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Government Enforcement Exposed - "The GEE"
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14 Jan 2014 FINRA Examiners to Focus on Brokers with Histories of Discipline

By David L. Young |    With the beginning of the new year, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has laid out its “examination priorities” that give an overview of the issues that it will review in 2014. Two of those issues relate to tracking brokers who have either come from firms with disciplinary problems or have had disciplinary problems themselves.   FINRA, which issued the overview on Jan. 2, will review the process that firms use to research problem brokers before hiring and will seek to identify whether the firms are utilizing additional controls to supervise such brokers to avoid future misconduct.  And although a broker leaving a firm that may have been expelled from the securities industry may not be barred, FINRA has concerns…

The Supreme Court Building
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05 Jan 2014 Supreme Court Case Likely to Resolve Dispute on What Government Must Prove in Bank Fraud Prosecutions

By Mark D. Stuaan |   The U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear arguments later this year related to Loughrin vs. United States, which involves a bank fraud prosecution out of the Tenth Circuit. At issue is whether the government must prove that the defendant intended to defraud a bank and expose it to risk of loss in every prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1344. The question reflects a split in the federal courts of appeals. The Supreme Court granted Loughrin’s petition for certiorari in mid-December 2013.   The case was premised on the defendant allegedly stealing checks out of mailboxes, altering the checks, and then using the altered checks for purchases at a large retail store. Even though the defendant did not defraud a financial…

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02 Jan 2014 SEC Highlights 2013 Accomplishments and Outlines 2014 Enforcement Priorities

By Brian E. Casey |   The SEC recently published its annual agency financial report which, among other things, provides a peek into the Commission’s priorities for the coming year and outlines its enforcement accomplishments in 2013.   According to the SEC, in the past year, it took steps to “further enhance” its already “robust” enforcement program with the goal of “ensur[ing] that its enforcement and examinations programs continue to be as vigorous and aggressive as possible.” Among its actions, the agency: (1) “began to demand admissions of wrongdoing in certain cases where an added measure of accountability was considered necessary”; (2) it “broadened [its] coverage of market participants, pursuing actions against a range of individuals and entities, including gatekeepers, like accountants and fund directors;…