The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it filed 784 enforcement actions in 2023, a 3% increase over 2022.
Among the actions, the SEC charged 10 microcap companies with offering and selling securities that did not comply with Regulation A. The firms settled these cases by paying $390,000 in civil penalties.
All told, charges included 501 original or “stand-alone” enforcement actions, an 8% increase over the previous fiscal year. The activities included billion-dollar fraud, violations by diverse market participants ranging from public companies and investment firms to social media influencers, and emerging investor threats such as crypto asset securities.
The SEC also filed 162 “follow-on” administrative proceedings seeking to suspend or bar people from certain security market functions for civil, criminal, or other orders.
Additionally, the SEC filed 121 actions against issuers who were potentially delinquent in making required SEC filings. The enforcement actions included enforcing recordkeeping requirements, overseeing operations, and protecting whistleblowers.
The result of these SEC filings included nearly $5 billion in financial remedies and the distribution of about $1 billion to harmed investors.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler said, “The investing public benefits from the Division of Enforcements work as a cop on the beat. Last fiscal year’s results demonstrate yet again the Division’s effectiveness – working alongside colleagues throughout the agency – in following the facts and the law wherever they lead to hold wrongdoers accountable.”
The second-highest amounts on record were the financial remedies, including disgorgement and civil penalties ordered. Plus, the SEC obtained orders barring 133 people from serving as officers and directors of companies, the highest number of bars in a decade.
The 2023 fiscal year was also record-breaking for the SEC Whistleblower Program, with almost $600 million in awards. Read more.