Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cease & Desist

When an agent or an investment adviser violates securities law, the Administrator can issue an order to suspend or revoke the license. Before issuing the final order, the respondent has to receive prior notice, an opportunity for a hearing, and the writing findings of fact and conclusions of law that he and his attorneys need to explain somehow to the regulators in a more positive light. On the other hand, if somebody is out there offering securities in his company that are not registered, he has no license that can be suspended or revoked. In this case, the Administrator will issue a "cease & desist" order, with or without prior notice and a hearing. A "cease & desist" order is an official warning from the state securities Administrator to cut it out, or else. If the respondent ignores the Administrator's authority, the test calls that "contumacy." The Administrator can then ask the courts to issue a restraining order/injunction, and if the respondent blows that off, he's looking at "contempt of court," punishable by fines and even jail time. If you click the title of this blog post, you'll see a real-world cease & desist order issued in Arkansas to two gentlemen going around promising 120% annual interest from people who perhaps should have known better. As you can imagine, nobody got his money back from this program. Take a look for yourself--many testable points are illustrated in this Administrative order.

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