The SEC has been attacking COVID-19 fraud aggressively over the past three weeks using its civil enforcement authority to suspend trading in securities of companies making suspect or questionable disclosures about vaccines, protective devices, testing, mitigation and technology. The compression of 17 trading suspensions into as many trading days highlights how the SEC’s Enforcement Division has an acute focus on what the agency perceives as efforts to deceive investors believing they are jumping on the bandwagon of a groundbreaking solution, when, in fact, the SEC suspects classic securities fraud and stock manipulation. And, in my 33 years of securities enforcement law practice, including almost 10 years in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, no other period or event comes to mind – not even 9/11 – when the SEC issued so many substantive trading suspensions in so many securities in such a short time-frame.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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