The SEC announced the filing of civil fraud charges against eleven individuals and eight companies in nine cases. At the same time the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced the filing of criminal charges against fifteen individuals in twelve cases. The actions are part of the The Southern District of Florida Securities and Investment Fraud Initiative.

The initiative was established in December 2010 to focus on securities and investment fraud. Its focus it to try and halt fraudulent schemes at an earlier point to better protect investors. The initiative is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s office, the FBI, the SEC and the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation. It based on the strike force model used in the health care and mortgage fraud areas. Since its inception it has brought charges against 85 defendants in the Southern District of Florida and obtained restitution orders totaling $1.5 billion. The Southern District of Florida now ranks second in the U.S. in securities and investment fraud investigations.

The criminal cases include one involving fraudulent federal reserve notes; two centered on illegal kickback schemes; five based on market manipulation schemes; and three involving Ponzi schemes. The cases are listed here.

The actions brought by the SEC center on a market manipulation and kickback scheme. The market manipulation complaints are based on a scheme in which a broker was paid a bribe to purchase the shares of certain microcap stocks in the open market for his customers’ discretionary accounts. Other complaints detail a scheme involving the payment of undisclosed kickbacks to a pension fund manager in exchange for the fund’s purchase of restricted stock in microcap stocks. The complaints allege violations of Securities Act Section 17(a) and Exchange Act Section 10(b). The cases are listed here.

Program: Webcast by Thomas O. Gorman: How Corporate Officials Can Get A Good Night’s Sleep Despite Current SEC Enforcement Trends, presented by Celesq and West Legal Ed, June 14, 2012 from 12 -1:00 p.m. EST. For further information please click here.

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