Washington (Feb. 27, 2003) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission wants broader authority to fine people and companies without having to ask a judge, the agency's top enforcement official said Wednesday.

In testimony prepared for a House Financial Services subcommittee, SEC enforcement division director Stephen Cutler said the agency wants Congress to change the law to make it easier to impose fines, saying it would be more efficient, according to wire service reports.

Under current law, the SEC can impose fines on its only if the individual or company being fined is regulated by the SEC. Otherwise, the SEC must file a federal court action .

Last summer, Congress rewrote laws on penalties, requiring the SEC to distribute fines to investors victimized by securities fraud. In the past, such fines went directly to the Treasury Department.

Cutler also wants Congress to allow the SEC to hire outside collection agencies in an effort to more efficiently collect fines.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access