The SEC’s Division of Enforcement conducts investigations into potential violations of the federal securities laws. Common violations include misrepresenting important information about potential investments, manipulating the market prices of securities, stealing customers’ funds or securities, insider trading, and selling unregistered securities.
Although each SEC investigation is unique, here are a few common characteristics:
- SEC investigations are generally nonpublic;
- SEC staff typically develops the facts of an investigation by analyzing information provided by witnesses, documents, or data;
- SEC investigations are civil, not criminal; and
- SEC investigations often last months or even years.