18 Sep 23

Oregon SEC Defense Lawyers

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Last Updated on: 20th September 2023, 02:14 am

Oregon SEC Defense Lawyers

If your business or clients are under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), you need experienced legal representation. SEC investigations can be complex and stressful. An experienced Oregon SEC defense lawyer can help guide you through the process and protect your rights.

This article provides an overview of SEC investigations in Oregon, common charges, and how an experienced SEC defense attorney can assist. We’ll also highlight key considerations in choosing the right lawyer for your case.

What is the SEC?

The SEC is a federal agency that enforces laws related to the securities industry. Their mission is to protect investors, maintain fair and orderly markets, and facilitate capital formation [1]. Some key responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing key participants in the securities world like stock exchanges, broker-dealers, investment advisors, and mutual funds
  • Promoting disclosure of important information to the investing public
  • Bringing civil enforcement actions against individuals or companies for securities law violations

Common SEC violations investigated in Oregon include insider trading, accounting fraud, and Ponzi schemes. But even technical violations can trigger an SEC investigation that turns into a lengthy and expensive process.

SEC Investigations in Oregon

The SEC has broad authority to investigate possible securities law violations. Investigations can start in many ways – routine examinations, investor tips, media reports, referrals from other agencies, etc. You may receive a subpoena for documents or testimony without any warning.

In Oregon and across the country, SEC investigations follow a typical pattern:

  1. Informal inquiry – The SEC sends a request for voluntary cooperation looking for information.
  2. Formal investigation – The SEC issues a formal order of investigation allowing staff to subpoena documents and take testimony.
  3. Wells notice – This indicates the SEC staff intends to recommend enforcement action. At this point, your lawyer can make a Wells submission to try and convince the SEC not to proceed.
  4. SEC enforcement action – The SEC can bring a civil complaint in federal court or institute an administrative proceeding.

An SEC investigation can go on for years before any formal action is taken. Your lawyer’s job is to present facts and legal arguments to try and convince the SEC not to pursue an enforcement action. But if one does proceed, your legal counsel plays a crucial role resolving the case through settlement or litigation.

Common SEC Violations

Some of the most common SEC investigations and enforcement actions in Oregon involve:

Insider Trading

This involves buying or selling securities based on material non-public information in breach of a duty. For example, a corporate executive trades their company’s stock based on inside knowledge of an upcoming merger. Or a friend makes trades based on a tip from the executive. Insider trading cases often involve circumstantial evidence requiring careful legal arguments in response. See, for example, the 2016 case SEC v. Hawk [2].

Accounting Fraud

This involves knowingly falsifying financial statements and records to mislead investors. Cases typically allege improper revenue recognition, overstating assets, and understating liabilities. Violations can lead to criminal charges. For example, the SEC charged the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche in 2002 for role in Adelphia’s massive accounting fraud [3].

Ponzi Schemes

This classic fraud involves paying returns to investors from their own money or money from subsequent investors rather than actual profits. Many recent Ponzi cases involve affinity fraud preying on church or ethnic communities. In 2016, an Oregon man got over 10 years in prison for a gold mining Ponzi scheme taking in nearly $4 million [4].

Benefits of an Oregon SEC Defense Attorney

An experienced SEC defense lawyer can provide invaluable assistance if your business or clients face SEC scrutiny. Key benefits include:

  • Guidance on Responding to Subpoenas – Your lawyer can ensure you meet obligations to preserve documents while also protecting sensitive information through privilege and confidentiality.
  • Coordination of Testimony – This ensures a consistent narrative across multiple witnesses during SEC interviews.
  • Avoiding Admissions – Testimony must be carefully prepared to avoid unintended admissions that could support charges.
  • Context for Document Review – Your lawyer helps put documents in proper context to avoid creating a misleading impression.
  • Advocacy with SEC Staff – Experienced counsel can present facts and legal arguments to convince the SEC not to pursue charges.
  • Settlement Negotiations – If charges do result, skilled negotiators can often secure a favorable settlement.
  • Litigation Capabilities – For cases that can’t settle, seasoned trial attorneys can vigorously defend charges in federal court or administrative proceedings.

Having an SEC defense lawyer with the right skills can thus make a major difference in the outcome of an investigation. Choosing the right counsel is key.

Choosing an Oregon SEC Defense Attorney

Here are key factors to consider when selecting legal representation for an SEC investigation:

    • SEC Defense Focus – Look for attorneys with extensive experience specifically handling SEC probes and enforcement actions.
    • Local Reputation and Expertise – Opt for counsel who routinely deal with the local SEC office and enforcement staff.
    • Subject Matter Expertise – Seek out lawyers with extensive experience dealing specifically with the types of allegations involved in your case, whether accounting fraud, insider trading, Ponzi schemes, etc.
    • Litigation Track Record – Look for attorneys with a proven history of success litigating SEC enforcement actions through trial and appeals if necessary.
    • Negotiation Skills – For cases that may be appropriate to settle, choose counsel who can negotiate firmly and favorably with SEC staff attorneys.
    • Commitment and Resources – The top SEC defense firms will have the staffing and staying power to zealously represent you through even the most complex, lengthy investigations.
    • Communication Skills – Opt for lawyers who will keep you informed in a timely manner at each stage of the investigation.
    • Cost Structure – Discuss billing and fee arrangements upfront so there are no surprises. Options like flat fees or blended rates for teams can provide cost controls.
    • Compatibility – Make sure you choose a lawyer and firm with the right fit in terms of personality, values, and working style.

Vetting and selecting the right SEC defense counsel takes time and diligence. But it’s one of the most important investments you can make if facing SEC scrutiny. An experienced SEC attorney has the skills and knowledge to navigate you through the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Key resources for finding top SEC defense lawyers in Oregon include:

      • Oregon State Bar Association lawyer referral services [1]
      • Recommendations from trusted business contacts [2]
      • Lawyer directories and legal rating services [3]
      • Online research on law firm and attorney SEC experience [4]
      • State bar association resources on finding and vetting counsel [5]
      • Consultations with prospective SEC defense firms [6]

Taking the time to thoroughly vet and find the right SEC defense lawyer can help ensure your legal rights are protected. Reach out to top-rated Oregon counsel as early as possible in an SEC investigation.