When the SEC serves you with a subpoena, your best course of action is to immediately seek legal counsel. Tight deadlines, strict legal procedure, and complex questioning can cause even the most knowledgeable professionals to make nuanced mistakes that carry irreparable consequences.
Understanding the critical importance of legal counsel, the question is how to select the attorney best suited to represent you in an SEC investigation. While there are many things to consider, the following three points speak to what makes SEC investigations unique:
An SEC investigation can give rise to both civil and criminal liability. Indeed, while the SEC’s enforcement authority is limited to civil claims, it is common practice for the SEC to refer its cases to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.
An SEC investigation and a DOJ investigation often run parallel to one another, with each giving rise to conflicting rights and obligations.
Avoiding or minimizing criminal liability is top priority: While civil penalties imposed by the SEC can amount to millions of dollars in fines, a criminal conviction can result in significant jail time, loss of licenses, and permanent reputational damage.
Whenever your worst-case scenario involves criminal penalties, hiring a criminal defense attorney is imperative. In the case of an SEC investigation, retaining a criminal defense attorney with experience handling both the civil and criminal aspects involved in these claims.
Placing the many complex details under the control of a single firm allows for the multiple dimensions of your case to be accounted for within a comprehensive strategy. While freedom from criminal liability is the most important priority, the goal in an SEC investigation is to prioritize your freedom without compromising your secondary interests.
The best way to ensure this focus is to retain a firm that will take responsibility for the many competing interests involved in an SEC investigation.
Many firms, including ours, offer risk-free consultations. Starting from the very first meeting, your criminal attorney will help you begin to:
- Decide how to respond to the SEC’s demands, and determine whether you have reasonable grounds to object.
- Protect yourself, your organization, and your clients from civil and/or criminal liability.
- Uncover critical details regarding the nature of the investigation, including the role you play in the matter, which you may be unable to identify on your own.
- Prepare to answer questions under oath, in the event that you are asked to testify.
- Determine precisely what paperwork you need to provide, in the event you are asked to provide documents.
- Comply with all necessary deadlines and relevant legal procedures.
- Formulate a long-term strategy for compliance with a potentially lengthy investigation.
- Instruct your business partners and staff members so as to ensure a unified approach.
- Understand generally what to expect going forward.
If you have been served with an SEC subpoena, a risk-free consultation with The Blanch Law Firm will help you address your concerns and decide how to move forward. Our white collar criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience handling SEC investigations from inception through resolution and can provide the unique counsel necessary to best protect your rights.