For more than three decades, the federal government has aggressively prosecuted individuals for a wide range of security fraud charges. Following the economic downturn of 2008, both federal and New York State prosecutors working alongside the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the SEC have aggressively reviewed allegations of illegal securities trades.
Of great concern are trades that are made illegally based on information that is not available to the public. This increased vigilance on the part of New York prosecutors as well as by the FBI and the SEC has had positive benefits, but it has also had some negative consequences. One of the negative consequences of this increased vigilance is that innocent individuals, that is investors who have broken no laws, are finding themselves facing criminal investigation.
It would be naive for any individual to think that just because they are innocent and just because the burden of proof is on the prosecutor, they can walk into court on charges of securities fraud and defend themselves. The truth of the matter is that prosecutors will zealously pursue anyone who they feel has committed securities fraud whether the accusation is truthful or not. They will use title 18 United States code section 1348 to aggressively pursue, prosecute, and imprison anyone they feel has violated this law. Simply claiming innocence will not protect a person from this prosecution, nor will it protect their career or their livelihood. For this reason, anyone who is accused of securities fraud should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney who has experience dealing with these matters.
Defining Securities Fraud
According to Title 18 US Code Section 1348, securities fraud is defined as the attempt to scheme and defraud a person in connection with any security. This would include using deception, lies, or trickery to obtain money or property that is connected to the purchase or sale of securities. By law this crime carries a punishment of up to 25 years in prison and a fine that will not exceed one quarter of $1 million.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Just about every single crime can be broken down into smaller crimes that were committed together to create the whole. This is definitely case when discussing securities fraud. In order to convict an individual of securities fraud, the prosecution must prove without doubt that the defendant intentionally engaged in conduct or that they intentionally engaged in business activities designed to defraud or deceive people. This could include something as simple as making false statements.
For a securities fraud charge to stick, the deceitful actions must take place in connection with securities transactions. The prosecution has the responsibility to prove that the defendant used the security as part of their scheme in an attempt to defraud someone. The security could have been used directly or indirectly. Finally, the prosecution must clearly show that in all of the above mentioned elements, the defendant acted knowingly and intentionally.
New York state and the United States government takes securities fraud seriously. According to section 1348 of title 18 of the United States Code, the penalty for securities fraud can be up to 25 years or $2,500 fine. There are a lot of mitigating factors that could increase or decrease a defendant’s sentence. A good criminal defense attorney will understand circumstances that might increase the defendant’s sentence or decrease it. They will work with their client and with the prosecutor to get the lowest sentence possible.
Get an Attorney Now
Something that an individual who is accused of securities fraud must understand is that the US government and the state of New York do not care whether or not you knew that the actions you committed were criminal. They do not care if you committed securities fraud because you were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. They do not care about the negative effect an accusation of securities fraud will have on you, your family, or your business.
Being charged with securities fraud requires you to take immediate action. Anyone who was unfortunate enough to become a target of the government in one of these investigations must take steps to protect their family, their career, and their freedom. The best way to do this is by sitting down and speaking with one of our criminal defense attorneys. With more than 30 years of experience behind us, we understand security fraud accusations, and we are committed to providing you with the defense you deserve.