NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 20th September 2023, 02:11 am
South Dakota SEC Defense Lawyers
Hey there! If you’re looking for information on South Dakota securities lawyers, you’ve come to the right place. I’m here to provide a helpful overview of SEC defense attorneys in the Mount Rushmore State. As someone without a law degree, I’ll try to explain things in simple terms that anyone can understand.
First off, let’s cover some basics. The SEC stands for the Securities and Exchange Commission. This federal agency enforces laws and regulations related to buying and selling stocks, bonds and other investments. If the SEC suspects wrongdoing like insider trading or accounting fraud, they can bring civil or criminal charges against companies and individuals.
That’s where SEC defense lawyers come in. Their job is to represent clients who are being investigated or charged by the SEC. An experienced securities attorney can help you understand the allegations, build a strong defense, and negotiate a favorable settlement if needed.
Finding the Right SEC Lawyer in South Dakota
There aren’t a ton of lawyers who specialize in SEC cases in South Dakota. The state is mostly rural, and major securities litigation tends to happen in big cities like New York. But there are still good options to consider if you need an SEC defense attorney in South Dakota.
Look for lawyers with experience in federal courts and financial cases. Many will be based in Sioux Falls, the largest city in the state. Attorneys who handle white collar criminal defense or commercial litigation are also worth checking out. And some South Dakota firms partner with larger securities law practices that can provide extra expertise.
When researching lawyers, look for these important qualifications:
- 10+ years handling complex civil and criminal cases
- Experience defending SEC investigations and enforcement actions
- Knowledge of securities laws and financial regulations
- Part of respected attorney organizations like the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
Also make sure to understand the lawyer’s fee structure. SEC cases can drag on for years and cost hundreds of thousands in legal fees. Some attorneys charge hourly while others work on a flat fee or hybrid model.
The SEC Investigation and Enforcement Process
If you’re being investigated by the SEC, it helps to understand how the process typically unfolds. Here’s a quick rundown of the key phases:
- Informal inquiry – The SEC starts reviewing trading records, financial statements and other documents. They haven’t accused you of wrongdoing yet.
- Formal investigation – Now the SEC is gathering testimony and additional evidence. Subpoenas may be issued at this stage.
- Wells notice – This is a letter indicating the SEC plans to bring an enforcement action against you. At this point, your lawyer can make a Wells submission arguing why charges aren’t warranted.
- Settlement or litigation – The SEC may offer to settle the case or decide to file a lawsuit. Most cases end in settlement agreements.
Having an experienced SEC attorney on your side from the beginning can make a huge difference. They’ll interface with SEC investigators on your behalf and start building a defense strategy right away.
Common SEC Violations
What kinds of activities tend to get individuals and companies in hot water with the SEC? Here are some of the most common allegations:
- Accounting fraud – Falsifying financial statements and misrepresenting a company’s earnings or assets. Cases like Enron involve elaborate accounting schemes.
- Insider trading – Buying or selling securities based on material non-public information, in breach of a duty.
- Ponzi schemes – Using money from new investors to pay earlier investors – basically a fraudulent pyramid scheme.
- Misleading investors – Making false or misleading statements about a security to investors. This could involve exaggerating financial performance.
- Registration violations – Failure to properly register securities or submit required filings. Lawyers can help with the complex SEC registration process.
There are many other potential infractions like market manipulation through bogus trades, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, municipal bond fraud and more. An experienced SEC enforcement defense lawyer can advise if the SEC’s accusations have legal merit.
The Wells Submission – Your Chance to Argue Against Charges
Earlier I mentioned the Wells notice you’ll receive if the SEC plans to bring an enforcement action. This gives your lawyer an opportunity to make a formal Wells submission explaining why the charges are unwarranted.
The Wells submission gives your side of the story and pokes holes in the SEC’s case against you. It typically includes:
- Factual background rebutting the SEC’s allegations
- Legal arguments against the SEC’s theories
- Affidavits and evidence contradicting the SEC’s findings
- Mitigating factors the SEC should consider
Experienced securities attorneys have successfully avoided charges by making compelling Wells submissions. This optional written report should not be overlooked.
Negotiating an SEC Settlement
Once the SEC decides to file a lawsuit, most cases end in a settlement rather than going to trial. Settlements resolve the matter more quickly and avoid further legal risks and expenses.
In settlement talks, the SEC and your lawyer will negotiate the specific terms including:
- Monetary penalties like fines, disgorgement of profits and interest
- Bars from certain activities like being an officer or director of a public company
- SEC oversight and reporting requirements
- Admissions or denials of the SEC’s allegations
Your lawyer’s experience with SEC settlements will be invaluable in these
negotiations. An experienced SEC lawyer can advise on:
- The likelihood of charges based on case specifics
- Previous SEC settlement amounts and terms for similar violations
- Arguments to reduce penalties and restrictions
- Whether admissions of wrongdoing can be avoided
- Negotiation strategies and tactics
Settlements allow closure faster than litigation and remove uncertainty. But the costs and constraints can still be substantial. So your lawyer will work to get the best deal possible while bringing the matter to an end. If settlement talks fail, they will vigorously defend the case in court.
Avoiding SEC Violations and Investigations
The best way to deal with the SEC is to avoid trouble in the first place. Here are some tips for staying out of hot water:
- Have robust compliance programs covering areas like insider trading and accounting controls.
- Document processes for ensuring SEC filings and communications are accurate.
- Conduct ethics training and monitor for red flags like lavish gifts from suppliers.
- Implement confidential whistleblower programs so issues get reported early.
- Consult securities counsel before major transactions, offerings or media announcements.
If something improper does occur, consider self-reporting to the SEC right away. Cooperation and quick remediation can minimize consequences down the road.
Finding the Right SEC Defense Lawyer for You
Facing an SEC investigation is stressful, but the right lawyer can guide you through the process. Look for an attorney with specific experience defending SEC cases similar to yours. Interview a few qualified candidates to find someone you trust and can work with effectively.
The lawyer should clearly explain the SEC process, possible outcomes, defense strategy and fee structure. Never hesitate to ask questions every step of the way. SEC cases can get highly complex, but your lawyer should make things as simple as possible.
With an experienced SEC defense attorney in your corner, you can counter the SEC’s allegations and work toward the most favorable resolution. If you need a trusted legal advisor for an SEC matter in South Dakota or elsewhere, reach out to a qualified securities law firm today.