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Regulation Securities Litigation White Collar Crime

Congress Leaves SEC Subject to Litigation Over Disgorgement

Buried in the massive National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 is §6501, a provision authorizing the SEC to seek disgorgement of unjust enrichment within 10 years for certain securities law violations, and five years for others.

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On Jan. 1, 2021, the U.S. Congress rang in the new year by passing the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. Buried in the massive spending bill is §6501, a provision authorizing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seek disgorgement of unjust enrichment within 10 years for certain securities law violations, and five years for others. Congress passed this legislation in apparent response to a pair of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that limited disgorgement in SEC enforcement actions to a five-year statute of limitations and required that the remedy not exceed a wrongdoer’s net profits and be awarded for the benefit of victims. See, Kokesh v. Sec. & Exch. Comm’n, 137 S. Ct. 1635 (2017); Liu v. Sec. & Exch. Comm’n, 140 S. Ct. 1936, 1940 (2020).

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