Thursday, February 5, 2009

Statute of limitations

Keep emailing your questions. As you can see, students bring up issues that the whole community may be working on.

Question ***** states that the investor has 6 years to bring suit. What happened to 2 years from discovery or 3 years from trade and 5 years for criminal statute of limitations?

Another good one, Helen. 5 years is for criminal prosecution. If I swindle investors here in Chicago, the IL Attorney General or Cook County State's Attorney has 5 years to bring a criminal case against me. If I'm a swindled investor, I can sue the sellers/promoters in civil court if I bring suit within 2 years of discovery/never more than 3 years from the event.

Then there is an SRO called NASD/FINRA. FINRA has an arbitration procedure (not civil court). A client has 6 years to file a claim before the more informal arbitration panel. There are no appeals in arbitration, unlike in civil court. Of course, FINRA is only an option if you're going after a registered person/firm. Civil court is there for all the crazy offerings of securities by individuals and businesses who are not registered. Jimmy's Juice Bar offers "promissory notes" to gullible investors--they're not a broker-dealer registered with anyone. The investors who lose money on the fraudulent offer of "securities" can try to recover what they paid, plus interest, in civil court. And, good luck to those poor saps, who will likely never see a dime.

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