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Although the business community lauded the arrival of new crowdfunding laws, the enforcement community has had a different take on them. As stated in 2017 by then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “The potential downside of crowdfunding is that it occurs outside the watchful eye of a regulated banking and financial industry. Unregulated websites therefore provide a platform for criminals to defraud potential investors.”
In 2012, President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act), the stated purpose of which was to provide easier and simpler routes for small businesses to access capital markets without all the regulatory burdens imposed by the SEC on larger companies. In 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the FAST Act), to further ease small business’s access to capital formation. Another proposed refinement of the JOBS Act, JOBS Act 3.0, has been stalled in Congress but under the current regime, there are still plenty of potential regulatory and enforcement landmines of which both issuers and intermediaries, such as funding portals and platform hosts, need to be aware.
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By Robert J. Anello and Richard F. Albert
When federal prosecutors focus their attention on high profile misconduct that is not an obvious violation of federal criminal law, they often cannot resist the attractions of broadly worded “catch-all” fraud statutes. From time to time, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has pushed back on efforts to further expand the boundaries of these statutes, leading to reversals of some well-publicized criminal convictions.
By Margaret A. Dale and Mark D. Harris
Given the current turmoil in the markets, an increasing number of plaintiffs are bringing shareholder class action suits, citing corporate statements about COVID-19. As first-quarter earnings season draws to a close, now is a good time to reflect on the shareholder class actions that have been brought to date related to COVID-19, and others potentially yet to come.
By Terence M. Grugan, David L. Axelrod and Emilia McKee Vassallo
For more than 10 years, federal investigators have investigated criminal conduct in connection with the 2008 recession-era TARP program. From those investigations, U.S. Attorneys across the country brought cases and earned convictions for offenses spanning the federal criminal code. We can expect that these same agencies will use the same techniques and strategies to investigate crimes and bring cases involving fraud related to the COVID-19 stimulus packages.
By Russell Koonin and Adam Schwartz
In the midst the current COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC is paying attention. The Division of Enforcement has made clear that it will act, and act quickly, to stop fraudulent conduct that falls under its jurisdiction related to the pandemic.