In recent years, Florida has become a hotbed for securities fraud prosecutions. According to both the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, the region has the second-highest number of prosecutions for securities and investment fraud in the nation. Since the end of 2010, when a special task force was launched to combat securities and investment fraud, there have been a total of 85 prosecutions for such offenses in south Florida alone.
Authorities have focused their efforts on Ponzi schemes, penny-stock schemes and market-manipulation schemes. The common element in each is alleged misrepresentations to investors about the stock involved and the resulting taking of money from the investors.
If convicted of securities or investment fraud, the consequences can be severe. Convicted offenders may receive long jail sentences even if they have never been previously arrested or convicted of a crime.
In addition, the SEC and the National Association of Securities Dealers have the option of conducting an investigation and levying civil fines against any person or corporation involved in securities fraud. With the increased focus on stopping such alleged illegal practices in Florida, the number of cases may only continue to grow. However, those facing allegations of impropriety should understand their legal options and seek guidance for presenting a fervent defense against any charges.
Source: Miami Herald, "Feds target South Florida securities fraud, from penny stocks to Ponzi schemes," Jay Weaver.