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Last Updated on: 21st September 2023, 07:25 pm
Mississippi SEC Defense Lawyers
Hey there! If you’re looking for information on SEC defense lawyers in Mississippi, you’ve come to the right place. As a Mississippi native myself, I know that dealing with the SEC can be scary and confusing. But don’t worry – this article will break it all down for you in simple terms so you can understand your rights and options when facing securities-related charges.
First off, what does the SEC even do? The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a federal agency that enforces laws related to buying and selling stocks and other investments. They investigate cases of things like insider trading, accounting fraud, and Ponzi schemes. If the SEC thinks you violated securities laws, they can bring civil or criminal charges against you.
Common SEC Violations
Some of the most common violations the SEC goes after in Mississippi include:
- Insider trading – Buying or selling stocks based on material, nonpublic information.
- Accounting fraud – Falsifying financial statements and records.
- Ponzi/pyramid schemes – Investment scams promising unrealistic returns.
- Misrepresenting information to investors.
- Not registering securities or broker-dealers properly.
The penalties for these SEC violations can be severe – we’re talking massive fines and even jail time. So if the SEC comes knocking, you’ll definitely want to lawyer up. Which brings us to…
Finding the Right SEC Defense Attorney
When looking for an SEC defense lawyer in Mississippi, there are a few key things to look for:
- Experience with SEC cases – You want someone who regularly deals with these complex cases.
- Successful track record – Check their win/loss rate and case results.
- Local knowledge – An attorney familiar with Mississippi courts and judges is ideal.
- Personality fit – Make sure you feel comfortable with their style and approach.
- Resources – A lawyer with a team of financial experts and investigators behind them.
I’d recommend looking at larger law firms with dedicated SEC defense practices. Some of the top SEC defense attorneys in Mississippi include:
- Watkins & Eager PLLC – With offices in Jackson, this respected firm has a strong SEC defense practice.
- Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC – A large regional firm with experienced SEC litigators.
- Balch & Bingham LLP – SEC defense is one of this firm’s specialties, with lawyers in Jackson and Gulfport.
When researching lawyers, don’t be shy about asking questions up front about their experience, strategy, fees, and track record. This is a big decision, so take your time and find someone you really trust.
The SEC Investigation Process
If the SEC opens an investigation against you, here’s generally what you can expect:
- Informal inquiry – The SEC sends a voluntary request for information.
- Formal investigation – The SEC issues subpoenas to obtain testimony and records.
- Wells notice – The SEC indicates charges are likely coming.
- Settlement negotiations – Your lawyer tries to settle before charges are filed.
- SEC enforcement action – Civil charges, criminal referral, or closure if no action.
Having an experienced SEC defense attorney during this process is critical. They can interact with SEC investigators on your behalf, argue to avoid charges, and negotiate a favorable settlement if needed. The earlier you engage a lawyer, the better.
Many SEC cases end in a settlement agreement. While not an admission of guilt, settlements allow you to resolve the matter without a trial. Common settlement terms include:
- Injunctions – Agreeing not to violate securities laws again.
- Disgorgement – Repaying any ill-gotten gains from the alleged misconduct.
- Civil penalties – Fines based on the severity of the case.
- Bars – Agreeing not to work in certain industries again.
An experienced SEC defense lawyer can negotiate with the SEC to minimize penalties and allow you to move on. Settlements avoid the expense and uncertainty of trial. But sometimes fighting the charges in court is the better option, if your lawyer thinks the SEC’s case is weak.
Fighting SEC Charges
The SEC has the burden to prove your guilt in court. Your lawyer may argue:
- You did not actually violate securities laws.
- The SEC lacks sufficient evidence against you.
- You had no intent to defraud or mislead investors.
- The SEC’s charges exaggerate your conduct.
To win at trial, the SEC must convince the judge or jury that you violated securities laws “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Your lawyer will seek to undermine the SEC’s case through motions, witness cross-examination, and presenting exonerating evidence. An acquittal ends the matter in your favor.
- Securities fraud
- Investment adviser fraud
- False statements
- Obstruction of justice
The stakes are much higher with criminal charges compared to civil SEC enforcement actions. A criminal conviction can result in substantial prison time, asset forfeiture, and steep fines. Your liberty is on the line. Some key things to know about potential criminal liability in an SEC case:
- Your lawyer’s role becomes even more crucial in fighting criminal charges and negotiating with prosecutors. Their experience with criminal securities cases is key.
- The SEC and DOJ typically pursue criminal charges in cases of egregious, intentional misconduct – not good faith mistakes.
- Common criminal defenses argue you lacked criminal intent or the government’s evidence is insufficient.
- Your lawyer will analyze whether pleading the Fifth is wise during the SEC investigation to avoid self-incrimination.
- Cooperating with prosecutors by providing substantial assistance can potentially lead to lesser charges or immunity.
- Sentencing considerations if convicted include federal guidelines, your personal history, and judges’ discretion.
The bottom line is you need an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side fighting for your freedom and future if the SEC case turns criminal. Don’t wait to engage counsel if you think criminal charges could be coming. A skilled lawyer’s early advocacy can sometimes prevent criminal prosecution altogether or achieve a favorable plea deal if charges are inevitable. With the right legal guidance, even the most daunting SEC criminal cases can have positive resolutions.