SEC Announces 2015 Enforcement Results

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced results for its enforcement actions in fiscal year 2015, ended September 30, 2015, saying that these results include a number of high impact and first-ever actions for securities law violations.

During 2015, the SEC filed 807 enforcement actions and obtained approximately $4.2 billion in disgorgement and penalties. Of the 807 actions, a record 507 were independent actions for federal securities law violations and 300 were actions against issuers for either failing to make the required filings with the SEC or administrative actions to bar individuals convicted of crimes or violations of other orders.

“Vigorous and comprehensive enforcement protects investors and reassures them that our financial markets operate with integrity and transparency, and the Commission continues that enforcement approach by bringing innovative cases holding executives and companies accountable for their wrongdoing sending clear warnings to would-be violators,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “The Enforcement Division’s leveraging of data, quantitative analytics and the expertise of our other divisions contributed significantly to this year’s very strong results.”

The SEC detailed the first-of-its-kind actions in 2015, including charges against:

  • Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) for misallocating more than $17 million in so-called “broken deal” expenses to its flagship private equity funds in breach of its fiduciary duty.
  • Edward Jones and the former head of its municipal underwriting desk for overcharging customers in new municipal bonds sales.
  • Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services for fraudulent misconduct in its ratings of certain commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).
  • A subsidiary of UBS for disclosure failures and other securities law violations related to the operation and marketing of its dark pool.
  • BNY Mellon for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for providing valuable student internships to family members of foreign government officials affiliated with a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.
  • National audit firm BDO USA for dismissing red flags and issuing false and misleading unqualified audit opinions about the financial statements of staffing services company General Employment Enterprises.
  • KBR Inc. for violating whistleblower protection Rule 21F-17 enacted under the Dodd-Frank Act by using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements with the potential to stifle the whistleblowing process.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or