Stuart Securities Litigation Attorney
When trading or investing in securities like stocks, bonds and notes, brokers have a responsibility to deal with investors in good faith. Brokers should not act in a way that violates an investor’s interests or advances their own monetary interests at the expense of the investor.
If you have been the victim of securities fraud after making an investment, you should strongly consider reaching out to an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options. The Stuart securities litigation attorneys at Gordon & Partners have the knowledge and skills necessary to understand when a broker’s actions were the result of unlawful or unethical conduct. We work hard to protect our clients' rights and look out for their best interests every step of the way. Your consultation with us is 100 percent free and at no risk or obligation to you. We only get paid for our services if you recover adequate compensation.
Understanding Securities Fraud
Securities fraud is a serious crime that generally involves misrepresenting information investors use to make decisions to buy or trade securities. This includes providing false data, withholding key details, offering bad advice, or acting on inside information. Perpetrators who commit securities fraud can include individuals such as a stockbroker, analyst and financial advisor or a business, such as a brokerage firm, corporation or investment bank.
Securities fraud is prohibited on a federal and state level by laws like the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act.
The Securities Act of 1933 was established to govern securities transactions as the result of the stock market crash in 1929. The act’s two main objectives are to ensure greater financial transparency, so investors can make informed decisions about investments and to create laws against deceit, misrepresentation and other fraudulent activities in the securities market.
Securities sold in the U.S. must be registered and disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration forms must include the following:
- Description of the security being offered for sale
- Information about the management of the company selling the security
- Financial statements that have been certified by independent accountants
Registration statements are then made public after filing with the SEC. However, not all securities must be registered with the SEC. Some exceptions to the registration process include:
- Private offerings that are limited to a certain number of individuals or businesses
- Offerings being sold only to individuals within the state
- Offerings of a limited size
- Securities of municipal, federal and state governments
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 created the SEC and gave it the power to oversee all aspects of the securities industry. This includes registering, regulating and overseeing brokerage firms, transfer agents, dealers and investment advisors, and monitoring the financial reports that publicly traded companies are required to disclose.
Any company listed on the stock exchange must follow the requirements outlined in the act. These requirements include filing detailed annual and quarterly reports to the SEC. The act also prohibits fraud and misrepresentation related to securities transactions. For example, it is illegal for a broker to manipulate stock prices by spreading false or misleading information about a company to an investor.
Florida Statutes Chapter 517, also known as the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, helps to protect investors against fraud or manipulation from brokers, advisors and businesses acting deceitful. Perpetrators who violate this act are guilty of a felony and may be face fines and imprisonment, or both.
The statute states that it is unlawful for anyone in connection with offering investment advice or linked to the sale, offer or purchase of any investment or security to do any of the following acts, whether directly or indirectly:
- Employing a device, scheme, or artifice for the purpose of defrauding
- Obtaining money or property through false statements or omitting information
- Engaging in a transaction, practice or course of business that operates or would operate as fraud or deceit to an investor
It is also illegal to knowingly conceal information, make fraudulent statements, or use any writing or documentation that is false, fictitious or fraudulent.
If you believe you have been the misled as an investor and are a victim of securities fraud, contact a Stuart security litigation attorney as soon as possible. We are well-versed in state and federal law on securities fraud and know how these laws may apply to the specifics of your case.
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Types of Securities Fraud We Handle
Our securities litigation lawyers in Stuart take cases involving various types of securities fraud. Some of the most common forms of securities fraud may include, but are not limited to:
- Insider trading – Insider trading occurs when an individual or business uses knowledge that is not public information for personal gain or to benefit from a transaction. This could include exchanging securities after confidential knowledge about a company’s financial state.
- Market manipulation – This happens when an individual or business manipulates the appearance of a security, such as the price or availability of a bond or stock. A broker may use market manipulation to persuade an investor to make choices based on false information about a company. The purpose is to encourage investors to buy the stock and drive up the price. Once the price is high enough, the broker will cash out his or her shares for a profit.
- Churning – Churning occurs when a broker is excessively buying and trading investments on behalf of an investor in order to boost his or her own commissions. This act is not only unethical, it can also lower the balance in the investor's account.
- Breach of fiduciary duty – Brokers, financial advisors and corporations have a fiduciary duty toward their investors. In other words, they cannot seek personal gain or profit ahead of their investor’s best interests. When that trust is violated, it is considered a breach of fiduciary duty.
- Unsuitability – Brokers have an obligation to obtain enough information about an investor and his or her finances, such as income and assets, in order to discuss suitable investments. It is up to the broker to investigate an investor’s personal needs to ensure that a particular investment is appropriate to their specific goals, financial situation and risk tolerance.
Each of these securities violations can cause an investor to lose money due to unauthorized trading, misrepresentation, omissions and outright fraud. A Stuart securities litigation lawyer can help you file a lawsuit if an individual or business unethically mismanaged your funds. We will do everything we can to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions and help you recover your losses.
Contact Gordon & Partners today by calling 1 (855) 722-2552.
Preventing and Reporting Securities Fraud
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recommends that you take certain preventative measures to help decrease your chances of becoming a victim of securities fraud. For example, you should watch for warning signs that could indicate fraud. These include:
- Offers that sound too good to be true
- High-pressure sales tactics to invest right away
- Investment offers that are unsolicited
- Asking for personal information online or over the phone
As an investor, it is important to not believe everything you are being told by a broker or brokerage firm. Do your own research on any investment you are considering. You can also check with federal and state regulators to find out whether any complaints have been filed against an individual or business.
To report securities fraud, you must file a complaint with the SEC, state securities regulator or a law enforcement agency. The SEC Center for Complaints and Enforcement Tips allows you to file your complaint electronically using one of many forms available online.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form so a Stuart securities litigation attorney can review your claim.
Why You Need a Securities Litigation Lawyer
Securities fraud can be particularly complex if you do not understand securities regulations. At Gordon & Partners, we have in-depth knowledge of federal and state laws and how to prove they were violated.
We are committed to pursuing your best interests and will fight to obtain the maximum compensation you need to recover your losses. Schedule a free consultation to review your case and discuss the legal options available to you. Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to worry about any upfront costs unless you are awarded compensation in your case.