Securities fraud offenses involve any scheme to unlawfully acquire security based on false statements or misrepresentations or practice of deceiving another. Both federal and Florida law include heavy fines and severe criminal penalties, including potential mandatory/minimum sentences of up to 25 years and maximum potential sentences of up to LIFE. Mr. Petruzzi has represented numerous individuals charged with, or under investigation for, securities fraud offenses by both federal and state authorities. His experience and knowledge serve as an invaluable asset to his clients.
Federal securities fraud offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various agencies, including the FBI, IRS and the Department of Justice. Some common federal statutes criminalizing securities fraud include:
18 USC Sec. 1348 –
Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice –
(1) to defraud any person in connection with any commodity for future delivery, or any option on a commodity for future delivery or any security of an issuer with a class of securities registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78l) or that is required to file reports under section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o(d)); or
(2) to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any money or property in connection with the purchase or sale of any commodity for future delivery, or any option on a commodity for future delivery, or any security of an issuer with a class of securities registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78l) or that is required to file reports under section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o(d)); shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than 25 years or both.
Florida securities fraud offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various state and local law enforcement agencies. Some common Florida statutes criminalizing securities fraud include:
517.301 Fraudulent transactions; falsification or concealment of facts.—
(1) It is unlawful and a violation of the provisions of this chapter for a person:
(a) In connection with the rendering of any investment advice or in connection with the offer, sale or purchase of any investment or security, including any security exempted under the provisions of s. 517.051 and including any security sold in a transaction exempted under the provisions of s. 517.061, directly or indirectly:
1. To employ any device, scheme or artifice to defraud;
2. To obtain money or property, by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading; or
3. To engage in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon a person.
(b) To publish, give publicity to, or circulate any notice, circular, advertisement, newspaper, article, letter, investment service, communication, or broadcast which, though not purporting to offer a security for sale, describes such security for a consideration received or to be received directly or indirectly from an issuer, underwriter, or dealer, or from an agent or employee of an issuer, underwriter, or dealer, without fully disclosing the receipt, whether past or prospective, of such consideration and the amount of the consideration.
(c) In any matter within the jurisdiction of the office, to knowingly and willfully falsify, conceal, or cover-up, by any trick, scheme, or device, a material fact, make any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation, or make or use any false writing or document, knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.
(2) For purposes of s. 517.311 and s. 517.312 and this section, the term “investment” means any commitment of money or property principally induced by a representation that an economic benefit may be derived from such commitment, except that the term does not include a commitment of money or property for:
(a) The purchase of a business opportunity, business enterprise, or real property through a person licensed under chapter 475 or registered under former chapter 498; or
(b) The purchase of tangible personal property through a person not engaged in telephone solicitation, where said property is offered and sold in accordance with the following conditions:
1. There are no specific representations or guarantees made by the offeror or seller as to the economic benefit to be derived from the purchase;
2. The tangible property is delivered to the purchaser within 30 days after the sale, except that such 30-day period may be extended by the office if market conditions so warrant; and
3. The seller has offered the purchaser a full refund policy in writing, exercisable by the purchaser within 10 days of the date of delivery of such tangible personal property, except that the amount of such refund may not exceed the bid price in effect at the time the property is returned to the seller. If the applicable sellers’ market is closed at the time the property is returned to the seller for a refund, the amount of such refund shall be based on the bid price for such property at the next opening of such market.
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