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What Are Your Intentions?

In most white-collar cases, the main driver at sentencing is the dollar amount of the victim’s loss, and in federal cases, the rule is that you’re responsible for either the actual loss or your intended loss, whichever is greater. We touched on the difference between actual and intended loss in this post from last spring. But recently, an Read More

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CFTC Launches New Website for Whistleblowers

Another thing about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Last month, the agency unveiled the new website for its whistleblower program at It looks pretty good, and it’s easy to navigate. It tells you what you need to know about the program, including how to submit a tip and how to apply for an award. The CFTC’s whistleblower program was created Read More

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The CFTC’s First Ever Case of Insider Trading

Two months ago, for the first time, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission flexed its new anti-fraud powers under the Dodd-Frank Act to punish insider trading in the futures markets. How so? The agency filed and settled an enforcement action against an employee whose job was to trade energy futures for a large corporation. Allegedly, the employee used access to confidential information about Read More

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The SEC Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program

Speaking of whistleblowers, the Securities and Exchange Commission just published its annual report to Congress on its own program that it launched in 2011. And overall, it seems to be on the upswing. The SEC’s program authorizes monetary awards for volunteering original information that results in a successful enforcement action, including sanctions that exceed $1 million. It Read More

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The SEC’s Home-Court Advantage

As noted in a series of reports over the last year or so, the Securities and Exchange Commission has steadily been sending more of its cases, including contested cases, to be heard before its own, administrative judges rather than litigating them in federal court. The trend follows passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which amplified the Read More

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Yippee for Tippees

Earlier this month, in a pivotal decision on how far the government can go to prosecute insider trading, an influential federal court of appeals clarified that the recipient of a juicy corporate tip is not guilty of insider trading for acting on the tip unless he or she knew that it came from an insider who revealed it in return for a personal benefit. The appeal was based Read More

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SEC Announces Its 2013 Enforcement Results in the Financial Markets

Here is a link to the Securities & Exchange Commission’s press release reporting its enforcement numbers for fiscal year 2013, which ran from October through September. Over that period last year, the agency filed 686 public lawsuits in the name of our capital markets, and it obtained a record $3.4 billion in monetary sanctions, like disgorgement of profits, including $3 billion from 169 people Read More

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Don’t Mess With Texas, (Mark) Cubans, or the SEC When It Comes to Insider Trading

As you may have heard, Texan billionaire Mark Cuban was acquitted a couple weeks ago in an insider-trading trial that accused him of selling his stake in a Canadian search-engine company after learning from its CEO that it was planning a stock sale that would dilute his stake. Cuban’s conversation with the CEO took place in 2004, just months after he Read More

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JPMorgan Agrees to Pay $100 Million to Settle CFTC Charges Over Market Manipulation

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has settled its case against JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, over the latter’s alleged attempt to manipulate a financial-derivatives market amid massive trading losses at one its units. The background is that, from 2007 to 2011, the bank amassed a net $51 billion portfolio of credit-default swaps, a type of derivative that is like an insurance contract used to hedge against, or just Read More

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SEC Pays Out Its Largest Whistleblower Award So Far, By Far

Do you remember that Dodd-Frank financial-reform law we passed a couple years ago? Well, among many other things, it authorized the Securities & Exchange Commission to pay out whistleblower awards of 10-30% of the money it recovers in an enforcement action, if the whistleblower supplies high-quality, original information that results in monetary sanctions over $1 million. Read More

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