The government cannot take action against abuses of the various aid programs associated with the CARES Act without first identifying abuses. In a recent round of inquiries, FINRA sent requests to numerous individuals it has identified as having obtained aid under the CARES Act (e.g., the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)). FINRA has acknowledged the existence of these requests and has stated the focus of the inquiries is the representatives and not FINRA member firms. Continue Reading When PPP met OBA – An Investigation was Born

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s disgorgement powers have made legal headlines a couple of times over the last few years – most notably, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Kokesh v. SEC, 137 S. Ct. 1635 (2017) and Liu v. SEC, 140 S. Ct. 1936 (2020).  Disgorgement surfaced again with the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, Section 6501 of which doubled the statute of limitations for some disgorgement actions from five years to 10.  Continue Reading Four Things You Need to Know About the Extended Limitations Period for SEC Disgorgement

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) recently adopted amendments to the definition of “accredited investor,” which will permit a wider range of investors to participate in certain private offerings.  The amended definition includes several new categories of natural persons and entities who qualify as accredited investors for purposes of Rule 501(a) of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”).  The amendments also expand the definition of “qualified institutional buyer” under Rule 144A under the Securities Act. Continue Reading SEC Adopts Amendments to “Accredited Investor” Definition

A very effective panel discussion on “Leadership Matters:  Meaningful, Measured Impact in Diversity and Inclusion” took place September 23, 2020 during the SIFMA C&L Virtual Forum. Elaine Mandelbaum, General Counsel of Interactive Brokers and the current SIFMA C&L Society president moderated with panelists Christopher Lewis, General Counsel, Edward Jones; Robert Marchman, Senior Policy Advisor on Diversity and Inclusion, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and Grace Speights, chair of  Morgan Lewis’ Labor and Employment practice. Too many highlights to cover fairly, but these points that resonated with me.

Continue Reading Achieving Diversity and Inclusion within the Securities and Financial Management Industry and its Legal Partners

On September 3, 2020, the Securities & Exchange Commission charged Daniel Kamensky with abusing his fiduciary position as co-chair of the Neiman Marcus Group Unsecured Creditors’ Committee by pressuring a rival bidder to abandon its bid for securities so that Kamensky’s hedge fund could purchase them at a lower price.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also brought charges against Kamensky for securities fraud, wire fraud, extortion, and obstruction of justice.  The allegations—if proven—are a fascinating story in and of themselves.[1]  But they also serve as an excellent illustration of the pitfalls awaiting Unsecured Creditors’ Committee members who ignore their fiduciary duties. Continue Reading Charges Against Marble Ridge Capital Founder Illustrate the Pitfalls That Await Members of Unsecured Creditors’ Committees Who Ignore Their Fiduciary Duties

Earlier this week, a near-unanimous[1] United States Supreme Court issued its much anticipated ruling on the SEC’s ability to obtain disgorgement of ill-gotten gains in cases involving securities fraud, FCPA violations, and other securities violations.[2]  Justice Sotomayor, writing for the majority, confirmed in Liu v. SEC[3] that the SEC has the authority to obtain such relief.  The SEC’s authority to obtain disgorgement had seldom been questioned until the Supreme Court itself raised the issue in a footnote in its landmark Kokesh v. SEC decision in 2017.[4] Continue Reading Supreme Court Affirms SEC’s Authority to Obtain Disgorgement, But Recognizes Limits on Such Relief

Ron Swanson once stated, “There’s only one thing I hate worse than lying—skim milk, which is water that’s lying about being skim milk.”

Today the SEC announced that it has charged Swanson with his second-least-favorite thing: lying in the form of securities fraud.   The SEC alleges that Ronald D. Swanson, the former chief executive officer and general counsel of a company purportedly developing a liquid purification technology, intentionally misled investors from whom he solicited over $2 million between October 2012 and August 2015. Continue Reading Don’t Cry (or Lie) Over Skim Milk: SEC Charges Ron Swanson with Securities Fraud

By Andrew Schumacher, Brad Monk and John Kincade

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sudden disruption to businesses and halted almost all forms of global commerce. Contractual parties, lenders and borrowers, and parties to Merger and acquisition agreements are now closely reviewing their contracts, loan agreements and, in particular, any Material Adverse Change clause (also called Material Adverse Effect) (“MAC”) in the contract to analyze what options they might have.  Continue Reading What a Business Should Know Before Triggering a MAC Clause Based on COVID-19

By Toby M. Galloway,  Matthias Kleinsasser,  Joe Wielebinski

In sports, it is often said that “winning cures everything.”  The same concept applies to uncovering fraud.  When the economy is strong and most investors are making money, there is little incentive to ask difficult questions about a company’s performance.  Once the economy craters, however, investors begin demanding answers and harsh truths are often revealed.  As Warren Buffett has said, “only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Continue Reading Fraud in the Time of Covid-19

Management.com has a new article, found here, that points to the importance of an investment adviser or RIA firm borrower getting their SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan application right the first time: “What you don’t want is to submit an application that’s incomplete and you have to fix it … [because then] you [fall] to the back of the queue.” Meeting the legal requirements is also key.

Our Winstead team including Andrew Rosell , Jennifer Knapek,  and our SL&E team are already consulting with and assisting current and new advisory clients on PPP SBA loan applications. Fellow Winstead attorney John Adolph has summarized the material information here.