receiving a tip from a friend that is based on inside information, regardless of whether you were actually aware of this information. The SEC takes securities fraud investigations very seriously and often monitors the co-workers, family members and friends of those suspected of insider trading.
The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for prosecuting individuals suspected of insider trading. A conviction for securities fraud may carry both civil and criminal penalties, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Under Section 32(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, anyone convicted of criminal securities fraud may face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million for each violation. In cases where the defendant can prove that the violation was committed unknowingly, only civil fines apply.
In some cases, defendants accused of insider trading may also be charged with mail and wire fraud, which can carry an additional sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A conviction for securities fraud may be punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
In April 2012, the U.S. Sentencing Commission recommended changes to federal sentencing guidelines which would enforce stiffer sentences for individuals convicted of certain types of insider trading or financial fraud. Specifically, the amended guidelines are designed to impose stiffer penalties on Wall Street professionals who engage in insider trading schemes and on individuals whose actions constitute a threat to national financial markets.
Contact Michael Schmiege's nationally recognized boutique law firm for a consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who will fight charges aggressively for you. We dedicate the time and resources necessary to give our clients the best possible opportunity for a favorable outcome. Aggressive, skilled legal counsel is always your best chance for a favorable outcome when your future is in jeopardy. Call a qualified defense attorney at our firm immediately to ensure you have strong legal representation in your case.
We serve DuPage County, including the cities of Wheaton, Naperville, Aurora, Westmont, Oak Brook, and Lombard. Give your future the best chance with our highly skilled defense strategies and understanding of prosecutor tactics.
Michael Schmiege has experience with insider trading cases and our award-winning criminal defense attorneys deliver unparalleled results. Read more about our recent verdicts and case victories in DuPage County.