SEC Enforcement Hits Records in 2016

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The Securities and Exchange Commission reported that it has filed 868 enforcement actions related to financial reporting misconduct in fiscal year 2016 – a new single-year high.

The fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, included the most ever cases involving investment advisors or investment companies (160), new highs for actions related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (21), and the largest amount of money distributed to whistleblowers in a single year ($57 million).

The commission also obtained judgments and orders totaling more than $4 billion in disgorgement and penalties.

“By every measur,e the enforcement program continues to be a resounding success holding executives, companies and market participants accountable for their illegal actions,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “Over the last three years, we have changed the way we do business on the enforcement front by using new data analytics to uncover fraud, enhancing our ability to litigate tough cases, and expanding the playbook bringing novel and significant actions to better protect investors and our markets.”

Relatively few of the actions were brought against auditing firms, most commonly for violations of independence rules.

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