How To Report Securities Fraud
Since 1980, the number of individuals who invested in securities and commodities—whether through college savings plans, retirement accounts, or some other investment vehicle—has increased substantially. Unfortunately, in addition to this growth in the financial markets, there has been a corresponding increase of fraud.
Securities fraud-related losses can take many forms: Reduced or non-existent returns, diminished business values, and legal costs are just some examples of the high price paid by misled investors.
When an investor experiences financial losses because of a broker’s negligence or fraud, he or she may be entitled to file a complaint and recover those losses. Securities law violations can be reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which will conduct a comprehensive investigation.
If you suffered losses due to the fraudulent behavior of a stockbroker or other financial advisor, you deserve justice. The experienced securities fraud attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter are dedicated to protecting the rights and best interests of fraud victims. We are passionate about helping our clients recover their losses and holding negligent brokers accountable for their wrongdoing.
How Do I Report Securities Fraud?
There are multiple ways to report securities fraud in the United States. Regardless of which option you choose, it is crucial to do so promptly. Swift action will improve your chance of holding the defrauding individual, firm, or company accountable.
1. Report Securities Fraud to the SEC
The SEC oversees the securities market and enforces the securities laws in the United States. The agency relies heavily on whistleblowers and other members of the public to come forward with information it can use to launch investigations into individuals, firms, and companies suspected of fraud.
Investors have the opportunity to file broker complaints with the SEC electronically through the SEC’s Investor Complaint Form. When making a report, you do not have to provide more information than you possess—or even want to give. However, you need to provide some basic information, such as:
- Your name
- Your address
- Basic information about the broker
- The type of investment involved
- A brief description of the events that led to your complaint
- Any actions you have already taken to resolve the complaint against your broker, such as mediation, arbitration, or court action.
2. Report the Fraud to Applicable State or Federal Agencies
Victims of securities fraud can also file reports with other state or federal agencies. Depending on the details of your case, it may be appropriate to report fraud to:
- Local police departments: You can contact a local police department to report specific types of cases that involve theft, embezzlement, or other crime
- State attorney general’s office: You can bring complaints to the office of the state’s attorney general for issues that fall under state securities laws
- The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA): The EBSA handles complaints that fall under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
Because each of the agencies listed above deals with specific types of fraud, you should make sure that you have chosen the appropriate agency before contacting them to file a report. Be sure to provide all of the necessary information to help the agency assess your complaint and decide whether to investigate the situation.
3. Contact a Securities Fraud Attorney
After suffering a financial loss because of a stockbroker’s fraudulent actions, it may be in your best interest to speak confidentially with a securities fraud attorney in a free initial consultation.
An attorney will review the facts in your case and determine to which agency your complaint should be filed. An attorney can also report the fraud and pursue financial recovery on your behalf.
As an investor, you have the right to seek recovery from negligent brokers, advisors, brokerage firms, and other companies. Although some claims must be filed in federal district court, many securities fraud claims are handled through FINRA arbitration.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Securities Fraud Claim?
You only have a limited amount of time to recover your losses after being the victim of securities fraud. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. For securities fraud claims, the statute of limitations can vary, depending on whether you are attempting to recover your losses through FINRA arbitration or in court. For FINRA arbitration claims, you have six years from the date of the fraudulent act or omission in which to seek recovery. In court, securities fraud claims are subject to a maximum of five years from the date of the fraudulent act or omission.
If you believe—or even suspect—that your stockbroker or advisor committed fraud, it is crucial to speak with an experienced securities fraud attorney as soon as possible. It may be very difficult to recover the monetary losses you sustained without knowledgeable legal guidance.
Contact Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter today online or at (800) 766-1000 for a free consultation. We can help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.