Museum funding – Expo Monet http://expo-monet.com/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 07:13:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://expo-monet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-63-120x120.png Museum funding – Expo Monet http://expo-monet.com/ 32 32 Online Payday Loans New Jersey https://expo-monet.com/online-payday-loans-new-jersey/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 06:44:09 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/?p=1044 There could be crisis that requires the need for cash in a hurry. It is possible to get payday loans through Green Day Online. The cost of educational or field trips should be taken into consideration. Every financial problem can be resolved with the payday loan in Green Day Online New Jersey. New Jersey payday loan […]]]>

There could be crisis that requires the need for cash in a hurry. It is possible to get payday loans through Green Day Online. The cost of educational or field trips should be taken into consideration. Every financial problem can be resolved with the payday loan in Green Day Online New Jersey.

New Jersey payday loan specifications

There’s an act that is in force New Jersey that prohibits payday advance services. In order to be approved for a loan the company must get approval from the state to maintain the records of how it is stored in an account with a bank. In addition it is crucial to be aware that when it comes to loans in Delaware that is the State of Delaware fees for financing could be up to 15 dollars.

In the event that you’re considering applying on cash loans it’s important to know that certain websites provide them without the necessity of submitting any documents or credit scores. isn’t checked.

Payday loans are available to any person over 18 years old if they have a job and have an account with an institution.

How do you request a loan from New Jersey?

Payday loans can’t be used for funds within New Jersey. Cash advances are however accessible. Applying to get cash advance is a simple and easy procedure. All you need to have is connect to an Internet connection and you’re good to go. The entire procedure of requesting cash advances is carried out by using personal computers that you have. So you’ll feel comfortable in your home while you receive the cash you need.

Then , you’ll receive the financial aid you need to take care of financial problems. To get the payday loan in New Jersey, its citizens must meet the following conditions:

In order to apply, you have to follow the online application process in order to complete your application. The application process is available on our website. It’s straightforward to follow. There’s no additional steps you should do once you’ve supplied us with your personal information (including your bank details). The majority of applications go through the process of being reviewed the application, which can take several hours. The terms used to describe these types of loans are lower than traditional loans.

The money will be deposited , but you’ll have to pay it back on the day of your next pay and also pay the interest you’ve paid in the previous. This indicates the method used by NJ payday loans operate the same procedure that you’ve experienced, and should take less than 15 minutes to complete. Utilizing this process, you can free yourself of financial strain.

The payday loan regulations within New Jersey

As mentioned previously the law of the state prohibits lenders from offering cash-on-demand assistance. Furthermore, people who do not have an account that is valid and has a bank account are not eligible for any type of loan regardless of the length or amount needed. For instance , regardless of whether you require a sum of $100, $1,000 or more. It is necessary have an account at an institution to gain access to banks that you experience the occurrence of a budget crisis.

The guidelines apply to the majority of New Jersey residents, whether they are citizens of New Jersey or are not. The state. It appears that a lot of people are in need of urgent financial assistance, this is not the reality. There’s a way to avail it. It is easily accessible.

Customers are offered the choice of selecting between cash advances in cash as well as other kinds of loans without collateral offered by legally licensed and privately operated lending institutions. It is essential to recognize that the choice of working with lenders that are independent is your personal choice. Even though they adhere to the laws of the state and its regulations independent lenders continue to be in operation.

The biggest issue is the fact that local laws are restrictions on interest rates that are 30 percent annually. This law prohibits businesses from earning profit. For lenders who want to make profits, the interest rate may not appear to be appealing. Like other lenders in other states , they have an APR between 30 and 100%. This is why licensed and authorized agencies are drawn to states with lower interest rates.

Payday lending within New Jersey with bad credit

The short-term loans available across New Jersey are particularly suitable for people who have weak credit scores. They are often referred to in terms of “bad credit. “The title says it all. Creditworthy borrowers can obtain cash on the spot when they work at an establishment with pay stubs or something similar to it. But, what are the other benefits for those who are able to use these documents? What are the advantages it could bring? Do you have the ability to take care of debts if you have lower credit scores?

An overview to New Jersey payday loans

The maximum amount for payday loan that can be permitted from New Jersey?

Within the State in the state of New Jersey, a borrower can only get one cash advance at single time. There is a possibility of receiving several small-dollar loans at the same time when you collaborate with an online lender with a good reputation and good name. You only must do to demonstrate your security in the realm of finance by providing the appropriate evidence or a report from your bank indicating the amount of money that is in your account at the bank. The possibility of getting several loans in the simultaneously isn’t a challenge as long as you have cash to repay the loan.

What is the most effective method to follow to obtain an advance loan for payday loans in New Jersey?

Anyone who is looking for loans within New Jersey needs to meet the standard criteria to be eligible for cash loans. No matter what you prefer which traditional lender you choose to use is which is found in mortar and brick stores or online lenders offering more flexibility and allow the borrower to obtain loans without having to leave your home you have the option of picking one or the alternative. The procedure for applying for loans is straightforward. It is necessary to fill out the application and supply all the necessary information to prove your citizenship, age or job. The money will be transferred to your account once you have been accepted.

What would the cost on cash-advances for New Jersey be?

The loans available in New Jersey have a maximum rate of interest that is an amount. The amount of the loan cannot exceed thirty percent. If you’re looking for lenders that offer loans online, are available, you have the option of choosing from an array of options. The price of the loan will vary in accordance with the needs of the company and its terms. If you’re who are facing financial difficulties and do not have to fret about interest rates isn’t an issue for cash advances that are smaller. There is also the option of delaying the timeframe for payment in case it is needed.

What is the maximum amount you can borrow through a loan that you avail from within New Jersey?

The minimum amount that can be able to be borrowed using cash advance loans within New Jersey is $100.While the maximum amount differs among banks, this amount could be between $1,000 and the sum in excess of $5,500. As long as the repayment time, the greater the amount of cash you’ll require. There is a period of 90 days when the sum is more than $1,000. The kind of loan, the duration of time you’re able to obtain a loan could be as long as thirty-six months.

Do payday lending companies have a legal status in New Jersey?

It’s more difficult to obtain a payday cash loan because of the restrictions within New Jersey, it might not be as simple to get one. For loans, New Jersey has strict regulations, even though cash-on-demand is increasing in popularity. State-licensed lenders must adhere to specific rules. This is the reason payday loans that are not regulated are not permitted in New Jersey are illegal. Even with a low credit score, those who are struggling financially can obtain the money they need quickly even if they do not have credit that is excellent.

Fintech services are fast approaching the same level as prehistoric dinosaurs. If the next financial crisis occurs, the people do not rely on banks for access to their savings when they require it in the case the need arises. The speed and convenience of the online market allows consumers to transfer and use the money of New Jersey in under 24 hours.

What is the cost of payday loans New Jersey be high?

It can be difficult to access money if reside in New Jersey. New Jersey. This is because of the limitations on payday loans that are subject to additional charges. However however there are many strategies to address issues with cash that isn’t covered by traditional loans.

payday loans that are quick and speedy are more affordable since the state agencies manage their interest rates on the lenders. The same quantity of services however at a lesser cost. Find a reliable, accredited loan company who can assist citizens of New Jersey.

Do I take out a loan when I’m not an New Jersey resident?

There’s nothing. Payday loans are available only for residents in New Jersey. Get a payday cash advance in the area you live in If you’re in search of cash advances.

Request New Jersey short term loans

After having looked over the rules and conditions at the beginning We must know the regulations for those who reside in New Jersey. New Jersey to access payday loans. The first step is to make sure that the person who is borrowing has the capacity for opening an account with an institution that is legally valid and is at least that is 18. Both of these requirements are crucial.

In addition it is required that you are an New Jersey resident and have several ID documents to prove the fact that you’re a resident and also your earnings and employment documents. It’s all about timing, so be sure that you have all the required documents prepared in order to avoid delays and get approval immediately.

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2021 Year-End Securities Enforcement Update https://expo-monet.com/2021-year-end-securities-enforcement-update/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 06:17:51 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/?p=965 January 19, 2022 Click for PDF I.  Introduction: Themes and Notable Developments A.  A New Administration Leverages a Traditional Playbook With the confirmation of Chair Gary Gensler in April and the appointment of Enforcement Division Director Gurbir Grewal in June, the latter half of 2021 provided greater insight into the ways in which heightened enforcement under this […]]]>

January 19, 2022

Click for PDF

I.  Introduction: Themes and Notable Developments

A.  A New Administration Leverages a Traditional Playbook

With the confirmation of Chair Gary Gensler in April and the appointment of Enforcement Division Director Gurbir Grewal in June, the latter half of 2021 provided greater insight into the ways in which heightened enforcement under this Administration will impact market participants and the implications for clients going forward.  In speeches in the latter half of 2021, Director Grewal and Chair Gensler outlined their enforcement priorities.  While many of their themes echo the messages of prior Democratic administrations, certain points this Commission has chosen to emphasize could have outsized impact on public companies, SEC-registered firms and their executives and outside professionals.

  • Remedies – Director Grewal expressed the intention to escalate the sanctions the Commission would demand in both negotiated resolutions and litigated enforcement actions. While the remedies are not new, the focus on expanding the magnitude and frequency of sanctions reflects not just desire to increase the amount of particular sanctions, but also the breadth of parties and circumstances that would trigger a demand for certain sanctions.
    • Penalties – Picking up on a theme articulated by then-Acting Chair Caroline Crenshaw earlier this year (and discussed in our Mid-Year Alert [link: https://www.gibsondunn.com/2021-mid-year-securities-enforcement-update/]), Director Grewal warned of the likelihood of increased penalties generally, and in particular, in circumstances where, in the Commission’s view, penalties have been insufficient to deter perceived misconduct based in part on previous enforcement actions against other actors in the same industry. Director Grewal was particularly pointed on the diminished relevance of prior settlements when negotiating current settlements.  As Director Grewal bluntly stated, “You should not expect comparable cases to be the beginning and end of our analysis.”[1]
    • Bars – Director Grewal has also signaled an intention to pursue officer and director bars, including in cases in which an individual defendant was not an officer or director of a public company. As Grewal explained, in determining whether to recommend pursuing a bar, the Enforcement Division would consider whether the individual is simply “likely to have an opportunity to become an officer and director of a public company in the future.”[2] In at least one recent example, in a litigated enforcement case, the Commission is seeking officer and director bars against individuals who are, according to the complaint, not employed by public companies.[3]
    • Admissions – In Director Grewal’s words, “When it comes to accountability, few things rival the magnitude of wrongdoers admitting that they broke the law. . . . Admissions, given their attention-getting nature, also serve as a clarion call to other market participants to stamp out and self-report the misconduct to the extent it is occurring in their firm.”[4] Not long after that speech, the Commission announced a settled enforcement action that contained admissions to regulatory recordkeeping violations.[5]  Notably, violation of such regulatory provisions does not give rise to private rights of action.  It will remain to be seen to what extent the Commission seeks admissions in other circumstances.
  • Recidivism – Director Grewal emphasized that “recidivism” would be a potentially significant factor in the assessment of appropriate resolutions. In Grewal’s words, “When a firm repeatedly violates our laws or rules, they should expect to be penalized more harshly than a first-time offender might be for the same conduct.”[6]  As discussed below, this position raises significant concerns about the applicability of the term “recidivist” in the context of securities enforcement.
  • Gatekeepers – In separate speeches, both Chair Gensler and Director Grewal emphasized a focus on gatekeepers – lawyers, auditors, accountants, bankers and investment advisers – who play a variety of roles in the securities industry, capital markets, and public company financial reporting and disclosure. As Chair Gensler articulated his perspective in a message to such gatekeepers, “You occupy positions of trust.  Though you represent your clients, you also have an important role in upholding the law, which protects investors and our markets.  You can often be the first lines of defense.  That’s particularly true when a client is getting close to crossing the line.”[7]  Director Grewal made a similar point in separate remarks, “Encouraging your clients to play in the grey areas or walk right up to the line creates significant risk.  It’s when companies start testing those lines that problems emerge and rules are broken. . . .  That’s why gatekeepers will remain a significant focus for the Enforcement Division, as evidenced by some of our recent actions.”[8]

Our Take – It is not surprising that the Enforcement Division under this Administration would emphasize seeking greater sanctions, particularly penalties, in enforcement actions.  Perhaps notable is that this Administration has not articulated new remedies, just more of the existing ones without any guiding principles.  The lack of transparency regarding when admissions will be demanded, whether voluntary disclosure or cooperation will impact that determination, or even why admissions are needed, is notable.  An absence of guidelines may very well lead to a lack of consistency.  It remains to be seen whether the Enforcement Division is able to execute on such vision if the demand for such sanctions also results in an increase in the Commission’s litigation caseload.  While remedies such as penalties can often be negotiated to a resolution, other remedies, such as bars and admissions, can be far more consequential for individuals and entities.  As a result, an effort to flex a regulatory muscle by demanding greater remedies may ultimately run up against a resource constraint on the ability to litigate cases.

Arguably of greater potential impact is the emphasis on conceptual themes, such as recidivism and gatekeepers.  The concept of recidivism, for example, can easily be misapplied in the regulatory context.  In any large, diversified enterprise with thousands of employees engaged in a highly regulated business, it is almost inevitable that over time a number of securities law violations will occur, often comprised of unintentional mistakes.  Violations can arise for an unlimited number of different reasons, including individual misconduct, growth and diversification of the business, prevailing industry practice, emerging risks, acquisitions, and evolving regulatory interpretations and standards of enforcement.  Trying to apply a label such as “recidivist” in this context can not only be inappropriate, but also leave parties exposed to the rhetorical judgments of regulators as to what constitutes recidivism.

Similarly, defining a wide range of professionals as “gatekeepers” and then cautioning them on the risks of advising clients acting in the “grey areas” suggests a vision of advisers (lawyers, accountants, financial advisers) that is inconsistent with their roles.  Many areas of the law are grey, especially those subject to agency discretion and interpretation, and it is precisely in the grey areas that clients should be reaching out to their advisers and most need advice.  The Commission has long articulated a position of not pursuing enforcement actions against professional advisers, particularly counsel, on the basis of advice, but rather only for participation in misconduct that rises to the level of a direct or secondary violation.  One hopes that the recent rhetoric about the focus on gatekeepers does not signal a departure from decades of Commission practice in this area.

B.  A Look at – and Behind – the Numbers

The enforcement statistics for fiscal 2021 reflected a 7% year-over-year increase in standalone actions, from 405 in 2020 to 434 in 2021.  However, to put this number in perspective, 2020 saw a substantial decrease in enforcement actions due to the pandemic.  Thus, the 434 standalone enforcement actions for fiscal 2021 represented a decline of more than 17% from the 526 enforcement actions in 2019.  The distribution of actions was consistent with prior years, with the majority of cases involving broker-dealers and investment advisers, securities offerings, and public company financial reporting.  Financial remedies ordered in fiscal 2021 represented an increase in penalties (from $1.09 billion in 2020 to $1.46 billion in 2021), but a decrease in disgorgement ordered (from $3.59 billion in 2020 to $2.40 in 2021).[9]

One must always exercise caution when drawing conclusions about enforcement trends from such metrics, particularly in light of the pandemic and in a year of transition in administrations.  In particular, given the close of the fiscal year on September 30 and the extended pipeline through which enforcement actions ultimately receive formal approval, the impact of this administration on metrics such as the number of cases and size of financial remedies are more likely to be measurable in future years.  With that in mind, below are graphical representations of the metrics over recent years.

C.  SPACs

The SEC continued its focus on Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACs”) in the second half of 2021.  Multiple enforcement actions came on the heels of pronouncements by senior SEC officials earlier last year concerning the risks posed by the explosion of SPAC initial public offerings, including a potential misalignment of interests and incentives between SPAC sponsors and shareholders.  For example, in July, the SEC announced a partially settled enforcement action against a SPAC, the SPAC sponsor, and the CEO of the SPAC, as well as the proposed merger target and the former CEO of the target for misstatements in a registration statement and amendments concerning the target’s technology and business risks.[10]  Please see our prior client alert [link: https://www.gibsondunn.com/sec-fires-shot-across-the-bow-of-spacs/] on this subject for an analysis of the lessons learned from the matter.

In December, the SEC also provided an update to an action originally filed in July[11] against a publicly traded company’s founder and former CEO.[12]  The Commission’s complaint filed in July alleged that the company’s former CEO encouraged investors to follow him on social media to get “accurate information” about the company “faster than anywhere else,” but, instead, he allegedly misled investors about the company’s technological advancements, products, in-house production capabilities, and commercial achievements.  In its December update, the SEC announced that the company agreed to settle the action.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the company agreed to cease and desist from future violations, to certain voluntary undertakings, to pay $125 million in penalties, and to continue cooperating with the SEC’s ongoing litigation and investigation.

D.  Commissioner and Senior Staffing Update

In the waning days of 2021, one of the two Republican-appointed members of the Commission, Commissioner Elad Roisman, announced that he would leave the SEC by the end of January 2022.[13]  The departure will reduce the normally five-member Commission to four members until a replacement is appointed, and will leave Commissioner Hester Peirce as the lone Republican-appointed Commissioner for the time being.  Commissioners Roisman and Peirce have been reliable dissenting voices at the Commission in the last year, and we would expect to see continued dissent from Commissioner Peirce notwithstanding the loss of her fellow-Republican Commissioner ally.

In the second half of 2021, Chair Gensler and Enforcement Director Grewal continued building out the senior staff of the Commission.  Notable appointments included:

  • In July, Daniel Kahl was appointed Acting Director of the Division of Examinations, succeeding Peter Driscoll.[14] Kahl joined the SEC in 2001 as a staff attorney, and most recently served as Deputy Director for Division of Examinations.  He also served as an attorney for FINRA, the Investment Adviser Association, and the North American Securities Administrators Association.
  • In August, Sanjay Wadhwa was named Deputy Director of the Division of Enforcement.[15] Wadhwa has worked for the SEC for 18 years, most recently as the Senior Associate Director of Enforcement for the New York Regional Office.
  • In September, Dan Berkovitz was appointed SEC General Counsel, succeeding John Coates.[16] Berkovitz was previously a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  Mr. Berkovitz has previous experience in private practice and an extensive public service career, including as General Counsel for the CFTC, a senior staff attorney for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management.
  • In early November, Nicole Creola Kelly was named Chief of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower.[17] Kelly is a 20-year veteran of the SEC, most recently serving as Senior Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel.  She was also previously Counsel to SEC Chair Mary Jo White and former SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein.
  • In November, Daniel Gregus was appointed Director of the Chicago Regional Office.[18] He had previously served as acting co-director of the Chicago office.  Gregus has spent 28 years with the SEC in varying roles, including as Associate Director of the National Clearance and Settlement Examination Program and Associate Regional Director for the Broker-Dealer and Exchange Examination Program in the Chicago office.  Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Gregus was in private practice.
  • Also in November, the SEC announced the appointment of Haoxiang Zhu as Director of Division of Trading and Markets.[19] Zhu joins the SEC from academia, most recently holding the post of Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  He also previously served as an academic expert for the CFTC and Bank for International Settlements.  Mr. Zhu is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Working Group on financial markets.
  • In December, Judge James Grimes was named the SEC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, succeeding Brenda Murray.[20] Judge Grimes previously spent 13 years at the Department of Justice, serving as a trial attorney and senior litigation counsel in the Civil Division.  He previously served with the Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, representing service members in courts-martial and representing the government before military appellate courts.
  • Also in December, William Birdthistle was appointed Director of Division of Investment Management.[21] Before joining the SEC, Mr. Birdthistle was a Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where his research focused on investment funds, securities regulation, and corporate governance.  He also previously worked in private practice as a corporate associate for five years.

E.  Whistleblower Awards

The SEC’s whistleblower program remains a significant source of incoming information for the SEC and, as has been true for many years, the significant recovery associated with whistleblower awards continues to grow.  As of year-end 2021, the SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 236 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.

In August, Chair Gensler responded to criticism regarding amendments to the whistleblower rules that were previously adopted in September 2020 and acknowledged that there were concerns regarding whether the amendments would have the effect of chilling whistleblowers from coming forward.[22]  In response, Chair Gensler directed his staff to prepare potential revisions to the rules to address those concerns.  Interim rules were instituted in order to ensure that whistleblowers “with claims pending” while the amended rules are being considered “are not disadvantaged.”[23]  In response, Commissioners Peirce and Roisman issued a strongly worded statement disagreeing with the Commission’s action to “substantively ignore [Commission rules] while proposed amendments are formulated and considered,” calling the course of action “unwise and . . . a troubling and counterproductive precedent.”[24]  As of the end of 2021, the interim rules remain in place and the Commission is moving forward with proposed revisions to the whistleblower rules.

Also in the second half of the year, the Commission announced that not all tips are good tips.  In September, the SEC barred two individuals from the whistleblower award program, each of whom had filed hundreds of award applications that the SEC described as “frivolous” and did not contribute to any successful enforcement action.[25]  The bars were issued pursuant to the 2020 amendments to the Whistleblower Program Rules, which were designed to allow the whistleblower program to operate more effectively and efficiently and to focus on good faith whistleblower submissions.

Significant whistleblower awards granted during the second half of this year included:

  • Two awards in July, including a payment of more than $1 million to a whistleblower who provided “valuable” information and ongoing assistance, which led to an SEC enforcement action;[26] and an award of nearly $3 million to a whistleblower who alerted the SEC to previously unknown conduct and then provided “substantial” additional assistance, which led to a successful enforcement action.[27]
  • Four awards in August, including awards totaling more than $4 million to four whistleblowers in two separate enforcement proceedings, each of whom were described as providing “high-quality information that made an important contribution” to the success of the underlying enforcement action;[28] awards totaling more than $3.5 million to three individuals in two separate enforcement proceedings, one of whom was awarded approximately $2 million for alerting SEC staff to an ongoing fraud, prompting the opening of an investigation;[29] awards of nearly $6 million to two whistleblowers in separate enforcement proceedings, one of whom was awarded more than $3.5 million for reporting new information that caused the SEC to expand an existing investigation into a new geographic area, while the other whistleblower was awarded more than $2.4 million for alerting the SEC to previously unknown conduct, prompting the opening of the investigation;[30] and awards totaling approximately $2.6 million to five whistleblowers in three separate enforcement proceedings who provided information, developed either from the whistleblower’s independent knowledge or the whistleblower’s independent analysis, which “substantially” contributed to a successful enforcement action.[31]
  • Three awards in September—including a notable award of approximately $110 million, consisting of an approximately $40 million award in connection with an SEC case and an approximately $70 million award arising out of related actions by another agency—for providing “significant” independent analysis that “substantially advanced” the investigations.[32] This award stands as the second-highest award in the program’s history, following the over $114 million whistleblower award the SEC issued in October 2020.  Additional awards in September included payments totaling approximately $11.5 million to two whistleblowers, one of whom was awarded nearly $7 million in recognition of the fact that the whistleblower was the initial source that caused the staff to open the investigation into hard-to-detect violations and thereafter provided substantial assistance, while the second whistleblower, by comparison, submitted information after the investigation was already underway and had delayed reporting for several years after becoming aware of the wrongdoing;[33] and an award of approximately $36 million to a whistleblower who provided what the SEC described as “crucial information” on an illegal scheme, which “significantly” contributed to the success of an SEC enforcement action, as well as actions by another federal agency.[34]
  • Two awards in October, including awards totaling approximately $40 million to two whistleblowers, one of whom received approximately $32 million for providing information that caused the opening of the investigation and exposed difficult-to-detect violations, as well as ongoing assistance, while the other whistleblower received approximately $8 million for providing new information during the course of the investigation, but waited several years to report to the Commission;[35] and a payment of more than $2 million to a whistleblower who provided information that led to a successful related action by the U.S. Department of Justice.[36]
  • Two awards in November, including awards totaling more than $15 million to two whistleblowers, one of whom received more than $12.5 million for alerting Commission staff to a fraudulent scheme and prompted the opening of an investigation;[37] and awards totaling approximately $10.4 million to seven whistleblowers who provided information and assistance in three separate covered actions.[38]
  • An award in December of nearly $5 million to a whistleblower who provided information and assistance that led to the success of a covered action, resulting in the return of millions of dollars to investors.[39]

Public company accounting and disclosure cases continued to comprise a significant portion of the SEC’s cases in the latter half of 2021, and included a range of actions concerning earnings management, revenue recognition, impairments, internal controls, and disclosures concerning financial performance.

A.  Financial Reporting Cases

In July, the SEC announced a complaint against the former CEO and CFO of a network infrastructure company for alleged accounting fraud.[40]  From January 2017 to January 2019, the SEC alleged that the executives secretly caused the company to issue nearly $23 million in convertible notes, each of which required complex analyses under GAAP, but instead masked the convertible notes as conventional promissory notes by creating fake copies and forging board signatures to mislead internal and external auditors.  Additionally, from early 2016 to November 2018, the executives allegedly inflated company revenues more than 100% by recording revenues from purportedly completed construction projects for which the infrastructure company had yet to complete the work.  The SEC also alleged that the executives misappropriated $5.4 million from the company for personal use, including salary increases, luxury cars, private jet services, and unauthorized cash payments.  The litigation is ongoing, and the SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, penalties, and officer and director bars against the executives.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also brought criminal charges against the two executives.

Also in July, the SEC announced a settled action against a specialty leather retailer and its former CEO for accounting, reporting, and control failures related to the retailer’s inventory tracking system which could not accurately support the retailer’s inventory accounting methodology.[41]  The SEC alleged that the inventory tracking system resulted in misleading financial statements which, for years, impacted the company’s calculations for income, profits, and inventory.  According to the SEC, the CEO was aware of the inventory tracking system’s shortcomings and did not adequately remedy them, nor institute additional proper accounting controls to ensure that inventory was recorded in accordance with GAAP.  Without admitting or denying the allegations, the retailer and the CEO agreed to cease and desist from future violations and pay a combined penalty of $225,000.

In September, the SEC instituted a settled action against a multinational food company and two former employees for negligently misreporting the company’s financial results.[42]  The SEC alleged that, for multiple years, the food company’s procurement division caused the company to prematurely recognize discounts from suppliers, which reduced the company’s reported cost of goods sold.  The SEC further alleged that the food company’s internal controls relating to accounting for supplier contracts were ineffective, and it alleged that the individual respondents, who had overseen the procurement division, should have known about the accounting misstatements.  Without admitting or denying the allegations, the food company agreed to pay a $62 million civil penalty, which recognized the company’s cooperation and remedial control improvements; one employee consented to a cease-and-desist order and paid disgorgement and a $300,000 civil penalty; and the other employee consented to a permanent injunction, a $100,000 civil penalty, and a five-year ban from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

In December, the SEC instituted a settled action against a dialysis provider and three former executives for improperly calculating and reporting revenue adjustments related to actual and expected payments from patients’ health insurance providers.[43]  The SEC alleged that, from 2017 to 2018, the company manipulated its revenues through accounting adjustments of the difference between what the company anticipated a patient’s insurance might pay for medical treatment and the actual payment received.  The three executives were alleged to have orchestrated a scheme to determine these adjustments not based on the actual difference between expected and received payment for each patient, but rather, based on mathematical calculations to achieve pre-determined revenue figures in any given period.  Furthermore, the adjustments were not reported until they were needed to meet financial targets.  The executives were also alleged to have misled the company’s outside auditor in order to conceal this accounting practice.  Without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the company agreed to resolve the action in a judgment with a permanent injunction and a $2 million fine.  Litigation against the executives remains ongoing, and also includes an allegation of making false statements to the company’s auditors.

B.  Disclosure Cases

In June, the SEC instituted a settled action against a publicly traded provider of title and escrow services, alleging disclosure controls violations related to a cybersecurity vulnerability that exposed sensitive customer information.[44]  The SEC alleged that the issuer’s information security personnel discovered a vulnerability that exposed a large number of customers’ personally identifiable information, but waited several months to escalate and remediate it.  Because information about the incident had not been escalated to senior management, the issuer filed an inaccurate Form 8-K about the incident.  According to the SEC, the issuer failed to maintain adequate disclosure controls designed to ensure that all available, relevant information concerning the vulnerability was analyzed for disclosure.  Without admitting or denying the findings, the issuer agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay approximately $490,000 in civil penalties.

In July, the SEC announced settled actions against a medical diagnostics company and two executives related to allegedly misleading statements regarding the company’s ability to produce COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment (“PPE”) in order to boost its declining stock price.[45]  The SEC alleged that the company issued a series of press releases touting the immediate availability of PPE for sale, and that it would be developing a COVID-19 test which would be “available soon.”  The SEC alleged that, in fact, the company was insolvent, and this prevented it both from developing the COVID-19 test and purchasing or importing PPE for retail sale.  Without admitting or denying the findings, the company and executives consented to a permanent injunction from future violations and combined penalties of $185,000.  The two executives also consented to officer and director bars for three and five years each.

In August, the SEC announced a complaint against the former CEO of a private technology company, alleging that the CEO inaccurately claimed that the company had achieved strong and consistent revenue and customer growth in order to push it to a “unicorn” valuation of over $1 billion.[46]  According to the SEC, the CEO misrepresented the value of numerous customer deals to investors and altered or created invoices to make it appear that customers had been billed at higher amounts than they actually had.  The SEC’s litigation against the former CEO remains ongoing, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced criminal charges against the CEO stemming from the same conduct.

Also in August, the SEC instituted a settled action against a U.K.-based company that provides publishing and other services to schools and universities, alleging that the company made misleading statements and omissions to investors about a cyber breach.[47]  The order alleged that, in 2018, the company experienced a breach that resulted in the theft of millions of student records, including email addresses and dates of birth.  According to the Commission, the company’s disclosures referred to a data privacy incident as a mere hypothetical risk, when, in fact, the breach had already occurred.  Moreover, the company issued a media statement that misstated or omitted certain details about the breach.  The SEC alleged that the company failed to maintain disclosure controls and procedures designed to ensure that those responsible for making disclosure determinations were adequately informed about the breach.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the publisher agreed to cease and desist from future violations and to pay a $1 million civil penalty.

In September, the SEC filed a complaint against the principals of a subprime automobile finance company for allegedly misleading investors about the loans which backed its $100 million offering.[48]  The SEC alleged that the principals inflated the value of these asset-backed securities by including loans that were not eligible in the securitization vehicle, extending loan repayment dates without borrower knowledge to adjust the performance of the securitization vehicle, and forgiving payments from delinquent borrowers without disclosing this fact to investors.  The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, officer and director bars, disgorgement, and civil penalties, and the litigation against the principals remains ongoing.

In November, the SEC announced a settled action against an oilfield services company and its former CEO for allegedly failing to properly disclose the CEO’s executive perks and stock pledges.[49]  The SEC alleged that the CEO caused the company to incur over $380,000 worth of personal and travel expenses and failed to disclose to company personnel that he had pledged all his company stock in private real estate transactions.  The company also failed to properly disclose over $47,000 in unpaid perks to the CEO.  The CEO agreed to pay over $195,000 in civil fines, and both the CEO and the company agreed to cease and desist from further violations, without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.

Also in November, the SEC instituted a settled action against an exchange-traded product (“ETP”), which seeks to track the changes in the spot price of crude oil, and its general partner, a commodity pool operator, alleging that they misled investors about limitations imposed by the ETP’s sole futures commission merchant and broker.[50]  In the wake of the April 2020 shake-up of the oil market brought on by pandemic-related lockdowns, the ETP received record investor inflows while the ETP’s sole futures broker informed the ETP that it would not execute any new oil futures positions.  The SEC alleged that the ETP and its general partner did not fully disclose the character and nature of this limitation to investors until one month after it was first imposed.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the ETP and its general partner agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine to settle the SEC action and a parallel action brought by the CFTC.

C.  Auditor Independence

In August, the SEC instituted a settled action against a Big Four accounting firm and three of its current or former audit partners for conduct which allegedly violated auditor independence rules in connection with the accounting firm’s pursuit to serve as the independent auditor for a public company.[51]  The SEC also instituted a settled action against the public company’s then-Chief Accounting Officer for his role in the alleged misconduct.  The SEC alleged that the accounting firm partners solicited and received confidential competitive intelligence regarding the public company’s audit committee and independent auditor selection process from the public company’s then-Chief Accounting Officer.  This information allegedly caused both the public company and the accounting firm to commit reporting violations because the accounting firm would no longer be able to exercise objective and impartial judgment after the audit engagement began.  Without admitting or denying the findings, the accounting firm and its current and former partners agreed to cease and desist from future violations.  Additionally, the accounting firm agreed to pay a $10 million civil fine and institute controls to prevent future violations, including regular reporting to the SEC.  The individual partners agreed to monetary penalties between $15,000 and $50,000, and agreed to a suspension from appearing or practicing before the SEC for periods of one to three years.  The Chief Accounting Officer, without admitting or denying the allegations, agreed to a civil fine of $51,000 and a two-year suspension from appearing or practicing before the SEC.

In the second half of 2020, the SEC instituted a number of actions against investment advisers.  We discuss notable cases below.

A.  Complex Products

The SEC, in connection with the SEC’s Exchange Traded Product (“ETP”) initiative, filed a settled action in July against a dual-registered broker-dealer and investment adviser,, alleging historic compliance failures related to the sale of a volatility-linked ETP.[52]  According to the SEC, the ETP was designed to track short-term volatility expectations in the market, and the product’s issuer told the company that it was not appropriate to hold the product for an extended period.  The SEC alleged that while the company prohibited the solicitation of the product entirely for brokerage accounts, it allowed more experienced financial advisors who managed client portfolios on a discretionary basis to buy the ETP after mandatory training.  Further, the SEC alleged that although the registrant had adopted a concentration limit on volatility-linked ETPs, it did not implement a system to monitor or enforce that limit.  Finally, the SEC alleged that certain financial advisers misunderstood the appropriate use of the ETP, failed to take sufficient steps to understand the risks of holding onto the ETP for an extended period, and ended up holding the product too long.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the company agreed to a cease-and-desist order, censure, disgorgement of $112,000, and a civil penalty of $8 million.

B.  Material Misrepresentations

In July, the SEC announced a settled action against the subsidiary of an association which keeps records for employer-sponsored retirement plans (“ESPs”) and advises clients on whether to roll over their ESPs into individually managed accounts.[53]  The SEC and the New York Attorney General’s Office brought parallel actions that were simultaneously settled in July.  According to the SEC, the subsidiary made inaccurate and misleading statements to its clients by representing that its advisers acted in the client’s best interest and as fiduciaries.  Further, the SEC alleged that the subsidiary and its employees failed to adequately disclose their conflicts of interest when they made certain recommendations to the clients.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the subsidiary agreed to a cease-and-desist order, to be censured, disgorgement, and a civil penalty totaling $97 million.

In September, the SEC announced a settled action against the CEO and chief portfolio manager of an advisory firm based on allegations of misrepresentations of the performance of funds managed by the firm.[54]  According to the SEC, the executives inflated net asset values and the performance of funds by recording non-binding transactions and fraudulent fees in books and records.  The SEC further alleged that the CEO waived monthly management fees owed to the firm to make it seem as if the funds were achieving better results.  These allegedly inflated results were then used in promotional materials sent to investors.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, the CEO agreed to be barred from the securities industry and to pay over $5 million in disgorgement, and a penalty of almost $300,000.  The chief portfolio manager, also without admitting or denying the allegations, agreed to a limitation on activities in the securities industry for at least three years, and to pay a penalty of $50,000.

In November, the SEC announced that it prevailed in a jury trial against a hedge fund adviser and his investment firm for allegedly reaping profits from making false statements to drive down the price of a pharmaceutical company.[55]  The SEC alleged that the hedge fund had established a short position in the pharmaceutical company, and then made a series of false statements to shake investor confidence in the company and lower its stock price.  These statements included that the pharmaceutical company’s investor relations firm had told the hedge fund adviser that the company’s most profitable drug was nearly obsolete and that the pharmaceutical company had engaged in a risky transaction with an unaudited shell company in an effort to reduce the size of its balance sheet.  These statements and the ultimate decline in stock price allegedly resulted in more than $1.3 million in profits from the short position.  The jury found the hedge fund and its adviser guilty of fraudulent misrepresentations; remedies will be determined at a later date.

In December, the SEC announced a settled action against an investment adviser regarding improper calculation of management fees, which is an area the SEC continues to be focused on, and appears to be expanding into the private fund adviser space.[56]  According to the SEC, the investment adviser failed to adequately offset portfolio company fees against management fees paid to the company, despite promising clients it would do so in the relevant governing documents.  This allegedly led to clients overpaying millions in additional management fees.  The SEC also claimed the adviser made inconsistent statements to clients about how management fees would be calculated.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, the investment adviser agreed to pay a $4.5 million penalty to settle the action.

C.  Misuse of Client Funds

In July, the SEC filed an action against an individual trader at an asset management firm.  According to the SEC, from January 2015 through April 2021, the individual traded stock in his family members’ accounts before or during the time periods when his employer’s advisory clients were executing large orders for the same stock.[57]  The SEC alleges that the trader would then close out the just-established positions in his relatives’ accounts before the client accounts completed their executions.  The SEC alleged the individual conducted a front-running scheme that violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and is seeking disgorgement, penalties, and injunctive relief.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also brought criminal charges against the trader.  Litigation remains ongoing.

The SEC also filed an action in July against the CEO of several real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and his wholly-owned investment advisory firm.[58]  The SEC alleged that the CEO took money from two REITs he founded, put it into a third REIT he had founded, and later caused the same two REITs to enter into money-losing transactions with the third REIT to benefit himself and the third REIT.  According to the SEC, the CEO also made misrepresentations to the boards of the two REITs that resulted in a payment to him, and he also misled investors by causing those REITs to make false and misleading statements in their public filings.  The SEC alleged violations by the CEO of various federal antifraud provisions and is seeking disgorgement, penalties, permanent injunctions, and industry, penny stock, and officer and director bars against the CEO.

In October, the SEC filed am action against a former New Jersey-based financial adviser, alleging that he misappropriated several million dollars from client accounts.[59]  According to the SEC, the adviser used those funds to pay off balances in credit card accounts held by his wife and parents, caused checks to be drawn on his clients’ and customers’ accounts, and used client funds to purchase gold coins and other precious metals, buy luxury goods, and make electronic fund transfers to himself.  The SEC’s complaint alleged violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement, and civil penalties.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey has also filed criminal charges against him.

D.  Implementation of Form CRS

In July, the SEC announced settled actions against 21 investment adviser firms and 6 broker-dealer firms based on allegations that the firms failed to timely file and deliver their client or customer relationship summaries (Form CRS) to their retail investors.[60]  In June 2019, the SEC adopted Form CRS and required SEC-registered investment adviser and broker-dealer firms to take the following actions:  file these forms with the SEC, begin delivering them to prospective and new retail investors by June 2020, deliver them to existing retail investor clients or customers by July 2020, and prominently post the form on their websites.  The SEC alleged that these 27 firms missed the regulatory deadlines and did not comply until they were reminded at least twice over the course of several months by the appropriate regulatory authority.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the firms all agreed to be censured, to a cease-and-desist order, and to pay civil penalties varying from $10,000 to $97,523.

E.  Ineffective Information Barriers

In November, the SEC announced a settled action against a management consulting firm’s wholly-owned registered investment adviser.[61]  The adviser’s advisory clients were limited to current and former employees of the consulting firm.  According to the SEC, the adviser directed the purchase and sale of securities in companies that the consulting firm previously had advised, or currently was advising.  The SEC alleged that the adviser did not maintain adequate policies and procedures to prevent investment decisions from utilizing material nonpublic information obtained through the firm’s consulting work.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the affiliate agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay $18 million to settle the action.

Although not as numerous as prior years, there were nevertheless notable cases involving the conduct of broker-dealers in the latter half of 2021.

A.  Financial Reporting and Recordkeeping

In August, the SEC announced a settled action against an investment firm, its principal, and its trader for allegedly providing erroneous order-marking information on sale orders, causing the fund’s brokers to mismark the sales as “long,” and failing to borrow or locate shares prior to executing the sales.[62]  The firm and its personnel also allegedly engaged in dealer activity without registering with the SEC.  Without admitting or denying the findings, the parties each agreed to cease-and-desist orders, disgorgement fees, and penalties totaling $7.9 million.

In September, the SEC instituted an action against a school district and its former Chief Financial Officer, alleging that they misled investors who purchased $28 million in municipal bonds.[63]  According to the SEC’s complaint and order, the district and CFO provided investors with misleading budget projections indicating the district could cover its costs and would end the fiscal year with a general fund balance of approximately $19.5 million, when in fact the district ended the year with a negative balance of several million dollars.  The CFO agreed to pay a $28,000 penalty.  The district also agreed to settle with the SEC and consented, without admitting or denying any findings, to engage an independent consultant to evaluate its policies and procedures related to its municipal securities disclosures.

B.  Unfair Dealings

In August, the SEC instituted a settled action against a broker-dealer and its former CEO for allegedly engaging in unfair dealing in connection with a municipal bond tender offer.[64]  The SEC’s orders alleged that the broker-dealer recommended to a county that it attempt to reduce the amount of its outstanding debt service expense through a tender offer for bonds it had issued years earlier.  According to the orders, the broker-dealer allegedly purchased millions of dollars of the countys outstanding bonds, sold them to an affiliated entity, and tendered the bonds back to the county at a price that the broker-dealer recommended without disclosing to the county that the affiliate had acquired bonds to be tendered, or the resulting conflict of interest.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the broker-dealer and CEO agreed to pay nearly $400,000 in disgorgement and civil penalties.

In September, and as a continuing part of an industry-wide series of investigations originating nearly five years ago, the SEC announced that a broker-dealer agreed to resolve allegations that it engaged in unfair dealing in municipal bond offerings.[65]  According to the SEC’s order, the broker-dealer allegedly allocated bonds intended for institutional customers and dealers to parties known in the industry as “flippers,” who then resold the bonds to other broker-dealers at a profit.  In addition, the SEC alleged that where an issuer had instructed the broker-dealer to place retail customer orders first, it violated those instructions by allocating bonds to flippers ahead of orders for retail customers, and improperly obtained bonds for its own inventory.  Without admitting or denying the findings, the broker-dealer consented to pay more than $800,000 in penalties and disgorgement.  Among multiple agreements, two employees consented to pay civil penalties of $25,000 and $30,000.

In September, the SEC brought an action against a municipal adviser and its two principals, alleging that they violated their duties by engaging in unregistered municipal advisory activities.[66]  According to the SEC, these actions are the first-ever SEC cases enforcing Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”) Rule G-42 on the duties of non-solicitor municipal advisers.  The SEC’s complaint specifically alleged that the principals entered into an impermissible fee-splitting arrangement with their former employer and did not adequately disclose to their clients the conflicts of interest associated with the illicit arrangement or their relationship with the underwriting firm.  The SEC also alleged that all three parties engaged in municipal advisory activities when they were not registered with the SEC or MSRB.  One principal consented, without admitting or denying any findings, to pay a $26,000 penalty.  The SEC has not announced a settlement with respect to the other two principals.

Also in September, the SEC brought an action against a former managing director and head of fixed income trading at a broker-dealer, alleging that the individual engaged in unauthorized trading in fixed income securities and illegally obtained fictitious commission income.[67]  The conduct came to light after the allegedly illegal trading resulted in the broker-dealer’s bankruptcy in 2019.  The SEC’s complaint alleged that the individual engaged in unauthorized speculative trading in U.S. Treasury securities; incurred millions of dollars in losses for the firm; and obtained commission income based on fictitious commission payments from fabricated customers.  The individual agreed to settle the SEC’s action by consenting to a permanent injunction and to pay disgorgement and a civil penalty in amounts to be determined at a later date.  In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced criminal charges for related misconduct.

In October, the SEC announced an order alleging that a financial services group raised funds on behalf of state-owned entities in Mozambique through two bond offerings and a syndicated loan, and that these proceeds were used to fund a hidden debt scheme, pay kickbacks to investment bankers along with their intermediaries, and bribe foreign government officials.[68]  The SEC’s order also alleged that the company failed to properly address significant and known risks concerning bribery.  The SEC announced that the financial services group agreed to pay $475 million in disgorgement and penalties.

Relatedly, a London-based subsidiary of a Russian bank also agreed to settle SEC allegations in October related to its alleged role in misleading investors in the second bond offering.[69]  According to the SEC’s order, the Russian bank and financial services group’s offering materials failed to disclose Mozambique’s debt and the risk of default on bonds.  The financial services group agreed to pay nearly $100 million in disgorgement and penalties, and the U.S. Department of Justice imposed a $247 million criminal fine.  Without admitting or denying the findings, the Russian bank agreed to pay $6.4 million in disgorgement and penalties.

C.  Internal Policies and Procedures

In August, the SEC instituted three settled actions against eight investment advisers and broker-dealers, alleging that the firms failed to create and maintain adequate cybersecurity policies and procedures in violation of the Safeguards Rule of Regulation S-P.[70]  In all three cases, unauthorized third parties gained access to email accounts, resulting in the exposure of customer data for periods of more than one year.  The Commission alleged that, in two of the cases, the firms violated the Safeguards Rule by failing to adopt and implement enhanced data security measures in a timely manner after discovering the account-takeovers.  In the press release announcing the actions, the SEC stressed that “[i]t is not enough to write a policy requiring enhanced security measures if those requirements are not implemented or are only partially implemented, especially in the face of known attacks.”  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, each firm agreed to cease and desist from future violations, to be censured, and to pay financial penalties totaling $750,000 (across all firms).

In October, the SEC announced a conclusion to its allegations that a clearing agency did not have adequate risk management policies within its Government Securities Division.[71]  In an order, the SEC alleged that the agency failed to comply with rules requiring it to have reasonably designed policies and procedures for holding sufficient qualifying liquid resources to meet the financial obligations created by the potential failure of a large participant.  According to the order, the agency did not conduct a required analysis of the reliability of its liquidity arrangements, failed to conduct required due diligence of its liquidity providers, and failed to adhere to rules requiring it to have reasonably designed policies and procedures for maintaining and periodically reviewing its margin coverage.  The clearing agency agreed to pay an $8 million penalty to settle the SEC’s allegations.

In December, the SEC announced a settled action against a broker-dealer subsidiary of a financial services company, alleging failures by the broker-dealer and its employees to maintain and preserve written communications.[72]  The company admitted that its employees, managing directors and other senior supervisors had communicated about securities business matters on their personal devices, using text messages, WhatsApp, and personal email accounts, and that the majority of these records were not surveilled nor preserved by the firm as required by the federal securities laws.  The company also acknowledged that its failure to capture and retain these records deprived the SEC staff of timely access to evidence and potential sources of information in other investigations.  The company admitted certain facts set forth in the SEC’s order and agreed to pay a $125 million penalty and implement improvements to its compliance policies and procedures.  The CFTC brought a parallel proceeding against the firm and related entities, similarly alleging that the firms’ recordkeeping violated CFTC requirements.[73]  The firm agreed to pay a $75 million penalty and implement remedial measures.

The Commission continued to bring enforcement actions in the area of digital assets throughout 2021.  As in 2020, these actions were based primarily on alleged failures to comply with the requirement to register an offering of assets deemed to be securities or allegations of fraud in the offer and sale of digital assets.  Significant uncertainty remains around exactly how the Commission will approach the regulation of crypto assets going forward.

A.  Significant Developments

As has been true for several years, the Commission has continued to struggle with how to define the ever-expanding collection of products in the digital asset space.  Emblematic of that question is an enforcement action from this summer, along with a follow-on statement from two Commissioners.

In July, the SEC instituted a settled action against the U.K.-based operator of a website for failing to disclose compensation it received from issuers of the digital assets it profiled.[74]  Each profile included links to the token issuer’s websites and a “trust score” that the website stated reflected its evaluation of the “credibility” and “operational risk” for each digital token offering.  In the press release announcing the action, the SEC noted that many of the profiles were published after the Commission issued a 2017 advisory warning that promoters of virtual tokens classified as securities must disclose any compensation received in exchange for the promotion.[75]  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the operator of the website agreed to pay $43,000 in disgorgement and a penalty of approximately $155,000.

Interestingly, Commissioners Peirce and Roisman took the unusual step of issuing a public statement after the above-described action, concurring in the result, but expressing their continued disappointment that the settlement with the operator “did not explain which digital assets touted by [the operator] were securities, an omission which is symptomatic of our reluctance to provide additional guidance about how to determine whether a token is being sold as part of a securities offering or which tokens are securities.”[76]  They continued that “[t]here is a decided lack of clarity for market participants around the application of securities laws to digital assets and their trading . . . [and that despite some guidance m]arket participants have difficulty getting a lawyer to sign off that something is not a securities offering or does not implicate the securities laws; they also cannot get a clear answer, backed by a clear Commission-level statement, that something is a securities offering.”[77]  One proposal put forth by the two Commissioners, which was previously proposed by Commissioner Peirce,[78] is to offer a safe harbor of sorts, which would allow for token offerings to occur subject to a set of tailored protections for token purchasers.

While clarity on this issue is still forthcoming, there remains a groundswell of support from the digital asset community for further clarification on digital asset topics outside anecdotal and incremental progress toward regulatory standards posed by each new enforcement matter.

B.  Registration Cases

In August, the SEC instituted a settled action against a company for operating a web-based trading platform that facilitated the buying and selling of digital assets without registering as a national securities exchange.[79]  The order alleged that the company’s internal communications expressed a desire to be “aggressive” in making new digital assets available for trade, including assets that might be considered securities under the Howey test.  The SEC determined that some of these digital assets were investment contracts, thereby constituting securities.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the company agreed to the entry of a cease-and-desist order and agreed to pay disgorgement of approximately $8.5 million and a civil penalty of $1.5 million.

In September, the Commission instituted a settled action against two U.S. media companies that conducted both an unregistered offering of common stock and an unregistered offering of digital coins, as well as a third company that participated only in the stock offering.[80]  The SEC alleged that the two companies involved in the coin offering promoted the coins to the general public through their websites and social media platforms.  Because the coins were allegedly marketed as an investment opportunity with a likelihood of significant returns, the Commission alleged that they constituted securities.  Without admitting or denying the findings, these two companies agreed to a cease-and-desist order, to pay disgorgement of over $434 million on a joint and several basis, and to each pay a civil penalty of $15 million.  The third company agreed to a cease-and-desist order, to pay disgorgement of more than $52 million, and to pay a civil penalty of $5 million.  The companies also agreed not to participate in any offering of a digital asset security, to assist SEC staff in the administration of a distribution plan, and to publish notice of the SEC’s order on their public websites and social media channels.

The SEC’s enforcement activities extended beyond unregistered offerings to consider the substance of attempted registrations of digital assets deemed securities.  In November, the Commission instituted proceedings against a Wyoming-based company in connection with allegedly incomplete and misleading registration forms.[81]  The effectiveness of the company’s registration of two digital tokens as securities remains stayed pending the completion of the proceedings.  The order alleged that the “Form 10” registration forms submitted by the company lacked material information about the tokens and about the company’s business practices, including audited financial statements.  The SEC further alleged that certain inconsistent statements rendered the Form 10 misleading.  In the press release announcing the action, the SEC stressed that all issuers of securities “must provide the information necessary for investors to make informed decisions.”

C.  Fraud Cases

In August, the SEC instituted a settled action against two Florida men and their Cayman Islands decentralized finance (“DeFi”) company in connection with their unregistered sales of two types of digital tokens.[82]  In offering and selling the tokens, the company stated that it would use investor assets to purchase income-generating “real world” assets, such as car loans.  The order alleged that the company misrepresented its business practices by claiming to have purchased these loans.  The SEC alleged that, although the men controlled another company that owned car loans, the DeFi company never acquired any ownership interest in those loans.  Instead, the Commission alleged that the men used personal funds and funds from the other company they controlled to make principal and interest payments for the DeFi company.  The respondents, without admitting or denying the findings, consented to a cease-and-desist order that included over $12 million in disgorgement and $125,000 penalties for each of the men.  Additionally, prior to the order, the respondents funded contracts that allowed those who held tokens to redeem their tokens and receive all principal and interest owed.

In September, the SEC filed an action against an online cryptocurrency lending platform, its founder, its top U.S. promoter, and the promoter’s affiliated company in connection with approximately $2 billion of unregistered sales of investments in their “Lending Program.”[83]  The lending platform, with the help of its promoter, allegedly represented that it would generate high returns on its customers’ investments by using a proprietary “volatility software trading bot.”  Instead, the complaint alleged, the company transferred investor funds to digital wallets controlled by the company, its founder, its promoter, and others.  The complaint further alleged that the company misled investors by failing to disclose commissions paid to promoters around the world.  The SEC previously reached settlements with two individuals in a related action for promoting the lending program, and the company’s top U.S. promoter pled guilty to criminal charges brought by the Department of Justice.  The litigation remains ongoing.

In November, the SEC filed an action against a California individual for allegedly conducting two unregistered securities offerings and misappropriating investor funds.[84]  The SEC found that he had raised over $3.6 million in Bitcoin from these offerings by promising an extremely high rate of return on the investments through, among other activities, fulfillment of social media marketing orders and “cryptocurrency trading and advertising arbitrage.”  The complaint alleges that he used at least $1 million of investor funds to pay personal expenses and, despite representations to the contrary, prevented investors from withdrawing their funds.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California has also brought criminal charges against the individual.  The litigation remains ongoing.

In December, the SEC filed an action against a Latvian citizen for allegedly conducting two fraudulent offerings, one involving the sale of unregistered digital tokens as part of an ICO and the other involving the investment of digital assets in a cloud mining company.[85]  In the former, the individual claimed users of the token could store their digital assets in a secure digital wallet and then spend them “like any other debit card,” but the complaint alleges that all of these claimed products and services were fictitious.  In the latter, the individual claimed that investors would receive a daily “automatic payout” from a cloud mining program, but the complaint similarly alleges that these services never existed.  The complaint alleges that the individual used fictitious names, phone numbers, addresses, and online profiles to market both offerings and misappropriated nearly all funds raised from each.  The litigation remains ongoing.

In addition to a significant uptick in insider trading enforcement actions in the second half of 2021, an indication that the SEC has reinvigorated its focus on insider trading cases, the SEC suffered a rare trial loss (after the alleged tipper defendant settled[86]) in a previously discussed insider trading case.

In December 2020, the SEC brought a case against a mortgage broker accused of being tipped by his brother-in-law, who was corporate controller at an IT company whose stock and options were traded by the broker.[87]  The case went to trial in late 2021, and after the close of the SEC’s case, the defense moved, as is typical, for a Rule 50 Judgment as a Matter of Law.  Surprisingly, and without the defense presenting any portion of its case, the court granted the defense’s motion and dismissed the case.[88]  The SEC’s case was built around circumstantial evidence of what it characterized as “highly suspicious trading,” but the judge concluded that neither the timing nor the manner of the trading nor the communications between the brothers-in-law were suspicious.  Despite surviving all pre-trial motions to dismiss the case, the judge concluded that he was having trouble finding “any circumstantial evidence that would justify a finding that [the broker] got insider information and took some action on it.”  Whether the SEC will file an appeal remains an open question, but as of yet, no appeal has been filed.

Below is an overview of insider trading enforcement actions brought in the second half of 2021.  Of particular note are two cases alleging insider trading against corporate outsiders who obtained material nonpublic information through unauthorized computer systems access.

A.  Cases Arising from Unauthorized Computer Systems Access

In July, the SEC filed an action against a foreign national who was allegedly selling stolen “insider trading tips” to individual investors on the dark web.[89]  According to the SEC’s complaint, beginning in December 2016, the individual obtained stolen order-book data from a securities trading firm as well as pre-release earnings reports of publicly traded companies and subsequently sold that information to investors.  The SEC’s complaint is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement, and civil penalties.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed parallel criminal charges against the individual.

In December, the SEC filed an action against five Russian nationals for allegedly trading based on stolen corporate earnings announcements obtained by hacking into the systems of two U.S.-based filing agent companies.[90]  According to the allegations in the SEC’s complaint, one of the individuals hacked into the filing agents’ systems and fed the earnings information to his associates, who then used 20 different brokerage accounts located around the world to make trades before over 500 corporate earnings announcements.  According to the SEC, the trades occurred between 2018 and 2020 and netted at least $82 million in profits.  The SEC complaint further alleged that the defendants shared the profits by funneling them through a Russian information technology company in which some of the individuals were involved as founders and directors.  The SEC’s complaint seeks civil penalties, disgorgement, and injunctive relief.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts filed parallel criminal charges against all five individuals and announced that one of the individuals has been extradited to the United States from Switzerland.

B.  Other Insider Trading Cases

In July, the SEC filed an action against three individuals with insider trading related to stock purchases in advance of an announcement by a beverage company that it was pivoting its business to focus on blockchain technology.[91]  The SEC’s complaint alleged that an insider at the company provided confidential information related to the planned changes to his friend, who then subsequently passed that information on to another friend, who ultimately purchased 35,000 shares that resulted in profits of over $160,000 when the information was made public.  The SEC’s complaint seeks permanent injunctions and civil penalties against all three individuals, and an officer and director ban for the company insider.  The SEC also revoked the registration of the company’s securities as part of the action.  Two of the individuals involved in the case are currently in litigation with the SEC over an alleged market manipulation scheme.  The two individuals pled guilty to criminal charges in a parallel action brought in relation to the alleged market manipulation scheme.

In August, the SEC filed an action against a former employee of a biopharmaceutical company with insider trading based on trades made in advance of the company’s announcement that it would be acquired by a major pharmaceutical company.[92]  The SEC’s complaint alleged that the former employee, then the head of business development at the biopharmaceutical company, purchased short-term, out-of-the-money options of a similar pharmaceutical company after learning that his company was getting acquired by a large pharmaceutical company at a significant premium.  The SEC’s complaint alleged that the employee made the purchase just minutes after learning that the investment bankers had listed the similar company as a comparable company in their discussions with his company over valuations.  The SEC’s complaint alleged that the trading netted the former employee profits of just over $100,000, and seeks injunctive relief, a civil penalty, and an officer and director bar for the employee.  A motion to dismiss in the case was recently denied, and litigation is ongoing.[93]

Also in August, the SEC filed an action against three former software engineers and two of their associates with insider trading.[94]  The SEC alleged that a former employee and two associates made trades based on confidential, nonpublic information about subscriber growth at the former employee’s streaming media company.  The SEC’s complaint alleges that the former employees had passed along confidential information about subscriber growth, which was a key metric reported alongside their company’s quarterly earnings, to their close acquaintances, who traded the stock in advance of the key earnings releases.  The SEC’s complaint alleged that the trades netted approximately $3 million in profits.  All five individuals consented to judgments that impose various injunctive relief and civil penalties, including, for one of the software engineers, an officer and director ban.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington filed parallel criminal charges against two of the software engineers and the two associates.

In September, the SEC announced a settlement with a leading alternative data provider company and its co-founder based on allegations that it engaged in deceptive practices and made material misrepresentations about how its alternative data was derived.[95]  The SEC alleged that the co-founder, in order to induce companies to share their data, made assurances to those companies that their data would be aggregated and anonymized prior to being fed into a statistical model.  However, the SEC alleged that for approximately four years, the company used non-aggregated and non-anonymized data to alter its model-generated estimates of app performance to make them more valuable to the trading firms that it sold the estimates to.  The SEC also alleged that the company further misrepresented to their trading firm customers that it generated the estimates in a way that was consistent with the consents they obtained from their data-providing clients and that they had effective internal controls to prevent the misuse of confidential data and to ensure compliance with federal securities laws.  The SEC alleged that the company and its co-founder were aware that the trading firm customers were making investment decisions based on the estimates, and in fact touted how closely their data correlated with the companies’ true performance and provided guidance to the trading firms as to how they could use the estimates to trade ahead of upcoming earnings announcements.  As part of the settlement agreement, neither the company nor the co-founder admitted any wrongdoing.  However, both consented to a cease-and-desist order that included a $10 million penalty for the company and a $300,000 penalty for the co-founder.  The settlement also included a three-year public company officer and director ban for the co-founder.

Also in September, the SEC brought an action against a former IT manager at a pharmaceutical company with insider trading based on four trades made just prior to public announcements that were allegedly based on material nonpublic information shared with him by a former colleague at the company.[96]  The SEC’s complaint alleged that the manager used nonpublic information on the company’s earnings, drug approvals, and a pending merger with a major pharmaceutical company to place highly profitable options trades.  The SEC alleged that the manager made over $8 million in combined profits and avoided losses, and shared some of his profit with the former colleague in the form of overseas cash payments.  The manager consented to a judgment which enjoined him from violating the alleged provisions and barred him from acting as an officer or director of a public company, with civil penalties in an amount to be determined by the court.  The U.S. Department of Justice, Fraud Section, announced parallel criminal charges against the manager.

In September, the SEC brought an action against a quantitative analyst who worked at two prominent asset management firms for allegedly perpetuating a years-long front-running scheme that generated at least $8.5 million in profits.[97]  The SEC alleged that the analyst used information he had about his firm’s securities orders to place similar orders just before the firm on nearly 3,000 occasions, taking advantage of the price movements caused by the firm’s trades.  The SEC’s complaint alleges that the analyst utilized his wife’s brokerage account to make the trades.  The SEC’s complaint seeks disgorgement plus interest, civil penalties, and injunctive relief.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed parallel criminal charges against the analyst.

Also in September, the SEC brought an action against a compliance analyst, who was a foreign national working at an overseas office of an investment bank, for allegedly placing trades in advance of corporate events involving the investment bank’s clients.[98]  The SEC’s complaint alleges that the individual used his position as a compliance analyst to place trades in advance of at least 45 events involving the investment bank’s clients.  The SEC alleged that the individual took steps to avoid detection, including only placing relatively small trades and using multiple U.S.-based brokerage accounts held in his parent’s name.  The SEC obtained an emergency court freezing the individual’s assets.  The trades allegedly generated more than $471,000 in gains.  The SEC is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement, and a civil penalty, and has also named the individual’s parents as relief defendants in the action.

In November, the SEC brought an action against a partner at a global management consulting firm for insider trading.[99]  The SEC alleged that the partner purchased out-of-the-money call options of a company after he learned that one of the consulting firm’s clients would be acquiring the company.  According to the SEC’s complaint, the partner sold the options the morning of the acquisition announcement, just days before they were set to expire, for profits totaling over $450,000.  The SEC also alleged that the partner violated his firm’s policies by failing to pre-clear the trades.  The SEC’s complaint seeks injunctive relief and a civil penalty.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed parallel criminal charges against the partner.

In December, the SEC brought an action against a medical school alleging insider trading in the securities of a biotechnology company in advance of that company’s announcement of positive drug trial results for its flagship drug candidate.[100]  The SEC alleged that the professor entered into a consulting relationship with the biotechnology company to serve as its lead clinical investigator for the drug trial, and that, through his role, he learned material nonpublic information about the drug trial results.  The complaint alleged that upon learning of the positive results, the professor purchased over 8,000 shares of the company’s stock, which, upon release of the drug trial results, rose approximately 300% and generating gains of over $130,000.  The SEC reached a settlement with the professor that, if approved by the court, provides for a permanent injunction and a civil penalty in an amount to be determined by the court at a later date.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced parallel criminal charges against the professor.

There were three alleged market manipulation schemes that were the focus of SEC enforcement actions during the second half of 2021.

In September, the SEC, in two separate complaints, commenced actions against four people and five entities in an allegedly fraudulent microcap operation that generated more than $10 million in profits.[101]  The SEC also sought an order to freeze the assets of seven of the defendants and one relief defendant.  According to the SEC’s first complaint, one of the individuals and his son allegedly acquired millions of shares in U.S. publicly traded microcap companies, disguised their control over the companies, and then dumped their shares into the public markets in violation of the securities laws.  The SEC alleged that, while concealing their holdings in the companies, they allegedly engaged in manipulative trading and generated artificial demand for the stock by making misleading statements to investors.  According to the SEC’s second complaint, two associates of the individual and his son allegedly used their roles as officers or majority shareholders at several of the microcap companies to hide the individual’s control, while simultaneously helping him and his son acquire and then sell millions of the companies’ shares.  The SEC also alleged that one of the associates made false and misleading statements in response to subpoenas issued by the SEC and during a subsequent interview.  The SEC is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement and civil penalties against all of the parties.  The SEC is also seeking penny stock bars against three of the non-entity defendants, conduct-based injunctions against the individual and his son, and officer and director bars against the two company-insider associates.

Also in September, the SEC brought an action against an individual and his friend for allegedly engaging in a coordinated operation to collect liquidity rebates from exchanges by wash trading put options of certain “meme stocks” in early 2021.[102]  The SEC’s complaint alleged that the individual was able to generate at least $668,000 in profits from approximately 11,400 trades made in a way that took advantage of a certain brokerage firms’ maker-taker rebate programs.  The friend generated approximately $51,000 in profits as a result of approximately 2,300 trades.  The SEC alleged that the individual placed initial orders on one side of the market utilizing brokerage accounts that passed rebates back to their customers and then placed opposite orders in brokerage accounts that did not charge trading fees, thereby essentially trading with himself and retaining the rebates.  The SEC alleged that the practice impacted the market by skewing the volume in certain option contracts and induced other traders to place trades in otherwise illiquid option contracts.  Litigation against the individual is ongoing.  The friend, without admitting or denying the allegations, consented to a judgment providing for injunctive relief, disgorgement and a civil monetary penalty of $25,000.

In October, the SEC brought an action against a webcast host for allegedly making more than 100 false statements regarding public companies.[103]  According to the SEC’s complaint, the host received advance notice of companies about which another individual allegedly planned to spread false statements, after which the host shared the names of those companies with his subscribers.  The SEC alleged that the conduct led to temporary increases in the companies’ stock prices and netted the host more than $347,000 in profits.  The SEC alleged that the host was working as part of a broader group; the complaint follows a similar complaint against a different individual allegedly involved in the scheme.  The host agreed to cooperate with the SEC and has consented to the entry of a judgment that provides for injunctive relief, disgorgement, a civil penalty in an amount to be determined by the court, a penny stock bar and a bar from the securities industry generally.  The host also pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought in a parallel action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

Also in October, the SEC filed an emergency action and obtained an injunction and asset freeze against an individual, alleging that he used his Twitter handle to encourage his followers to buy stocks in which the individual had holdings.[104]  According to the SEC, the individual encouraged his followers to invest in the stock and then sold his own stock at inflated prices while continuing to recommend on Twitter that people purchase the stock.  The SEC has alleged violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement, civil penalties, and the asset freeze already granted by the court.

The SEC continued to bring numerous offering fraud cases, which often allege violations by individuals and companies that target particular groups of investors, sometimes referred to as affinity frauds.

A.  Penny Stock Schemes

In August, the SEC brought an action against a company, its CEO, and several other entities and individuals with participating in an alleged penny stock fraud scheme.[105]  According to the SEC, the company bought shares of another company’s stock with the understanding that the offering proceeds would be used to secretly finance stock promotions.  Those involved then allegedly misled investors about how offering proceeds would be used and the promotional activities undertaken to boost the value of the stock.  The SEC has alleged violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil penalties, permanent injunctive relief, and penny stock bar, and officer and director bars.

In August, the SEC brought an emergency action against a public company’s chairman, several of his associates, and several clients of the company.[106]  The SEC alleged that the chairman and his associates masterminded and implemented a scheme that allowed the clients—who controlled microcap companies—to conceal their control and ownership of those companies through a network of offshore shell companies.  According to the SEC, the clients used this system to dump their stock while hiding their control positions from investors.  In December, the SEC alleged violations by three more clients for activity stemming from the same alleged scheme.[107]  In both complaints, the SEC seeks permanent injunctions, conduct based injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties and penny stock bars.

B.  Frauds Targeting Senior Citizens and Retirees

In August, the SEC filed several actions based on different Ponzi-like schemes.  In one, the SEC brought an emergency action and obtained temporary relief against a Minnesota couple and various entities they controlled.  According to the SEC, the couple raised almost $17.6 million by promising friends and family—including many elderly retirees—that investments would be used to trade foreign currencies.[108]  The SEC’s complaint alleged that, in fact, funds were used to pay returns to existing investors and to support other businesses.  The SEC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties, and an asset freeze.

Also in August, the SEC brought an emergency action against an individual along with the investment adviser with which he was associated, and an investment fund he controlled.[109]  The SEC alleged that he—and persons directed by him—raised more than $110 million from investors—including many elderly retirees—for his investment fund and then used money from new investors to pay earlier investors.  The SEC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties, an asset freeze, and the appointment of a receiver.

In a similar case, the SEC brought an emergency action, and obtained an asset freeze and temporary relief, against an individual who allegedly used an investment adviser to solicit over $10 million in investments from clients—many of whom were elderly—into an investment fund, only to use the funds for Ponzi-like payments.[110]  The SEC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties.

C.  Frauds Targeting Affinity Groups

In September, the SEC brought an action against a payday loan company and its CEO for an alleged Ponzi-like scheme targeting South Florida’s Venezuelan-American community.[111]  According to the SEC’s complaint, the CEO raised at least $66 million by telling investors that their money would be used to make payday loans, but in reality, he misappropriated the funds for personal use and to make payments to other investors.  The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties from each of the defendants and an officer and director bar against the CEO.

D.  Frauds Related to Natural Resource Offerings

In September, the SEC announced a settled action against two individuals and the entities they controlled for making misrepresentations in connection with unregistered oil and gas securities offerings.[112]  The two individuals—acting as unregistered brokers—allegedly made material misstatements regarding debt and equity securities in oil and gas wells they sold to retail investors.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, the two entities each agreed to pay a civil penalty of $225,000, and the individuals each agreed to pay a civil penalty of $75,000, and further agreed to prohibitions on future undertakings related to offerings.

Also in September, the SEC brought an action against a mining company and its two managing members for their participation in an unregistered offering related to a Columbian mining venture.[113]  According to the SEC’s complaint, the two individuals raised approximately $2.7 million by misrepresenting to investors that they could share in the profits of a Columbian gold mining operation and that all the necessary permits had been obtained.  The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties.  To date, one of the managing members has offered to settle with the SEC for a permanent injunction, disgorgement, and penalties totaling approximately $820,000.

E.  Misuse of Investor Funds

In July, the SEC filed an emergency action and sought and received a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against an investment firm and two individuals associated with the firm.[114]  According to the SEC’s complaint, the firm represented to investors that their money would be invested according to recommendations made by an artificial intelligence supercomputer that consistently provided large returns for investors.  The SEC alleged that defendants then misused investor money for personal use and for paying other investors.  The complaint alleged the firm and two individuals violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.  Further, the complaint alleged that one individual acted as the control person under the Exchange Act.  The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties.

Also in July, the SEC filed a settled action against an individual in connection with his involvement in two companies.[115]  According to the SEC, he misappropriated investor funds and used those funds for personal use, secretly sold stock while paying promoters to recommend the same stock to retail investors, failed to provide the required disclosures in connection with his stock trading, and made material misrepresentations to investors regarding one company’s products.  The SEC sought injunctive relief, an officer and director bar, a penny stock bar, disgorgement, and civil penalties.  Without admitting or denying the allegations, the individual consented to a settlement that included an injunction, an officer and director bar and penny stock bars, and disgorgement and civil penalty in excess of $1.3 million.

In August, the SEC brought an emergency action and obtained temporary relief against two entities and the individual who controlled them to stop an alleged Ponzi scheme.[116]  The SEC alleged that the individual told investors that offering proceeds would be used to fund small business loans.  According to the SEC, only a small portion of the $70 million raised was used for such small business loans; instead, the rest was used to pay returns to prior investors and to pay sales agents who promoted the investments.  The SEC complaint seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties, as well as an officer and director bar against the individual.

In September, the SEC brought an emergency action and obtained an asset freeze against a real estate company and its president for alleged securities fraud in connection with EB-5 offerings tied to two development projects.[117]  According to the SEC, the president raised more than $229 million by misrepresenting the source of financing for the projects, the scope of the projects, and the experience of the development and construction teams in offering materials, then misappropriated millions of dollars for unauthorized purposes.  The complaint requests a permanent injunction, disgorgement, civil penalties, an asset freeze, and the appointment of a monitor.

F.  Misleading Statements to Investors

In July, the SEC filed an emergency action against an individual, alleging that he made misleading statement to encourage investors to invest in several microcap companies.[118]  According to the SEC, the individual and others he worked with encouraged investors to make such investments during high pressure sales calls or email promotions and the individual received money from the stock sale proceeds of one of the microcap companies.  The SEC is seeking an asset freeze, permanent injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties, and penny stock and officer and director bars.

The SEC filed an emergency action in July against an investment company and its director.[119]  According to the SEC, the company and its director raised money from investors by falsely representing that the company had sufficient funds to acquire three Italian cycling companies and that the director had invested his own money in the offerings.  The SEC alleged that the director misappropriated the funds for personal use and hid from investors the fact that the company had failed to acquire the cycling companies.  The complaint seeks emergency relief, permanent injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties, and a conduct-based injunction, and an officer and director bar against the director.

The SEC also filed an action in July against an individual, alleging that he made misrepresentations to investors, created false documents, misappropriated investor funds, and acted as an unregistered broker-dealer.[120]  According to the SEC, the individual falsely represented to investors that he was a licensed securities professional, provided false documents showing that he was associated with a licensed broker-dealer, and further provided false account statements and trading data to make it appear that his trading on their behalf was generating more value than it was.  The SEC alleges violations of the antifraud provisions and broker-dealer registration provisions of the federal securities laws.  The complaint seeks an injunction, disgorgement, and a civil penalty.

In September, the SEC brought an action against three individuals—as well as a funding portal and its CEO—for their roles in selling nearly $2 million of unregistered securities through crowdfunding offerings.[121]  According to the SEC, the three individuals misrepresented information in their crowdfunding offering, which they conducted through two cannabis and hemp companies.  Specifically, one of the individuals hid his involvement in the offerings due to concerns about a prior criminal conviction.  The SEC also brought an action against the registered funding portal and its CEO that hosted the offerings for allegedly failing to address red flags—such as the prior criminal conviction—associated with the offerings.  The complaint seeks injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties.

In October, the SEC filed an action against a hemp company and its co-founders for allegedly making misrepresentations to investors.[122]  According to the SEC, the company misrepresented that it was a fully integrated company processing its own hemp, misstated historical revenue numbers, and provided unsupported projections for future revenues.  Further, the SEC alleges that the co-founders misappropriated several million dollars from the company for personal use.  The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties, and officer and director and penny stock bars against the co-founders.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed criminal charges against the individual co-founders.

The SEC also filed an action in October against a real estate investment company and its co-founders.[123]  According to the SEC, the company and its co-founders made misrepresentations to investors about the source of investor returns and paid investors using funds raised from other investors.  Further, one of the co-founders allegedly made representations to investors about his education in finance and his investment experience without disclosing that he had been barred by FINRA from affiliating with any FINRA-member firm.  The SEC’s complaint alleged the company and its co-founders violated the antifraud and securities offering and broker-dealer registration provisions of the federal securities laws.  The complaint is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil penalties.

In November, the SEC brought an emergency action and obtained temporary relief against a claims aggregator—a firm that submits claims to administrators tasked with returning settlement funds to harmed investors—and its three principals in federal court.[124]  According to the SEC, these individuals, and the entities they control, stole at least $40 million from 400 distribution funds by submitting false claims to settlement fund administrators.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania filed parallel criminal charges against the three principals.  In addition to the asset freeze and temporary restraining order granted by the court, the SEC is seeking disgorgement and civil penalties.

__________________________

[1]  SEC Speech, PLI Broker/Dealer Regulation and Enforcement 2021, Gurbir Grewal, Division of Enforcement (Oct. 6, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/grewal-pli-broker-dealer-regulation-and-enforcement-100621.

 [2]  SEC Speech, Remarks at SEC Speaks 2021, Gurbir Grewal, Director, Division of Enforcement (Oct. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/grewal-sec-speaks-101321.

 [3]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Dialysis Provider and Three Former Senior Executives with Revenue Manipulation Scheme (December 6, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-252.


[4]  SEC Speech, Remarks at SEC Speaks 2021, Gurbir Grewal, Director, Division of Enforcement (Oct. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/grewal-sec-speaks-101321.

[5] SEC Press Release, JPMorgan Admits to Widespread Recordkeeping Failures and Agrees to Pay $125 Million Penalty to Resolve SEC Charges (December 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-262.

[6] SEC Speech, Remarks at SEC Speaks 2021, Gurbir Grewal, Director, Division of Enforcement (Oct. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/grewal-sec-speaks-101321.

 [7]  SEC Speech, Prepared Remarks at the Securities Enforcement Forum, Chair Gary Gensler (Nov. 4, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/gensler-securities-enforcement-forum-20211104.

 [8]  SEC Speech, Remarks at SEC Speaks 2021, Gurbir Grewal, Director, Division of Enforcement (Oct. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/grewal-sec-speaks-101321.


 [9]  SEC Press Release, SEC Announces Enforcement Results for FY 2021 (Nov. 18, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-238.


 [10]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges SPAC, Sponsor, Merger Target, and CEOs for Misleading Disclosures Ahead of Proposed Business Combination (July 13, 2021), https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-124.


 [11]  SEC Press Release, Nikola Corporation to Pay $125 Million to Resolve Fraud Charges (Dec. 21, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-267.


 [12]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Founder of Nikola Corp. With Fraud (July 29, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-141.


 [13]  SEC Statement, Statement of Commissioner Elad L. Roisman (Dec. 20, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/statement/roisman-20211220.


 [14]  SEC Press Release, Daniel S. Kahl Appointed Acting Director of the Division of Examinations; Peter B. Driscoll to Depart Agency (July 14, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-126.


 [15]  SEC Press Release, Sanjay Wadhwa Named Deputy Director of Enforcement Division (Aug. 18, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-157.


 16]  SEC Press Release, Dan Berkovitz Named SEC General Counsel; John Coates to Leave SEC (Sept. 28, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-198.


 [17]  SEC Press Release, Nicole Creola Kelly Named Chief of SEC Whistleblower Office (Nov. 5, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-225.


 [18]  SEC Press Release, Daniel R. Gregus Named Director of Chicago Office (Nov. 15, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-234.


 [19]  SEC Press Release, SEC Appoints Haoxiang Zhu Director of Division of Trading and Markets (Nov. 19, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-242.


 [20]  SEC Press Release, James E. Grimes Named Chief Administrative Law Judge at SEC (Dec. 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-263.


 [21]  SEC Press Release, William Birdthistle Named Director of Division of Investment Management (Dec. 21, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-268.


[22]  SEC Public Statement, Statement in Connection with the SEC’s Whistleblower Program (Aug. 2, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/gensler-sec-whistleblower-program-2021-08-02.

 [23]  SEC Rules Release, Procedures for the Commission’s Use of Certain Authorities Under Rule 21F-3(B)(3) and Rule 21F-6 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, available at https://www.sec.gov/rules/policy/2021/34-92565.pdf.

 [24] SEC Public Statement, Statement on the Commission’s Action to Disregard Recently-Amended Whistleblower Rules (Aug. 5, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/peirce-roisman-whistleblower-procedures-2021-08-05.


 [25] SEC Press Release, SEC Bars Two Individuals from Whistleblower Award Program (Sept. 28, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-199.


 [26]  SEC Press Release, SEC Awards More Than $1 Million to Whistleblower (July 15, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-128.


 [27]  SEC Press Release, SEC Awards Nearly $3 Million to Whistleblower (July 21, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-134.


 [28]  SEC Press Release, SEC Issues Whistleblower Awards Totaling More Than $4 Million (Aug. 2, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-143.


 [29]  SEC Press Release, SEC Awards $3.5 Million to Whistleblowers in Two Enforcement Actions (Aug. 6, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-146.


 [30]  SEC Press Release, SEC Issues Nearly $6 Million in Whistleblower Awards (Aug. 10, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-149.


 [31]  SEC Press Release, SEC Issues Whistleblower Awards Totaling $2.6 Million (Aug. 27, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-168.


 [32]  SEC Press Release, SEC Surpasses $1 Billion in Awards to Whistleblowers with Two Awards Totaling $114 Million (Sept. 15, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-177.


 [33]  SEC Press Release, SEC Awards $11.5 Million to Two Whistleblowers (Sept. 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-180.


 [34]  SEC Press Release, SEC Awards Approximately $36 Million to Whistleblower (Sept. 24, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-192.


 [35]  SEC Press Release, SEC Awards $40 Million to Two Whistleblowers (Oct. 15, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-211.


 [36]  SEC Press Release, SEC Awards More Than $2 Million to Whistleblower for Successful Related Action (Oct. 29, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-220.


 [37]  SEC Press Release, SEC Issues Awards Totaling More Than $15 Million to Two Whistleblowers (Nov. 10, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-232.


 [38]  SEC Press Release, SEC Issues Whistleblower Awards Totaling Approximately $10.4 Million (Nov. 22, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-243.


 [39]  SEC Press Release, SEC Issues Whistleblower Nearly $5 Million Award (Dec. 7, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-253.


 [40]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Executives of Network Infrastructure Company with Accounting Fraud (July 15, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-127.


 [41]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Retailer and Former CEO for Accounting, Reporting, and Control Failures (July 21, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-133.


 [42]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges The Kraft Heinz Company and Two Former Executives for Engaging in Years-Long Accounting Scheme (Sept. 3, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-174.


 [43]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Dialysis Provider and Three Former Senior Executives with Revenue Manipulation Scheme (Dec. 6, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-252.


 [44]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Issuer with Cybersecurity Disclosure Controls Failures (Jun. 15, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-102.


 [45]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Company and Two Executives for Misleading COVID-19 Disclosures (July 7, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-120.


 [46]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Former CEO of Technology Company with $80 Million Fraud (Aug. 25, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-164.


 [47]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Pearson plc for Misleading Investors About Cyber Breach (Aug. 16, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-154.


 [48]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Principals of Subprime Automobile Finance Company with Fraud (Sept. 23, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-189.


 [49]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Oilfield Services Company and Former CEO With Failing to Disclose Executive Perks and Stock Pledges (Nov. 22, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-244.


 [50]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Exchange-Traded Product and Its General Partner With Disclosure Failures (Nov. 8, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-229.


 [51]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Ernst & Young, Three Audit Partners, and Former public Company CAO with Audit Independence Misconduct (Aug. 2, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-144.


 [52]  SEC Press Release, UBS Settles Charges Related to Investments in Complex Exchange-Traded Product (July 19, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-130.


 [53]  SEC Press Release, SEC Announces $97 Million Enforcement Action Against TIAA Subsidiary for Violations in Retirement Rollover Recommendations (July 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-123.


 [54]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Former Executives of Registered Investment Advisor with Fraud (Sept. 30, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-204.


 [55]  SEC Press Release, SEC Wins Jury Trial: Hedge Fund Adviser Found Liable for Securities Fraud (Nov. 5, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-224.


 [56]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Private Equity Fund Advisor with Fee and Expense Disclosure Failures (Dec. 20, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-266.


 [57]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Hedge Fund Trader in Lucrative Front-Running Scheme (July 2, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-118.


 [58]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Real Estate CEO with Defrauding Investors (July 30, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-142.


 [59]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Financial Advisor With Stealing Investor Funds to Pay Off Credit Cards, Buy Gold Coins (Oct. 28, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-217.


 [60]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges 27 Financial Firms for Form CRS Filing and Delivery Failures (July 26, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-139.


[61]  SEC Press Release, McKinsey Affiliate to Pay $18 Million for Compliance Failures in Handling Nonpublic Information (Nov. 19, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-241.


 [62]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Investment Adviser and Associated Individuals with Causing Violations of Regulation SHO (Aug. 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-156.


 [63]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges School District and Former Executive with Misleading Investors in Bond Offering (Sept. 16, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-178.


 [64]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Underwriter and Its Former CEO With Misconduct In Muni Bond Tender Offer (Aug. 26, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-166.


 [65]  SEC Press Release, RBC Charged With Failing to Give Priority to Retail and Institutional Investors in Municipal Offerings (Sept. 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-179.


 [66]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Firm and Two Principals in First-Ever Actions Enforcing Rule on Duties of Municipal Advisors (Sept. 23, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-188.


 [67]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Rogue Trader Who Bankrupted His Firm (Sept. 30, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-205.


 [68]  SEC Press Release, Credit Suisse to Pay Nearly $475 Million to U.S. and U.K. Authorities to Resolve Charges in Connection with Mozambican Bond Offerings (Oct. 19, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-213.


 [69] Id.


 [70]  SEC Press Release, SEC Announces Three Actions Charging Deficient Cybersecurity Procedures (Aug. 30, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-169.


 [71]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Fixed Income Clearing Corp. With Having Inadequate Risk Management Policies (Oct. 29, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-219.


 [72]  SEC Press Release, JPMorgan Admits to Widespread Recordkeeping Failures and Agrees to Pay $125 Million Penalty to Resolve SEC Charges (Dec. 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-262.


 [73]  CFTC Press Release, CFTC Orders JPMorgan to Pay $75 Million for Widespread Use by Employees of Unapproved Communication Methods and Related Recordkeeping and Supervision Failures (Dec. 17, 2021), available at https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8470-21.


 [74]  SEC Press Release, ICO “Listing” Website Charged with Unlawfully Touting Digital Asset Securities (Jul. 14, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-125.


 [75]  See SEC Statement, SEC Statement Urging Caution Around Celebrity Backed ICOs (Nov. 1, 2017), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-potentially-unlawful-promotion-icos.


 [76]  SEC Statement, In the Matter of Coinschedule by Commissioners Peirce and Roisman (July 14, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/peirce-roisman-coinschedule.


 [77]  Id.


 [78]  Hester Peirce, Commissioner, SEC, Token Safe Harbor Proposal 2.0 (Apr. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/peirce-statement-token-safe-harbor-proposal-2.0.


 [79]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Poloniex for Operating Unregistered Digital Asset Exchange (Aug. 9, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-147.


 [80]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Three Media Companies with Illegal Offerings of Stock and Digital Assets (Sep. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-175.


 [81]  SEC Press Release, Registration of Two Digital Tokens Halted (Nov. 10, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-231.


 [82]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Decentralized Finance Lender and Top Executives for Raising $30 Million Through Fraudulent Offerings (Aug. 6, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-145.


 [83]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Global Crypto Lending Platform and Top Executives in $2 Billion Fraud (Sep. 1, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-172.


 [84]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Promoter with Conducting Cryptocurrency Investment Scams (Nov. 18, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-237.


 [85]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Latvian Citizen with Digital Asset Fraud (Dec. 2, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-248.


 [86]  The alleged tipper settled for a permanent injunction, a $240,000 fine, and a two-year officer and director bar, as well as a two-year bar under a parallel Rule 102(e) forbidding practice before the SEC.  See SEC Litigation Release, SEC Obtains Judgment Against Former Corporate Controller for Tipping Brother-in-Law Ahead of Merger Announcement (Nov. 15, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2021/lr25264.htm.


 [87]  SEC Litigation Release, SEC Charges Corporate Controller and His Brother-In-Law with Insider Trading Ahead of Merger Announcement (Dec. 11, 2020), available at https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2020/lr24982.htm.


 [88]  Dean Seal, SEC Handed Rare Midtrial Defeat in Insider Trading Case (Dec. 14, 2021), available at https://www.law360.com/articles/1448811/sec-handed-rare-midtrial-defeat-in-insider-trading-case.


 [89]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges TheBull with Selling “Insider Trading Tips” on the Dark Web (Jul. 9, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-122.


 [90]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Five Russians in $80 Million Hacking and Trading Scheme (Dec. 20, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-265.


 [91]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Three Individuals with Insider Trading (Jul. 9, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-121.


 [92]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Biopharmaceutical Company Employee with Insider Trading (Aug. 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-155.


 [93]  Order Denying Motion to Dismiss, S.E.C. v. Panuwat, No. 3:21-cv-06322 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 14, 2022) ECF No. 26.


 [94]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Netflix Insider Trading Ring (Aug. 18, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-158.


 [95]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges App Annie and its Founder with Securities Fraud (Sept. 14, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-176.


 [96]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Former Pharmaceutical Global IT Manager in $8 Million Insider Trading Scheme (Sept. 17, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-181.


 [97]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Quant Analyst in Multimillion Dollar Front-Running Scheme (Sept. 23, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-186.


 [98]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Investment Bank Compliance Analyst with Insider Trading in Parents’ Accounts and Obtains Asset Freeze (Sept. 29, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-203.


 [99]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Partner at Global Consulting Firm With Insider Trading (Nov. 10, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-230.


 [100]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Clinical Drug Trial Investigator with Insider Trading (Dec. 20, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-264.


 [101]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges U.K.-Based Father and Son, and Two Others in Transatlantic Microcap Fraud Scheme (Sept. 23, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-187.


 [102]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Two Individuals for Wash Trading Scheme Involving Options of “Meme Stocks” (Sept. 27, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-195.


 [103]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Webcast Host for Role in Market Manipulation Scheme (Oct. 1, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-206.


 [104]  SEC Press Release, SEC Obtains Asset Freeze and Other Relief in Halting Penny Stock Scheme on Twitter (Oct. 26, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-214.


 [105]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Penny Stock Company, CEO and Others with Multi-Million Dollar Fraud (Aug. 16, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-153.


 [106]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges International Microcap Fraud Scheme Participants (Aug. 9, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-148.


 [107]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Three Canadian Citizens in Fraudulent Penny Stock Scheme (Dec. 10, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-255.


 [108]  SEC Press Release, SEC Obtains Emergency Relief, Charges Couple Who Operated $18 Million Ponzi Scheme (Aug. 31, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-170.


 [109]  SEC Press Release, SEC Obtains Emergency Relief, Charges Investment Adviser and its Principal with Operating $110 Million Ponzi Scheme (Aug. 25, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-163.


 [110]  SEC Press Release, SEC Obtains Court Order to Stop Investment Adviser’s Alleged Ongoing Offering Fraud (Aug. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-150.


 [111]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Florida Payday Lender and CEO with Affinity Fraud Targeting the Venezuelan-American Community (Sept. 27, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-196.


 [112]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Two Companies and Their Principals with Misleading Investors in More Than a Dozen Oil and Gas Securities Offerings (Sept. 24, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-193.


 [113]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Puerto Rican Company and Managing Members with Fraud (Sept. 21, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-185.


 [114]  SEC Press Release, SEC Shuts Down Fraudulent Mother-Son Offering Involving Purported Supercomputer (July 19, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-131.


 [115]  SEC Press Release, SEC Files Charges in Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Involving Two Companies (July 19, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-132.


 [116]  SEC Press Release, SEC Obtains Emergency Relief, Charges Two Florida Companies and Their Principal Officer with Operating a Ponzi Scheme (Aug. 13, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-151.


 [117]  SEC Press Release, SEC Obtains Emergency Relief Against New York Real Estate Developer Charged with EB-5 Securities Fraud (Sept. 28, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-200.


 [118]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges California Resident in Microcap Fraud Scheme Targeting Retail Investors (July 22, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-135.


 [119]  SEC Press Release, SEC Halts Alleged Ongoing Offering Fraud Involving Cycling Companies (July 22, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-136.


 [120]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Unlicensed Broker with Defrauding Investors (July 28, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-140.


 [121]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Crowdfunding Portal, Issuer, and Related Individuals for Fraudulent Offerings (Sept. 20, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-182.


 [122]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Hemp Company and Co-Founders with Fraud (Oct. 5, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-208.


 [123]  SEC Press Release, SEC Charges Newport Beach Company and its Principals with Operating a $13.5 Million Ponzi-Like Scheme (Oct. 29, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-221.


 [124]  SEC Press Release, SEC Obtains Emergency Relief in Case Charging Claims Aggregator and Principals with Multi-Million Dollar Fraud (Nov. 4, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-222.


The following Gibson Dunn lawyers assisted in the preparation of this client update:  Mark Schonfeld, Richard Grime, Barry Goldsmith, David Ware, Timothy Zimmerman, Lindsey Geher, Jeff Meyers, Ben Gibson, Kate Googins, Caelin Moriarty Miltko*, Sean Brennan*, and Jimmy Pinchak*.

Gibson Dunn is one of the nation’s leading law firms in representing companies and individuals who face enforcement investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the New York and other state attorneys general and regulators, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the New York Stock Exchange, and federal and state banking regulators.

Our Securities Enforcement Group offers broad and deep experience.  Our partners include the former Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, the former head of FINRA’s Department of Enforcement, the former United States Attorneys for the Central and Eastern Districts of California and the District of Maryland, and former Assistant United States Attorneys from federal prosecutors’ offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., including the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.


Securities enforcement investigations are often one aspect of a problem facing our clients. Our securities enforcement lawyers work closely with lawyers from our Securities Regulation and Corporate Governance Group to provide expertise regarding parallel corporate governance, securities regulation, and securities trading issues, our Securities Litigation Group, and our White Collar Defense Group.

Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding these developments. Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or any of the following:

Securities Enforcement Practice Group Leaders:
Richard W. Grime – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8219, rgrime@gibsondunn.com)
Mark K. Schonfeld – New York (+1 212-351-2433, mschonfeld@gibsondunn.com)

Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group members:

New York
Zainab N. Ahmad (+1 212-351-2609, zahmad@gibsondunn.com)
Matthew L. Biben (+1 212-351-6300, mbiben@gibsondunn.com)
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Joel M. Cohen (+1 212-351-2664, jcohen@gibsondunn.com)
Lee G. Dunst (+1 212-351-3824, ldunst@gibsondunn.com)
Barry R. Goldsmith (+1 212-351-2440, bgoldsmith@gibsondunn.com)
Mary Beth Maloney (+1 212-351-2315, mmaloney@gibsondunn.com)
Alexander H. Southwell (+1 212-351-3981, asouthwell@gibsondunn.com)
Avi Weitzman (+1 212-351-2465, aweitzman@gibsondunn.com)
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Tina Samanta (+1 212-351-2469, tsamanta@gibsondunn.com)

Washington, D.C.
Stephanie L. Brooker (+1 202-887-3502, sbrooker@gibsondunn.com)
Daniel P. Chung (+1 202-887-3729, dchung@gibsondunn.com)
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Thad A. Davis (+1 415-393-8251, tadavis@gibsondunn.com)
Charles J. Stevens (+1 415-393-8391, cstevens@gibsondunn.com)
Michael Li-Ming Wong (+1 415-393-8234, mwong@gibsondunn.com)

Palo Alto
Michael D. Celio (+1 650-849-5326, mcelio@gibsondunn.com)
Paul J. Collins (+1 650-849-5309, pcollins@gibsondunn.com)
Benjamin B. Wagner (+1 650-849-5395, bwagner@gibsondunn.com)

Denver
Robert C. Blume (+1 303-298-5758, rblume@gibsondunn.com)
Monica K. Loseman (+1 303-298-5784, mloseman@gibsondunn.com)

Los Angeles
Michael M. Farhang (+1 213-229-7005, mfarhang@gibsondunn.com)
Douglas M. Fuchs (+1 213-229-7605, dfuchs@gibsondunn.com)
Nicola T. Hanna (+1 213-229-7269, nhanna@gibsondunn.com)
Debra Wong Yang (+1 213-229-7472, dwongyang@gibsondunn.com)

* Caelin Moriarty Miltko, Sean Brennan, and Jimmy Pinchak are recent law graduates working in the firm’s Washington, D.C., Denver and New York offices, respectively, and not yet admitted to practice law.

© 2022 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

]]>
Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 1.20.22 https://expo-monet.com/sunburn-the-morning-read-of-whats-hot-in-florida-politics-1-20-22/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 06:17:46 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/?p=1004 Good Thursday morning. Jacksonville-based logistics juggernaut Crowley announced that it’s bringing Marcus Jadotte on board as senior vice president of Government Relations. In his new role, he will helm Crowley’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts and boost awareness of its growing defense and civilian government services offerings among federal, state and local officials. He will […]]]>

Good Thursday morning.

Jacksonville-based logistics juggernaut Crowley announced that it’s bringing Marcus Jadotte on board as senior vice president of Government Relations.

In his new role, he will helm Crowley’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts and boost awareness of its growing defense and civilian government services offerings among federal, state and local officials. He will be based in Washington, D.C.

“I am pleased to join Crowley and look forward to advancing the company’s best-in-class solutions for the U.S. maritime industry and beyond, including the company’s burgeoning energy, transportation and technology services,” Jadotte said.

Marcus Jadotte takes the helm as Crowley’s head lobbyist.

Jadotte most recently worked as vice president of federal government relations at Raytheon Technologies, one of the largest aerospace and defense contractors in the U.S. He has also worked in the C-suite at aviation services provider AAR and NASCAR.

He also served as assistant secretary for industry and analysis for the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Barack Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Labor during the Bill Clinton administration.

Jadotte’s Florida connections include stints as chief of staff to U.S. Reps. Peter Deutsch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as well as an economics degree earned at Florida State University.

“Through his extensive experience bridging the public and private sectors, Marcus will further strengthen Crowley’s engagement with policymakers through leadership and outreach that builds trust, innovative policies and effective advocacy across our services for commercial and government customers,” said Parker Harrison, Crowley’s senior vice president and general counsel.

___

Florida Politics’ roster is expanding next week, with the addition of Gray Rohrer.

Rohrer comes to Florida Politics from the Orlando Sentinel, where he has worked as the Tallahassee Bureau reporter covering a wide range of news beats, including the Legislature.

At Florida Politics, he will use his expertise to provide Florida Politics’ readers with timely, insightful coverage on economic development and budget issues in a Legislative Session where lawmakers are poised to OK another $100 billion-plus budget.

Rohrer is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where he earned a degree in political science. He has written for numerous publications throughout his 15-year career covering politics in the Sunshine State.

He launched his career covering local politics for the Beaches Leader Newspapers and the Cape Coral Daily Breeze before focusing jumping up to statehouse coverage, first for Sunshine State News and later at LobbyTools, where he anchored their coverage of property insurance, gambling, economy, labor, real estate, transportation, technology and budget issues.

In 2015, after working as a freelancer covering the special redistricting Session for The Associated Press, he joined the Orlando Sentinel.

Look for his first Florida Politics byline next week.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@PBump: [guy on Twitter] “i am certain about this thing that I am wrong about”

@SamStein: Some folks will be surprised that (Joe) Biden said he was surprised by how stalwart Republican opposition to him would be.

@GovRonDeSantis: Protecting life does not end with the unborn. This Session, I called on the Legislature to promote adoption & foster care, so all Floridians have a fair chance in life. Florida has 4,000 more licensed caregivers than in 2019 & I am proposing additional funds for foster parents.

@NikkiFried: As Governor, I’ll protect a woman’s freedom to decide.

Tweet, tweet:

@JasmenRogers: Rep. Erin Grall (the bill sponsor) mentions that her sister had an abortion … says she’s pushing this bill to honor her sister. HOW can you honor your sister’s autonomy and decision to do what’s best … by restricting that choice?!?

@HeatherGBarwick: She honors me because that was the biggest mistake I made in my entire life. And more than honoring me, she honors my lost child.

@RepJoseOliva: @JoeGruters A government-enforced mandate requiring private business to engage in displays of allegiance for the purpose of advancing freedom is the antithesis of freedom. Let’s rethink that one.

@NateMonroeTU: the capitolist is just fulfilling every journalist’s ideal: comfort the comforted and afflict the afflicted.

@MDixon55: As I just heard it put: “Broward days, the one day of year the Capitol is full of Democrats”

Tweet, tweet:

@MattNorlander: Simply incredible. Florida State wins a 13th straight overtime game. Never been done before. FSU 79, Duke 78. Never get involved in a land war in Asia, and never get involved in an overtime game against Leonard Hamilton.

@BChesky: Starting today, I’m living on Airbnb. I’ll be staying in a different town or city every couple weeks

— DAYS UNTIL —

‘Ozark’ final season begins — 1; ‘Billions’ begins — 3; Red Dog Blue Dog charity event — 5; James Madison Institute’s Stanley Marshall Day Celebration in Jacksonville — 8; XXIV Olympic Winter Games begins — 15; Super Bowl LVI — 24; Will Smith’s ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reboot premieres — 24; Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show begins — 27; season four of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ begins — 27; Synapse Florida tech summit begins — 28; ‘The Walking Dead’ final season part two begins — 31; Daytona 500 — 31; Special Election for Jacksonville City Council At-Large Group 3 — 34; CPAC begins — 35; St. Pete Grand Prix — 36; Joe Biden to give State of the Union — 40; ‘The Batman’ premieres — 43; the third season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 62; season two of ‘Bridgerton’ begins — 64; The Oscars — 66; Macbeth with Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga begin performances on Broadway — 68; Grammys rescheduled in Las Vegas — 73; federal student loan payments will resume — 101;’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 106;’ Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 127;’ Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 133;’ Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 170; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 181; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 201; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 225;’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 260; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 295; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 298; ‘Avatar 2′ premieres — 330;’ Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 393;’ John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 428; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 554;’ Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 638; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 918.

— TOP STORY —

Donald Trump spent weekend stewing that ‘wiseguy’ Ron DeSantis won’t kiss his ring“ via Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley of Yahoo News — In recent weeks, if you’ve run in the ex-President’s inner circle or floated in and out of his social or political orbits, chances are high that you’ve heard Trump casually insulting DeSantis, even in conversations that initially had absolutely nothing to do with DeSantis. Ever eager to protect his turf and with an eye on 2024, Trump has gossiped with certain confidants and advisers about DeSantis’ political vulnerabilities and “weaknesses.” On several occasions, the twice-impeached former President has lately told associates that if they’re asked about the DeSantis-Trump tensions on TV, they should decline to confirm or deny the existence of a simmering cold war between the two conservative icons.

Wiseguys: Is the Trump/DeSantis feud heating up?

—“Looks like DeSantis could turn into Trump’s personal nightmare” via Charlotte Klein of Vanity Fair

Lincoln Project teases ‘divorce’ between Trump and DeSantis” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The ex-Republican operatives at the Lincoln Project are gleefully exploiting the latest GOP crackup, with an ad buy promoting the so-called “divorce” between Trump and DeSantis. The spot is a rerun. “Sad!” was first launched in September. But the context is fresher, with Trump and DeSantis seemingly engaged in a rhetorical Cold War that could heat up on little notice. The placements are deliberate and provocative, with ad buys in Palm Beach, where Trump could see it, and Tallahassee, where the Governor might view it. A co-founder of the group contextualizes the most recent buy.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Roger Stone slams DeSantis for ‘disloyalty’ to Trump” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Notorious provocateur Stone warned DeSantis to step aside for Trump in 2024, slamming DeSantis’s “disloyalty” to Trump and implying the former President could pull his support. His warning came after reports that a rift was growing between Trump and DeSantis over COVID-19 vaccines and their shared aspirations for the 2024 Republican nomination. “Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to put his own presidential ambitions on hold until President Donald Trump has decided to whether he wants to run again,” Stone said in a YouTube video posted Wednesday. “I consider that to be an incredible act of disloyalty and ingratitude.” Stone called DeSantis “an unknown congressman with a bad haircut, an ill-fitting suit and an undistinguished record in Congress until President Donald Trump’s endorsement lifted him to the Republican nomination” in 2018.

Lara Trump says DeSantis needs ‘another opportunity’ to endorse Trump in 2024” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — On Wednesday, Lara Trump discounted rumors of “bad blood” between Trump and DeSantis while suggesting Florida’s Governor may just need “another opportunity” to demonstrate his support for Trump ahead of the 2024 election. Lara Trump was on Varney & Company on the Fox Business Network, where she was asked to respond to a report that it was “too much to ask” for DeSantis to preemptively endorse another Trump term in 2024.

—DATELINE TALLY —

15-week abortion ban passes first test in Legislature” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — A House committee advanced a 15-week ban on most abortions on a 12-6 party-line vote in the first legislative debate on the controversial bill. Abortion is presently legal up to the 24th week of pregnancy in Florida. Rep. Grall, the bill’s sponsor, said abortion needs to be limited because medicine and science have changed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. “This is not an abortion ban,” she said. “This is about 15 weeks. This is about having all your available options at the ready for you for 15 weeks.” But Democrats said it would interfere with what should be a private medical decision and particularly hurt low-income women and people of color who lack access to health care.

Erin Grall’s abortion bill takes a big step forward.

Democrats swarm abortion bill at first committee stop” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Florida abortion bill will affect access across the South, advocates say” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — The ban on abortion after 15 weeks proposed by Florida Republicans won’t just affect Florida if it becomes law. For years, as nearby states have passed laws to limit abortion access, Southerners have made their way to the Sunshine State to take advantage of Florida’s relatively strong abortion protections. If a 15-week ban passes, access to abortion for people from out of state could be curtailed, advocates on both sides of the issue say. “If you look at Texas, they haven’t had access to abortion care beyond six weeks for four months,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “You can imagine if access were eliminated in Florida, what it would look like in the South.”

Senate approves Governor’s emergency fund, but slashes price tag — The full Senate voted in favor of establishing a pot of money for the Governor to use during states of emergency. As Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida reports, the chamber’s plan sets the account balance at $500 million, which is just half of $1 billion DeSantis requested in his budget proposal. The proposal was pitched last year but fell through after it was determined that the state could not seed the account with federal money. The Senate’s 2022 plan (SB 96/SB 98) would fill the pot of money with general revenue dollars. The House version of the bill, introduced Tuesday, would provide the full $1 billion.

Wilton Simpson says he’d vote for constitutional carry bill” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Simpson says he would support removing laws requiring a concealed-weapons permit to carry a gun if it comes to a vote. Simpson made the comment to reporters Wednesday after conservatives at the Republican Liberty Caucus said they met with the Senate President. The group has been among a cohort of pro-gun rights organizations pushing for “constitutional carry.” However, Simpson said he would not get involved in constitutional carry legislation until it gets to the Senate floor. That differed from comments one gun rights organization said Simpson made during the meeting. “Simpson told the group he ‘would support, vote yes, and challenge senators to bring a constitutional carry bill,’” according to an email.

Locked and loaded: Wilton Simpson is good with constitutional carry.

Senate passes health care liability protections as providers look to House to do the same” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — A must-pass bill for Florida’s nursing homes, doctors and hospitals cleared the Florida Senate Wednesday by a mostly partisan 22-13 vote. Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart was the only member of her party in the chamber to support the bill. Sponsored by Sen. Danny Burgess, the bill (SB 7014) extends through June 1, 2023, the protections health care providers currently have from COVID-19 related lawsuits. Senate Democrats all voted against the measure. Four senators have excused absences and did not vote. The current law that shields businesses and health care providers from COVID-19-related lawsuits was one of the first measures passed by the Legislature during the 2021 Session. The law clarifies that to successfully sue a health care provider for COVID-19, the plaintiff must prove gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

Senate presidential search exemption proposal diverges from House version as it approaches final committee” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Legislation that would provide a public records exemption on information about applicants seeking a state university or college presidential position is headed to its final committee stop after clearing the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. However, the Senate bill looks a little different from the House version, which is on to its second committee after garnering approval at its first stop Tuesday. The measure (SB 520), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, cleared its second committee with one amendment that provided the bill be effective upon becoming law. The Senate legislation approaches its third committee without a key amendment tacked on in a House meeting Tuesday, an alteration that changed guidelines in the bill.

—ETCH-A-SKETCH—

Senate ignores DeSantis’ redistricting map, moves forward with plan less friendly to GOP” via Skyler Swisher and Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — The Florida Senate moved forward with a congressional redistricting map that carves out fewer Republican-friendly districts than a surprise proposal put forth by DeSantis earlier this week. The Senate map is seen as the plan to keep much of the status quo in place, reinforcing the 16-11 Republican advantage over Democrats in congressional seats and even giving Democrats a good shot at a new seat being created. The House must still vote on its version of the map, one draft that would radically reshape many districts. The final map must also be signed into law by DeSantis, or he could veto it. The Senate discussed the maps without mentioning DeSantis’ plan. Sen. Ray Rodrigues, who is leading the Senate’s redistricting efforts, said he only learned of the Governor’s plan this week, and senators are following the legislative process.

Ray Rodrigues is ready to give the Governor’s redistricting map the brush off.

DeSantis’ office disses Al Lawson district as ‘unconstitutional gerrymander’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Governor’s Office labeled Florida’s 5th Congressional District an “unconstitutional gerrymander.” The harsh assessment comes as draft congressional maps moving through the Florida Legislature all include a similar configuration. Ryan Newman, General Counsel for DeSantis’ office, surprised lawmakers by submitting a draft congressional map on Sunday. Lawson condemned the Governor’s proposal Tuesday. “It is evident that DeSantis is trying to restrict minority representation, specifically African American voters,” the Congressman said. But Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary, said CD 5 as it exists now should not stand. Asked if the Florida Supreme Court five years ago put an unconstitutional district into play, Pushaw asserted it had.

Senate debates legislative map that will shape its 2022 political environment” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A draft map (S 8058) reached the Senate floor six days after the Senate Reapportionment Committee cleared it for full debate. While the Florida House must also sign off on the map, the chambers traditionally have allowed one another to craft their own district boundaries for legislative maps. The maps will ultimately become law without any involvement of the Governor’s Office. This map holds significant political consequences for chamber members, and under its current configuration, places several incumbent Senators seeking re-election into shared districts. Sens. Dennis Baxley and Keith Perry both live in the proposed Senate District 9. Neither to date has said how they will deal with that situation.

Shevrin Jones proposes change to the Senate’s draft congressional map” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sen. Jones has offered changes to a proposed congressional map before the Florida Senate votes on it. The Democrat wants to see Miami Gardens, a community he represents in the state Senate, kept wholly within one congressional district. Under his draft map (S 8060), it would sit within Florida’s 24th Congressional District. The Senator took issue with a draft map advanced by the Senate Reapportionment Committee (S 8040) set for floor discussion Wednesday afternoon. That map splits Miami Gardens between CD 24 and Florida’s 25th Congressional District. “The latest maps are a severe disservice to the voters of Miami Gardens, a predominantly African American city, with important local challenges that deserve focused representation in Congress,” Jones said.

—TALLY 2 —

Critics fear legislative proposal to fix nursing home staffing shortages may affect care” via Verónica Zaragovia of WLRN — A survey from the Florida Health Care Association published in August found 92% of long-term care facilities in the state faced significant staffing challenges, with more than half saying they have had to reduce admissions as a result. One proposal, filed by Sen. Ben Albritton, would slash the hours licensed nurses have to spend with patients and allow time spent with therapists or activities directors to count toward the requirement. But some in the industry say there could be problems if licensed nurses provide less care. Amy Runkle, a CNA in Venice, says the idea of replacing licensed nursing assistants with other staff is dangerous. “You need to be certified; you need to be properly trained,” said Runkle, who has worked as a CNA for 31 years and is also a member of 1199 SEIU.

Some say Ben Albritton’s nursing home worker bill may do more harm than good.

Senate Health Policy Committee says yes to inpatient hospital care at home, hotel” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — The Senate Health Policy Committee on Wednesday approved legislation (SB 1222) which amends existing state health care laws to allow hospitals, physicians and emergency medical transportation providers to partner together to provide nonemergency services to patients. Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Hospital has been offering inpatient services to its patients for more than a year under a pair of waivers granted by federal and state governments. But the waivers will expire, and Sen. Aaron Bean said his bill establishes the necessary framework for facilities interested in providing inpatient care outside of a hospital setting. Before passing the bill, the Senate Health Policy Committee agreed to tag on an amendment that reworded the proposal to prevent what Bean called a “scope creep.”

—“Senate Health Policy Committee passes three bills, defers action on three others” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

Out with COVID-19, Darryl Rouson’s peers move peer counseling bill through committee” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Republican and Democratic senators said they are all behind an effort by Sen. Rouson to make it easier for former addicts to serve as counselors for those dealing with substance abuse problems. Rouson is sponsoring a bill designed to boost the number of “peer specialists” who can provide help to those being treated for drug and alcohol addiction as well as those who are struggling with mental illness. SB 282 cleared its second Senate committee Wednesday and has only one more stop before it reaches the full Senate. Rouson is a recovering addict and has pushed similar legislation in years past. That includes the 2021 Legislative Session when a similar bill sailed through the chamber, passing unanimously.

— MORE TALLY —

Charter school bill unanimously passes second House committee” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — A House bill putting guardrails on how charter schools are renewed unanimously passed its second committee stop Wednesday. The measure (HB 225), sponsored by Rep. Fred Hawkins, would require school boards to renew charter schools at least 90 days before the school year ends. Otherwise, the charter would renew automatically. The bill passed its second committee stop, the House Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee, with unanimous bipartisan support. Hawkins noted that public schools start working toward the next school year well in advance. If there is a problem with a charter school, districts should start addressing it with “plenty of time,” he argued.

Fred Hawkins’ charter school guardrails sails through committee.

Bill raising claims cap before state intervention to $1 million advances in the House” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — A proposal to raise the cap on claims against local governments before the Legislature must intervene passed its first committee hurdle on Wednesday. The measure (HB 985), carried by Rep. Mike Beltran, would raise the value of claims from $200,000 to $1 million before sovereign immunity applies. The bill passed the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee by a 16-1 vote. Sovereign immunity is a principle stating that the government, including a local government, cannot be sued without its consent. The principle dates back to British common law. Proponents hope it would reduce the number of times Floridians would have to come to lawmakers to plead their case to receive reparations for transgressions committed against them by the government.

State official gushes over influx of federal early childhood funding in House committee talk” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Matt Mears, the state’s Chancellor of Early Learning, was elated Wednesday afternoon when explaining that early childhood instructors received $166 million from Florida’s share of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA). Mears spoke to the House Early Learning and Elementary Education Subcommittee, discussing how the Florida Division of Early Learning distributed the $635 million in CRRSA funding, which the Legislature allocated. He was happy to share that 26% of the funding went to instructor disaster relief payments, which came in two $1,000 checks written directly to child care instructors. In 2021, 76,005 Florida instructors received emergency payments.

AFP-FL urges lawmakers to let the sun set on VISIT FLORIDA” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — VISIT FLORIDA will cease to exist on Oct. 1, 2023, under current law, but bills moving through the Legislature (SB 434/HB 489) would extend its authorization by five years to Oct. 1, 2028. Americans for Prosperity-Florida urges lawmakers to pump the brakes, deriding the tourism marketing agency as a form of corporate welfare. “AFP-FL works hard to protect Floridians’ hard-earned dollars by opposing public funding for unwarranted purposes,” AFP-FL State Director Skylar Zander said in a news release. “We should not allow our legislators to pick and choose what they want to see succeed in our economy — it should be our choice. After all, we know that the best way to actually promote economic growth is by ensuring that everyone is competing fairly.”

Bill to protect farmers’ tax benefits amid growing agritourism clears makes way in Senate, House” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday morning that seeks to ensure the state’s growing agritourism industry doesn’t interfere with farmers’ preferential tax benefits. The Senate legislation (SB 1186), filed by Albritton, follows the House version of the bill, with both heading to their second committee. The House Environment, Agriculture and Flooding Subcommittee unanimously approved HB 717 on Tuesday. Filed by Rep. Josie Tomkow, the bill clarifies that farms can still be taxed at a lower rate even when parts of the land are being used for agritourism. The bill has garnered bipartisan support, clearing its first House and first Senate committee unanimously.

Huge bottles, kegs, and 5-liter boxes: bill mulls repeal of wine container size limits” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Imagine your party guests’ faces when you cart out a $5,625, six-liter, Methuselah bottle of Château d’Yquem wine or when you lug out a $15.99, five-liter box of Franzia Cabernet Sauvignon. Then imagine their faces when the cops arrive. Why does Florida law limit wine sales to containers no larger than 1 gallon, except for reusable kegs or shipping logistics between manufacturers and distributors? “It serves no good policy basis to criminalize the sale of wine based on container size,” argued Rep. Chip LaMarca as he pushed a bill (HB 6031) through the House Commerce Committee Wednesday. HB 6031 flew through the Commerce Committee Wednesday with no opposition or debate and little discussion.

The bigger, the better, says Chip LaMarca.

Bill requiring Florida governments to use American-made iron and steel clears first hurdle” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A bill that would require state and local governmental organizations in Florida to use American-made iron and steel products cleared its first hurdle Wednesday after facing some scrutiny and one argument against it. The House Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee unanimously OK’d a bill (HB 619) by Rep. Anthony Rodriguez. The measure would require taxpayer-funded public works to domestically source iron and steel products. If passed and signed by DeSantis, the rule would also cover various other governmental entities, including school districts, taxing districts, colleges and universities. Sen. Jim Boyd has filed similar legislation in the Senate.

K9s For Warriors says lawmakers deserve a treat — K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs to military veterans, on Wednesday praised the lawmakers working to help it secure funding for a new facility. The organization singled out Senate President Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, as well as Sen. Travis Hutson, Rep. Sam Garrison, Sen. Cord Byrd and Sen. Jennifer Bradley for backing a bill (HB 9049) that would fund the facility’s completion. “We are extremely grateful to our state leaders and representatives for their support in our mission to continue saving veteran lives by building the world’s largest rescue-to-Service Dog facility,” said Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors. Diamond said that once completed, the facility will halve the wait time for veterans to receive a service dog.

— SKED —

— The Senate Rules Committee meets to consider SB 280, from Sen. Travis Hutson, to preempt new ordinances when challenges arise over the anticipated impacts to businesses, 9:30 a.m., Room 412 of the Knott Building.

— The Senate Appropriations Committee meets to consider SB 620, also from Hutson, to permit businesses to sue local governments if ordinances cause at least 15% losses of revenues or profits, 11:30 a.m., Room 412 of the Knott Building.

— The Florida Senate is scheduled for a floor session, 2:30 p.m., Senate chamber.

— House Education & Employment Committee meets, 9 a.m., Morris Hall of the House Office Building.

— House Judiciary Committee meets, 9 a.m., Room 404 of the House Office Building.

— House State Affairs Committee meets, 9 a.m., Room 212 of the Knott Building.

— House Finance & Facilities Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Morris Hall of the House Office Building.

— House Government Operations Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Room 404 of the House Office Building.

— House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Reed Hall of the House Office Building.

— House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Room 212 of the Knott Building.

— STATEWIDE —

Florida DOT Secretary Kevin Thibault picked to run Orlando airport” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis’ five appointees to Orlando’s aviation authority voted Wednesday to hire Thibault to run Orlando International Airport. “I stayed up late last night thinking and praying on this,” said Carson Good, chair of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and a Governor’s appointee. “I did not get any direction on who to pick, by the way.” Of the remaining two members of the authority, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings voted to hire the director of Seattle’s airport, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the Seattle airport director was his top pick, but he would vote along with the majority as a show of unanimity.

Kevin Thibault takes to the skies, or at least the airport.

Jimmy Patronis deploys anti-fraud strike team to Southwest Florida — CFO Patronis sent a squad of anti-fraud experts to Southwest Florida on Wednesday to ensure residents impacted by recent storms and tornadoes do not become fraud victims. “Following a natural disaster, scam artists work overtime to defraud individuals in their time of need, and that is why I have deployed my Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team to Southwest Florida to be on the lookout for bad actors trying to make a buck off the damage caused by the devastating tornadoes that took place over the weekend,” Patronis said. The DFAST deployment consists of eight insurance fraud and workers’ compensation investigators who work for the Department of Financial Services Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. They will be on the lookout for common post-storm scams such as contractors or restoration professionals who offer to waive insurance deductibles or fail to perform work after they’ve been paid.

Florida’s Environmental Regulation Commission hasn’t met in 5 years” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida is poised to spend $2.2 billion on the environment next year. This state and nation are already spending $23 billion cleaning up the Everglades. If you could solve problems simply by throwing money at them, we would be fine. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. A much better way — cheaper and more effective — is to stop people from damaging our natural resources in the first place. And on that front, Florida is pretty pathetic. Environmental enforcement is a fraction of what it was two decades ago. Florida’s Environmental Regulation Commission hasn’t met a single time in the past five years.

‘That’s a problem’: Florida state agencies challenged with lack of job applicants, struggle to retain low-wage workers” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — State agencies are struggling to attract job applicants amid employee vacancies. Sen. Jeff Brandes, who chairs the committee, called for the presentation to learn about the current employment challenges faced by state agencies. Speakers from various public sectors made one thing clear: state agencies are struggling to attract and keep employees. “Not only are we seeing elevated turnover, we aren’t seeing the same degree of interest in people applying for these positions,” said Heather DiGiacomo, chief of staff at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Over the past three years, the state has seen a 34.7% decline in the number of applicants to state positions. That’s despite a three-year, 7.2% increase in job advertisements.

Florida has a unique potion for executing prisoners. It wants to keep the details secret” via Ben Conarck and Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — Florida’s prison officials are asking legislators to enact more layers of secrecy around the state’s method of executing Death Row inmates, floating a bill that would make confidential any records that “could reasonably lead to the identification of any person or entity participating in an execution.” The measures would allow the Florida Department of Corrections to obscure the supply chain behind the unique cocktail of drugs used in its lethal injections. The department says doing so would prevent social activists from pressuring drug manufacturers into blacklisting the state from purchasing their products, but death penalty opponents say that it’s the manufacturers themselves that have sought to prevent their drugs from being used to kill people.

Consulate nursing homes are changing names. Are they changing ownership?” via Hannah Critchfield of the Tampa Bay Times — The largest nursing home chain in Florida is rebranding. On its website, Consulate Health Care Services no longer lists any long-term care facilities in the state. In the wake of a bankruptcy filing and a slew of bad press over the last few years, the privately-held chain, the sixth-largest nursing home company in the nation, has quietly divided its Florida facilities into three separate companies. All three appear to be still affiliated with Consulate. Many of Consulate’s Florida nursing homes have begun to change their individual names as well, erasing any affiliation with the chain. Such reorganization leaves consumers in the dark, critics say.

Consulate is changing names, but is that all?

Florida Power & Light class action opens door to subrogation, future storm claims” via William Rabb of Insurance Journal — A Miami judge’s certification of a lawsuit against Florida’s largest utility company as a $10 billion class action, with damage claims from more than 4 million people who lost power in Hurricane Irma, could have significant repercussions for self-insurers and insurance companies in the years ahead. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David Miller issued the order last month, noting that the plaintiffs had shown that the case meets all requirements for a class action. The plaintiffs allege that Florida Power & Light was negligent and breached its contract with customers by failing to fully prepare for the storm or to “harden the system” despite collecting a surcharge for that purpose.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Joe Biden says nation weary from COVID-19, but U.S. in a better place” via Zeke Miller and Josh Boak of The Associated Press — Biden acknowledged Wednesday that the pandemic has left Americans exhausted and demoralized but insisted at a news conference marking his first year in office that he has “outperformed” expectations in dealing with it. He said he would likely have to settle for “big chunks” of his signature economic package to break an impasse in Congress and further attack inflation and the pandemic. Biden said he believes important parts of his agenda will be passed before the 2022 midterm elections and voters will back Democrats if they are fully informed, an assignment he said he will pursue by traveling the country.

COVID-19 will be a long, dark winter, but Joe Biden says it will turn out in the end. Image via AP.

CDC data shows significant drop in new COVID-19 cases in Florida” via Brenda Argueta of Click Orlando — The CDC released several days of data after the holiday weekend that shows Florida may be turning the corner when it comes to the omicron wave. New data released Tuesday from the CDC shows there has been a large decline in new infections, and the state’s seven-day average of new cases has dropped nearly 25% in less than a week. The seven-day average of cases on Jan. 11, when the state recorded its fourth-highest set of numbers since the pandemic began, was 65,759. In the latest data reported one week later, the seven-day average was 49,690, a drop of 24.43%. Hospitalizations dropped by more than 300 over the weekend, though about half these hospitalizations are people with COVID-19 who are being treated for something else.

COVID-19 update: Florida reports 43,179 new cases, steady hospitalizations as omicron surge continues to ease” via David Schutz of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Florida’s omicron surge continued to ease as the state’s seven-day average for new cases declined for the eighth consecutive day, and the number of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 remained stable, federal data shows. The state reported 43,179 new cases on Wednesday, an increase Tuesday. But the seven-day average fell to 45,456 — its lowest level since Dec. 30, according to data from the CDC. There were 11,839 patients with the virus in Florida hospitals on Tuesday and 1,613 adult COVID-19 patients in intensive care, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows. On Wednesday, the state added three deaths to its total count, bringing the seven-day rolling average to 91.

Orange County Mayor: ‘It is my fervent hope that Dr. Paul Pino returns to work … soon.’” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Demings, isolated at home because of a COVID-19 infection, offered his support Wednesday for Dr. Pino, who was placed on administrative leave from his post as the state’s chief health officer in the county. “Dr. Raul Pino has been our trusted partner and friend throughout the pandemic,” the Mayor said in a statement emailed from his communications team. Pino faces a state investigation related to a staff-wide email he sent on Jan. 4. The email revealed that fewer than 14% of the 568 employees in the County Health Department had been fully vaccinated with a complete series and booster shot.

— CORONA LOCAL —

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings tests positive for COVID -19, Val Demings negative” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County Mayor Demings, who has led the county’s push for vaccination, testing and safety protocols, has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson announced Wednesday in an email. The news release said the Mayor will be working from home this week. Congresswoman Demings, the Mayor’s spouse, said by email that she is “Negative and grateful. Will continue to test on a regular basis.” She added, “As always, we would also encourage all Floridians to sign up for the free tests now available through the USPS at https://special.usps.com/testkits, and to get vaccinated.” The Mayor is fully vaccinated and boosted and is experiencing mild symptoms, spokesperson Despina McLaughlin said. He received confirmation of a positive test Tuesday evening.

Jerry and Val Demings share everything but COVID-19.

Duval Schools reports more COVID-19 cases in first nine days of third quarter than the first two months of school combined” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — In the nine days Duval Schools students have been back in school, the district has reported more cases of COVID-19 than it did in the first two months of the 2021-22 school year combined. Tuesday evening, the district reported 529 new cases, an all-time high for new cases reported within 24 hours. It’s worth noting that a bump in reported cases after a holiday break is to be expected. Still, an increase in new cases this high hasn’t occurred all school year. In fact, data shows that so far this month, the district has reported more COVID-19 cases than it did between all of September through December combined.

School arts performance postponed by record-high COVID-19 positivity rate in Manatee County, athletics unaffected” via Allyson Henning of WFLA — The highly-contagious omicron variant of coronavirus is impacting the school system in Manatee County. The district is implementing additional proactive mitigation measures to slow the spread. Before students were dismissed for winter break, the county’s positivity rate was 6.9%. Performing arts students at Parrish Community High School found out their much-anticipated winter performance would not take place. It was scheduled for less than 12 hours later and has not yet been rescheduled. When the Parrish Community High School performance was supposed to be taking place Tuesday evening, the school’s basketball and soccer teams were playing games as scheduled. Students felt it wasn’t fair.

— 2022 —

Election supervisors cite fraudulent signatures on Las Vegas Sands’ casino petitions” via Lawrence Mower and Mary Ellen Klas of The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald — Florida could be in the midst of one of the largest cases of election-related fraud in recent history. Across the state, elections supervisors say they have been sent thousands of fraudulent petition forms supporting a constitutional amendment to expand casino gaming in the state. Although the forms are supposed to reflect real Floridians voicing support for a change to the state’s Constitution, many include the names of dead people or the forged signatures of real voters.

Attorney Kevin Hayslett joins Republican race for Florida’s 13th District” via Romy Ellenbogen of the Tampa Bay Times — Hayslett, a Clearwater attorney and former prosecutor, announced his plan on Wednesday to run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Hayslett, a Republican, said he’s already been endorsed by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and former Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats. Hayslett is positioning himself as a “law and order” candidate who is a Trump Republican and political outsider. “I care about our community, and I have deep roots here, but like many others, I’m concerned with how Washington politicians are trying to dictate how we live our lives,” Hayslett said in his announcement.

Kevin Hayslett is the latest Donald Trump supporter to enter the race for CD 13.

— CORONA NATION —

Omicron is in retreat” via David Leonhardt of The New York Times — Since early last week, new cases in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have fallen by more than 30%. They’re down by more than 10% in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. In California, cases may have peaked. For now, the available evidence suggests that omicron is less threatening to a vaccinated person than ordinary flu. The final major piece of encouraging news involves booster shots: They are highly effective at preventing severe illness from omicron.

Omicron is so last week. Image via AP.

Choose your news …America’s second pandemic winter: More virus, less death” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — Two critically important things changed with the coronavirus pandemic between one year ago and now. The first was that vaccines became widely available, and most American adults availed themselves of the protections the vaccines offered. The second is that the most common variant of the virus to spread in the United States in the past month was omicron, which is far more contagious but, the data suggest, also less dangerous. What has emerged is a different sort of pandemic, one in which far more people are getting infected but, so far, fewer are dying. Yet there’s a caveat: There have been nearly as many total hospitalizations in the past month as a year ago, largely a function of multiplying the reduced hospitalization rate times a far larger number of infected people. Despite the common description of the omicron variant as “mild,” the sheer scale of infections has pushed the number of hospitalizations higher.

Or …U.S. faces wave of omicron deaths in coming weeks, models say” via Carla K. Johnson of The Associated Press — The fast-moving omicron variant may cause less severe disease on average, but COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are climbing, and modelers forecast 50,000 to 300,000 more Americans could die by the time the wave subsides in mid-March. The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has been trending upward since mid-November, reaching nearly 1,700 on Jan. 17, still below the peak of 3,300 in January 2021. COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents started rising slightly two weeks ago, although still at a rate 10 times less than last year before most residents were vaccinated. If the higher end of projections comes to pass, that would push total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 over 1 million by early spring.

— CORONA ECONOMICS —

Florida man gets five years for COVID-19 relief, tax fraud” via The Associated Press — A Florida man convicted of fraudulently collecting more than $1.3 million in COVID-19 relief funds has been sentenced to five years in prison. Johnson Eustache was sentenced Tuesday in Orlando federal court. He pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. He must also forfeit approximately $700,000 seized from several bank accounts, as well as real properties in Palm Bay and Poinciana. Eustache submitted 13 different fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program applications to the Small Business Administration and other lenders from March 2020 to April 2021. In total, he sought more than $2.1 million in pandemic-related emergency benefits. Prosecutors said that Eustache included false statements in the applications regarding criminal history, the number of employees, and total payroll.

— MORE CORONA —

Study: Prior infection, vaccines provide best protection from COVID-19” via Mike Stobbe of The Associated Press — A new study in two states that compares coronavirus protection from prior infection and vaccination concludes getting the shots is still the safest way to prevent COVID-19. The study examined infections in New York and California last summer and fall and found people who were both vaccinated and had survived a prior bout of COVID-19 had the most protection. But unvaccinated people with a past infection were a close second. By fall, that group had a lower case rate than vaccinated people who had no past infection. The CDC, which released the study Wednesday, noted several caveats to the research. And some outside experts were cautious of the findings and wary of how they might be interpreted.

Just get the shot: Vaccination offers the best protection, a new study shows. Image via AP.

AI tool is built to detect which COVID-19 patients will recover from the disease based of blood protein levels” via Mansur Shaheen of Daily Mail — Researchers may have developed a new tool that uses machine learning to better predict health outcomes for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and help physicians make more informed treatment decisions. A German research team developed an artificial intelligence tool to estimate how well an infected person will fare based on a blood sample. The levels of 14 proteins found in a person’s blood can indicate whether a person who suffers a severe enough hospitalization will survive or die from the virus, and the tool developed by researchers can accurately assess their risk. In times of crisis, where resources are especially scarce, the device can help determine what patients require the most intensive care to survive, and who is more fit to fight off the virus themselves.

When being unvaccinated means being locked out of public life” via Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli of The Washington Post — At this complicated stage of the pandemic, the lives of unvaccinated people are in major flux, at the mercy of decisions made everywhere from courts to workplaces. But their lives are changing most dramatically in a handful of countries in Western Europe, including Italy, where governments are systematically reducing their liberties while beginning to return the rest of society to a state of normalcy. And while regular testing, until recently, was permitted as an alternative to vaccination, even that option has now been largely removed as countries harden their mandates. The choice is to get inoculated or face exclusion.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

5 takeaways from Biden’s news conference” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — Biden reinforced Wednesday that he has largely given up on his high-minded but far-fetched vision for bipartisanship on his watch. He instead cast his Republican opponents as principle-free, power-hungry legislators. At another point, Biden seemed to admit again that he misread the situation, pointing to the many sitting Republican senators who once voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Among the Biden comments that will likely be chewed over extensively was one suggesting that a smaller incursion by Russia into Ukraine might not merit the same response. “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does,” Biden said. Biden seemed to lay blame on local authorities for not better using money from the pandemic relief bill to address ongoing problems.

Joe Biden drops the bipartisan charade. Image via AP.

Biden asks, ‘What are Republicans for?’ Republicans have already chosen not to answer.” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — During a news conference held one day shy of his anniversary in office, Biden was asked whether he had made bigger promises to the electorate than he was able to fulfill. Biden insisted that his administration had made “enormous progress” on his agenda, denying that he’d overpromised on the campaign trail and during his early months in office. But then he qualified that: Perhaps he did overpromise on one front. In recent years, in particular, the Republican Party leadership has specifically declined to offer a detailed, proactive policy agenda. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been direct about his lack of interest in outlining a policy platform.

Biden leaves Democrats hanging as midterms burst into full swing” via Edward-Isaac Dovere of CNN — Biden spotted Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on the White House campus last June and called out to the House Democratic campaign chair loudly enough for several others to hear: “I really want to talk to you about the races!” he shouted. A week later, at the cherry festival in Traverse City, Michigan, Biden leaned into Sen. Gary Peters, who’s in charge of Democratic Senate campaigns, with the same promise. He’s always cared most about Senate races, Biden told the Michigan Democrat, and he wanted to have a meeting, an hour at least, to talk about helping his party hold the chamber in 2022. Seven months later, there are still no meetings on the books. Democratic politicians, campaign officials, and operatives say the White House political operation is heading into the midterms unprepared and unresponsive even to basic requests for help or information.

The long slide: Inside Biden’s declining popularity as he struggles with multiple crises” via Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager and Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post — Biden presented himself as an antidote to his predecessor, offering the promise of what his own campaign ads called “strong, steady, stable leadership” after four years of bedlam under Trump. But the tumult surrounding the administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan offered an early glimpse of the cascade of crises that have badly eroded Biden’s image of restoring calm. The administration has also repeatedly underestimated the magnitude of the nation’s challenges, including failing to anticipate the delta and omicron coronavirus variants, and has struggled to unite the liberal base and the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party. By early September, more Americans disapproved than approved of how Biden was handling his job for the first time in his presidency.

Biden administration plans to spend more than $1 billion on Everglades restoration” via Bryan Lowry and Alex Harris of the Miami Herald — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to spend $1.1 billion on restoring and preserving South Florida’s Everglades during the current fiscal year, the White House announced Wednesday. According to the White House, the money comes through the infrastructure law Biden signed into law in November and represents the single largest investment in the Everglades in history. Florida’s congressional delegation split along party lines last year on the more than $1 trillion infrastructure package, with only the state’s Democrats voting in favor of it. The funds for the Everglades restoration aim to increase the ecosystem’s resilience against climate change by storing surface water runoff and minimizing seepage losses during dry periods, according to the White House.

Biden uses infrastructure bill to fulfill ask from hedge fund billionaire donor’s foundation” via Collin Anderson of The Washington Free Beacon — Biden used his $1 trillion infrastructure bill to boost an environmental foundation run by a hedge fund billionaire who contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the Democrat’s campaign. The White House announced $1.1 billion in funding from Biden’s infrastructure bill to preserve the Everglades. The move comes less than a year after billionaire investor and Everglades Foundation founder Paul Tudor Jones lobbied the Biden administration to commit $2.9 billion to the group’s cause. Just months before making the ask, Jones contributed $50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund and an additional $2,800 to Biden’s campaign. Biden’s Interior Department hired the foundation’s former CEO, Shann Estenoz, to serve as its policy head for national parks.

Paul Tudor Jones was instrumental in getting a significant federal boost to Everglades restoration.

Abortion pill fight could ensnare Biden’s FDA pick” via Alice Miranda Ollstein and Lauren Gardner of POLITICO — The FDA’s decision to ease access to abortion pills is fueling a new push by anti-abortion rights groups to derail Biden’s nominee to lead the agency, potentially endangering his confirmation. The effort has already swung some previously undecided Republican senators on Robert Califf’s nomination, like Tommy Tuberville and Roger Marshall. Both initially praised Califf during his confirmation hearing in the Senate health committee and appeared inclined to support him before voting against advancing the nomination in committee over “pro-life issues.” Marshall’s office confirmed that he met with some of the anti-abortion groups working to scuttle Califf’s confirmation in the lead-up to the Senate committee vote.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Senators are sparring over Democrats’ legislation, and their own rules.” via Carl Hulse and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times — Democratic Senators pleaded for passage of far-reaching federal voting rights protections, painting state measures imposed by Republican legislatures curtailing access to the ballot box as a threat to democracy so dire that long-standing filibuster rules should be changed to enact them. Republicans were equally passionate in their denunciations of the Democratic effort. The drama of the day was not expected to change the results of the votes planned for Wednesday night. The Senate was set to vote to cut off debate on the legislation. Democratic leaders then plan to move to change the Senate’s filibuster rules without Republican consent.

Can Democrats get it together? A definite maybe. Image via AP.

Obamacare is proving popular in red states that didn’t expand Medicaid” via Tami Luhby of CNN — Millions of Americans have selected 2022 coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, many for the first time. More than 13.8 million people have picked plans on the federal and state marketplaces, 2 million of them new to Obamacare for 2022. That’s an increase of 21% in sign-ups through the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, as of Dec. 15, from the same time a year ago. However, even more notable is the popularity Obamacare is enjoying in many of the states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Florida has the highest number of people picking plans at nearly 2.6 million has seen interest soar by nearly 23%. And in Texas, which has the highest uninsured rate in the nation, 1.7 million residents have selected policies, up roughly 33% from last year. Open enrollment ends Saturday, though consumers can sign up during the year if they meet specific criteria, such as losing job-based coverage.

Mike Waltz joins bipartisan bill to strip Olympic Committee of tax-exempt status” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Rep. Waltz joined Rep. Jennifer Wexton in introducing a bill to strip the International Olympic Committee of tax-exempt status in the United States for violating its social welfare purpose. Waltz and Wexton, both longtime and leading critics of China’s human rights policies, all but conceded there is little chance of passing such a bill before the Olympics begin Feb. 4 in Beijing. Yet they suggested that their bill not only offers a prospect for influencing future Olympic decisions but could add immediate pressure to the Olympic organizers, NBC and American corporate sponsors to address human rights issues in China, including China’s ongoing genocidal oppression of the Uyghur people, during The Games’ broadcasts.

— CRISIS —

House Jan. 6 Committee subpoenas White nationalist figures” via Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer of The New York Times — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued two subpoenas for the leaders of a white nationalist movement that helped bring a crowd to Washington ahead of the riot. The committee issued subpoenas to Nicholas J. Fuentes and Patrick Casey, whom the panel described as leaders of the “America First” or “Groyper” movement and who were on the Capitol grounds last Jan. 6. Fuentes, a White nationalist, online provocateur and activist, has allied with Rep. Paul Gosar, a far-right Republican from Arizona who helped lead objections in Congress to the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Crowdfunds top $50K for Tampa man charged in Jan. 6 riots. Where should it go?” via Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times — Ever since Jeremy Michael Brown’s arrest in September, he has fought hard to get out of jail. Federal prosecutors have fought just as hard to keep him locked up. Facing two separate federal cases, Brown lost a lengthy legal battle last month for release on bond. In recent weeks, a crowdfunding webpage bearing his picture, and a message he apparently wrote from the Pinellas County Jail, has tallied more than $57,000 in contributions, ostensibly intended to pay for his defense. The trouble is, Brown already has a court-appointed lawyer, whose services come courtesy of a federal law intended to help the accused who are financially unable to retain legal counsel. Prosecutors earlier this month filed an emergency request for a judge to prohibit Brown or his supporters from getting the funds.

Jeremy Michael Brown gets crowdfunded. Who gets the cash?

— EPILOGUE TRUMP —

Supreme Court rejects Trump, clears release of Jan. 6 papers” via Greg Stohr of Bloomberg — The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for some of Trump’s White House papers to be turned over to a congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The order gives a major legal and political victory to the House select committee and its Democratic chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson. The National Archives can now turn over about 800 pages of material, including visitor and call logs, emails, draft speeches, and handwritten notes. Trump was seeking to override Biden’s decision to waive executive privilege over the documents, arguing that a former President’s rights can outweigh the incumbent’s views. But the high court said in an unsigned, one-paragraph order that Trump’s appeal didn’t offer the opportunity to decide that issue, given the reasoning of the appeals court that backed the committee in the case.

New York Attorney General alleges Trump’s business inflated property values, wealth statements” via Shayna Jacobs, Jonathan O’Connell and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged Trump’s business inflated the value of his properties and misstated his personal worth in representations to lenders, insurance brokers and other players in his real estate empire. James, a Democrat leading a civil probe into Trump and his business, spelled out the claims in a court filing late Tuesday that was offered in support of her bid to see Trump and his adult children deposed under oath. James cited examples of Trump allegedly lending his signature to financial statements that estimated the worth of properties in the Trump Organization portfolio and the value of his own fortune.

Letitia James drops a hammer on the Trump Organization. Image via AP.

Bill Barr has a book deal” via Andrew Beaujon of the Washingtonian — Barr, the former U.S. Attorney General, will publish a memoir of his time in the George H.W. Bush and Trump administrations in March. It’s called “One Damn Thing After Another.” In a news release, the book, publisher William Morrow says, “takes readers behind the scenes during seminal moments of the Bush administration in the 1990s, from the LA riots to Pan Am 103 and Iran Contra. With the Trump administration, Barr faced an unrelenting barrage of issues, such as Russiagate, the opioid epidemic, Chinese espionage, big tech, the COVID-19 outbreak, civil unrest, the first impeachment, and the 2020 election fallout.”

Opera singer accepts insanity plea in Mar-a-Lago breach” via The Associated Press — The Connecticut opera singer who drew law enforcement fire when she sped through a checkpoint outside then-President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida has been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Florida prosecutors accepted Hannah Roemhild’s plea during a brief hearing Tuesday with the 32-year-old singer appearing by Zoom from her home state. Federal prosecutors accepted a similar plea deal in August. Her attorneys have said she has a history of mental illness. Roemhild only spoke to acknowledge her presence during the three-minute hearing in West Palm Beach. Under terms of the agreement, she must undergo psychiatric treatment and counseling and take medications, with monthly blood tests to confirm compliance.


— LOCAL NOTES —

Who’s responsible after four years of deaths on Brightline’s tracks” via Rob Wile and Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald — Brightline has caused more fatalities per mile traveled than any other major rail operator in the country, according to a Miami Herald analysis of Federal Railroad Administration data. Local, state and federal elected officials and regulators appear to be playing catch-up to the deadly rail dilemma and how to address it. A report from a consultant hired by state officials in 2018 recommended several key rail safety measures, yet the Florida Department of Transportation has not implemented any of them. And in 2020, state legislation that would have bolstered public safety at rail crossings stalled. Company officials contend the rail service has been plagued by suspected pedestrian suicides on the tracks and risk-taking motorists undaunted by the large mechanical guard arms blocking rail crossings.

Miami-Dade officially kills push for a private operator of the Rickenbacker Causeway” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — Declared unofficially dead weeks ago, the push for a private operator of the Rickenbacker Causeway was formally killed Wednesday by Miami-Dade Commissioners after leaders of Key Biscayne thwarted the effort. The ending of the bidding process for a developer leaves Miami-Dade looking for other options to repair Bear Cut Bridge. On Wednesday, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said her administration would now work on two tracks: coming up with a plan for modernizing Bear Cut, and preparing a new request for proposals for upgrading the Rickenbacker. She said the plan may be far less ambitious than the $500 million upgrades sought by Miami-Dade in the solicitation that was just killed.

Daniella Levine Cava is taking a dual path to upgrade the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Sunrise police union demands chief step away from investigation of officer who grabbed another cop by the throat” via Eileen Kelley of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The union for Sunrise police officers has demanded the city’s police chief recuse himself from the internal affairs investigation of a sergeant who was videotaped grabbing another officer by the throat. Chief Anthony Rosa called Sgt. Christopher Pullease’s behavior in the Nov. 19 incident “disgusting” and said the female subordinate acted appropriately when trying to intervene to de-escalate a confrontation at a crime scene. “We support the sergeant receiving a fair investigative process and await an unbiased and objective conclusion. However, we do not support Chief Rosa’s bias, prejudicial and unprofessional behavior,” wrote Steven Negron, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 80, in a Jan. 17 letter to the Sunrise city manager and elected officials.

Judge orders home of ex-Jacksonville City Council member seized for fraud restitution” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — A federal judge ordered former Jacksonville City Council member Reggie Brown’s home seized and sold, apparently days after he was released from a prison where he served time for fraud. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard granted a request from prosecutors to seize the home to help settle a $411,000 forfeiture order she imposed in October 2020, when Brown was sentenced with fellow ex-Council member Katrina Brown on dozens of fraud counts involving billing for a failed barbecue sauce factory. Prosecutors said no payments had been made when they asked last month for permission to take the House on Ray Road, off Cleveland Road near Edgewood Avenue in Northwest Jacksonville. Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office records estimate the home’s market value at $93,500.

Scott Carnahan refutes Georgia residency” via the Citrus County Chronicle — County Commissioner Carnahan and his spouse had filed and qualified for a homestead exemption in Georgia from March 19, 2021, until the pair requested the exemption be removed because they were moving to Florida, according to the records obtained from the Grady County, Georgia, Board of Tax Assessors Office, and verified through a spokeswoman with its office. Carnahan, whose term expires in November, announced Tuesday, Jan. 18, during the county commission meeting he will not seek re-election in 2022. He owns property in Georgia, but was not sure whether it is homesteaded because his wife took care of it. But he believes it is possible to have a homestead in another state.

— TOP OPINION —

Dear Trump, you’ve fallen to the mighty DeSantis. Well, at least in Florida” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — You can tell the ex-President doesn’t get out of Mar-a-Lago and around Florida much because vaccine skeptics are a mean, scary bunch. So, for once, we, his detractors, applauded the former President for backing the COVID-19-vaccine booster rollout where in counts, in a conservative forum full of skeptics. Yet, the pandemic isn’t the true power struggle going on between the men, caught up in a drama reminiscent of Gloucester and his bastard son Edmund in Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Theirs is a struggle for the ultimate power: the U.S. presidency. Both want to be contenders in 2024. As the world turns in Tallahassee and at Mar-a-Lago, my bet is on Trump losing the big battle. Florida can be very friendly, but often it’s lip service, a smoke screen.

— OPINIONS —

Why you can count on a Biden bounce” via Jack Shafer of POLITICO — We’ve already seen the weeks and weeks of coverage marking the end of his presidency, capstoned by his twin failures to navigate his multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better bill past Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and get his voting bill passed. He may be cratering at just the right time. Biden can return to the smaller-gauge policies that made him popular in the first place. Second, last week he hit the lowest of all his lows in the Quinnipiac Poll, scoring only 33% in job approval. He’s fallen so far that everything has to be up from here. When you’ve fallen into the subbasement, as Biden truly has, then almost any vertical improvement looks like a comeback.

Florida’s redistricting process was moving along. Then DeSantis jumped in with a threat” via the Miami Herald editorial board — DeSantis’ surprise move this week to submit his own aggressively partisan proposal for redrawing congressional district lines in Florida, one that goes farther to protect GOP interests than any map the Legislature was considering, is an indication of just how far he’ll go to tighten his grip on the state’s Republicans and secure a possible White House bid. DeSantis’s map would dilute Black and Hispanic voting strength. DeSantis is threatening to veto it if he doesn’t think legislators have come up with maps that gain enough ground for Republicans. Redistricting experts and Democrats were quick to say that the Governor’s map would surely run afoul of both the federal Voting Rights Act and the Fair Districts amendment of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would definitely be challenged in court, they said.

With Legislature in Session, speak now, or forever hold your peace” via Omari Hardy for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Every year, it seems, another billionaire moves to our state, another Wall Street firm opens an office in Florida, another Fortune 500 company leaves its headquarters in New York, or California, and relocates to our state to do business here in the sunshine. But has this corporate feeding frenzy benefited the working-class people of our state? Hardly. As Florida’s rich have gotten richer, as our biggest corporations have booked massive profits, everyday Floridians — the essential workers and small-business owners who power our economy and create jobs in our communities — have been left to fend for themselves. The problem is that, in Tallahassee, your connections matter much more than the merits of your cause.

Florida education scandal reveals conflicts, money-grubbing for tax dollars” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Two top officials, including a former chair of the State Board of Education, tried to score a $1.8 million contract off the very division they were helping run, a blatant conflict of interest. Both resigned. And the Governor’s office now suggests that should be the end of the story. The scandal involves the tiny, troubled Jefferson County School District in the Panhandle, which state officials turned over to a private company in 2017. The state wanted to hire yet another company to help oversee the transfer for approximately $1.8 million. The money was apparently too much to resist for state Board of Education member Andy Tuck and Vice-Chancellor Melissa Ramsey. The conflict of interest was as wrong as it was obvious.

New bill to eliminate Florida’s prescribed burn program poses great harm to our state” via Alan Shelby and Jim Karels for the Tallahassee Democrat — A new bill from activists in the Florida Legislature would handicap Florida’s prescribed burning program, putting our state, our homes, and our people at great risk. Sen. Gary Farmer, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, proposed SB 1102 and HB 6085 to strip protections from last year’s Right to Farm Act. Their proposal could weaken or eliminate one of the state’s most successful land management programs when it comes to protecting our people and environment.

—TODAY’S SUNRISE —

The 15-week abortion ban had its first hearing, giving Democrats their first crack at challenging it. Question No. 1: Why 15 weeks — and how is that constitutional?

Also on today’s Sunrise:

— Big Issues like abortion aren’t the only things being talked about this Session. We talk to a veteran political reporter about county delegations pushing their big issues … like sewers and road improvements.

— A Republican poll says there may be a reason behind the alleged rift between Trump and DeSantis. The Governor is polling almost as high as Trump among Republican primary voters.

— And we’ll let you hear what Stone has to say about the Governor in a new YouTube video.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Orlando to host U.S. final home World Cup qualifier in March” via The Associated Press — The United States will play its final home World Cup qualifier at Orlando, Florida, on March 27 against Panama. The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday that the match will be at Exploria Stadium, where the Americans beat Panama 4-0 on Oct. 6, 2017, also their next-to-last qualifier. Needing only a draw in their finale to qualify, the U.S. lost 2-1 four days later at Trinidad and Tobago, and the Americans’ streak of seven straight World Cup appearances was stopped. The U.S. is 4-0 at Exploria, which has a capacity of 25,500 and opened in 2014. This game against Panama is between qualifiers on March 24 at Mexico and March 30 at Costa Rica, where the Americans have nine losses and one draw in qualifying.

More restaurants reopening at Disney World” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Three more restaurants are scheduled to reopen soon at Walt Disney World. The trio, located inside or near company resorts, have been shuttered since the pandemic took hold in March 2020. Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk reopens Jan. 27, Turf Club Bar and Grill at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort reopens Feb. 3 and Jiko — The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge reopens Feb. 17. Reservations can be made at these locations as of Jan. 20. Menus are available at disneyworld.com.

Disney’s Flying Fish is among the venues making a post-pandemic return.

How ‘Encanto’ and its vibrant soundtrack became a viral phenomenon” via Bethonie Butler of The Washington Post — The animated film, about a Colombian family with magical gifts and an enchanted fortress that has protected them for generations, arrived in theaters in November to warm reviews. But the movie and its soundtrack, featuring original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a score by Germaine Franco, have gotten more popular since “Encanto” landed on Disney+ last month. In total, four songs from the film are on the Hot 100, nestled between smashes from Adele, Lil Nas X, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd. Its success, boosted by the film’s streaming debut and scores of “Encanto”-themed TikTok videos, has earned comparisons to “Frozen.”

The case for keeping up your Christmas tree until March” via Charlie Warzel of The Atlantic — Right now, there is a hole in my living room. It was not there last week. We’ve tried to cover it up, but nothing seems to work. I am, of course, talking about my Christmas tree (RIP). Two weeks ago, my street was a Griswoldian wonderland with twinkling lights silhouetting the eaves of my neighbors’ houses and robust-looking conifers standing proudly in their windows. The decision to take down our holiday decorations after New Year’s is an arbitrary act of seasonal austerity. Normalize prolonged festivity! I’m not suggesting that we need to leave our trees up all year. Take your tree down when you’re ready. Or don’t! Apologize for nothing.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to the incredible Marva Johnson, our dear friend Jen Lux, as well as Jim Horne, Michael Johnston, now with Shumaker Advisors, Christine Knepper, Chris O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times, and Rick Oppenheim.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.


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NJ Governor Candidates: Why You Should Elect Me (In 500 Words) https://expo-monet.com/nj-governor-candidates-why-you-should-elect-me-in-500-words/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 06:17:42 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/?p=1010 NEW JERSEY — If you had 500 words to convince New Jersey residents why they should vote for you as governor, what would you say? On Wednesday, as per tradition, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission released “position statements” from five candidates for governor in November’s general election. According to the commission: Find out […]]]>

NEW JERSEY — If you had 500 words to convince New Jersey residents why they should vote for you as governor, what would you say?

On Wednesday, as per tradition, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission released “position statements” from five candidates for governor in November’s general election.

According to the commission:

Find out what’s happening in Montclair with free, real-time updates from Patch.

“Under the law, gubernatorial candidates in the November 2 general election can post statements up to 500 words about their candidacies to guide voters. The statements are available in English, Spanish, Korean and Gujarati.”

This year, statements came from incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (Democratic Party), Jack Ciattarelli (Republican Party), Gregg Mele (Libertarian Party), Madelyn Hoffman (Green Party) and Joanne Kuniansky (Socialist Workers Party).

Their full statements follow below. >> Sign up for Patch election updates in New Jersey.

Find out what’s happening in Montclair with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Gov. Phil Murphy (Democratic Party)

In New Jersey, we’re used to doing big things and facing the challenges that come our way. There’s no question that the last year has tested us in ways we never imagined. Our next big challenge is where we go from here.

The answer is to do what we do best — move forward. I know that together, we can build a stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for every family.

We have accomplished so much over the past three and a half years.

We raised the minimum wage so that working families don’t have to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or putting food on the table.

We made sure millionaires pay their fair share in taxes so the middle class gets a break.

We expanded pre-K, made historic investments in schools, and launched tuition-free community college to ensure that every child has access to the education they need for a lifetime of success.

We reduced the cost of health care, and we expanded paid family leave — workers can now take time off to care for a loved one in their time of need.

We restored funding for Planned Parenthood to protect women’s health and reproductive rights after eight years of willful neglect by the previous administration.

We took bold steps to address environmental injustice. We put New Jersey on a path to replace every lead service line in the state over the next ten years, ensuring all New Jerseyans have safe and clean drinking water.

We made New Jersey a model of pandemic response by investing hundreds of millions in small businesses, providing assistance for renters, homeowners, and landlords, and closing the digital divide for 231,000 students. We are a national leader in vaccination, and we know that public health creates economic health.

We put a new emphasis on restoring New Jersey’s dominance in the innovation economy by reinvesting in job training and supporting clean energy jobs, preparing our workforce for the future while protecting our environment and combating climate change.

We’ve done exactly what we said we would do from day one: fight to make New Jersey stronger and fairer for everyone.

Growing up in a working-class family, my parents instilled in me the value of public service and the importance of giving back. Their beliefs in working hard, having your neighbor’s back, and that we all do better when each of us does better guide me. But the main lesson I took away is how action and working together can change people’s lives for the better.

That’s why I decided to run for Governor, and why I’m running again. Our work isn’t finished — and we can’t go back to when New Jersey only worked for the wealthy and well-connected. We need to combat longstanding disparities that this pandemic has laid bare and ensure a strong, equitable recovery for everyone.

I hope to earn your vote so that we can move forward together and keep building on that progress.

Jack Ciattarelli (Republican Party)

Today, New Jersey is #1 in all the WRONG things.

  • Highest property taxes in the nation
  • Worst business climate in the country
  • More people moving out than any other state

In fact, the average New Jersey resident pays nearly $1 million in taxes over the course of their lifetime. No other state is even close.

Governor Murphy’s response to this mess was to arrogantly tell people that: “If tax rate is your issue…we’re probably not your state.”

Not your state? Who says that?! I will tell you who – an out-of-touch Wall Street banker from Goldman Sachs who doesn’t get It and is too rich to care.

Unlike Phil Murphy, I was born and raised in New Jersey. Went to school here; earned my undergraduate degree and MBA from Seton Hall University; became a CPA; and built two successful Main Street businesses. Best of all, my wife Melinda and I raised our four children here, spending our summers down the Jersey Shore.

Now, I’m running to be your Governor with a plan to make New Jersey more affordable so that young people can get started here and retirees can afford to stay. My plan will make New Jersey attractive to business and entrepreneurs again, helping to create jobs and make us economically competitive with our neighbors. Last, but not least, I will proudly defend – NOT defund – our police while always standing with our brave men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line each day to keep us safe.

When you cast your vote this year, ask yourself one question: Are you better off after four years of Phil Murphy’s extreme policies?

New Jersey, we can do better. When I’m Governor, we will.

Gregg Mele (Libertarian Party)

The overly burdensome government of New Jersey, from the Governor’s executive order power grab and its numerous and onerous departments, makes life in the Garden State unnecessarily oppressive. Nothing has been done in decades to reduce the massive tax burden on the citizens of this great state. We’ve tried with candidates from the two major parties. They are owned by special interests. Moreover, Ms. Brownstein asserts that the lockdown-style executive orders can be abused and are destined to leave minorities and the voiceless without a way to be heard. There is only one party and one slate for Governor and Lt. Governor, this November, that will be un-hypocritical in protecting the rights of women, minorities and the unheard in this state. Only one ticket is committed to reducing the tax burdens that drive young families and retirees out of the state, while maintaining a functioning executive office.

The New Jersey Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in New Jersey. It is the only party that calls for the reduction in the size of government and in government spending and an end to the war on drugs. If you’re tired of not being heard by your state legislators and executive office and tired of carrying the yoke of an ever-increasing state budget and a constant grab of funds from your paycheck, vote Mele/Brownstein.

Madelyn Hoffman (Green Party)

As the Green Party of New Jersey’s candidate for governor in 2021, I will take no money from Political Action Committees and no money from major corporations. I will be beholden to no one but the people of New Jersey!

I am running because there is no time to wait for the incrementalism of either the Democrats or the Republicans. Whether the issue is over-development, climate change gentrification or single-payer health care system (not the Affordable Health Care Act) granting all New Jersey residents access to quality health care, especially during the continued pandemic, or the expiration of the eviction moratorium or the termination of unemployment benefits, the state of New Jersey needs to take swift and decisive action to enact a real, eco-socialist Green New Deal. Hurricane Ida showed us how much New Jersey needs a Green New Deal. We don’t have time to wait until 2030 for 50% of New Jersey’s energy to come from renewable sources. We certainly don’t have time to wait until 2050 for 100% of New Jersey’s energy to come from renewable sources. It’s already too late!! We must stop granting permits now for oil and gas pipelines or power plants burning fossil fuels.

HEALTH CARE: Tweaking the Affordable Care Act is not a solution to this state’s and this country’s health care crisis. As Governor, I will advocate for a single-payer, improved and expanded Medicare for All. Recent experience during the pandemic showed how seriously flawed our healthcare system is when 14 million people nation-wide lost their health insurance coverage when they lost their jobs. No one should have to worry about being treated for whatever ailment they have, be it COVID-19, cancer, hypertension, diabetes and more. No one should have to worry that they can’t afford the medications or treatments needed to keep their illnesses at bay.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: The legalization of cannabis was supposed to help address decades of discrimination through restorative justice, but has failed. No Black, Brown or women-owned companies have been granted licenses as dispensaries or cultivators. Instead, NJ favors a Canadian company. We need permission to home-grow in New Jersey and automatic expungement of possession violations. We need reparations and a defunding and demilitarization of the police. ICE needs to be abolished and current contracts ended now.

EDUCATION: We need to reverse the trend toward charter schools and concentrate on improving public schools. We must keep remote learning an option during these uncertain times, continue to teach Critical Race Theory and restructure funding for education. Let’s make college tuition-free and forgive student loan debt.

Joanne Kuniansky (Socialist Workers Party)

Joanne Kuniansky is a union fighter who has worked in oil refineries, railroads, meat packing. She currently is a Walmart deli worker.

The Socialist Workers Party builds solidarity with todays’ labor battles, from striking Alabama coalminers to Nabisco workers. Workers face defending themselves from bosses demanding we give up hard won gains. Kuniansky travelled to Alabama to join a miners’ support rally and got messages of support and contributions from her co-workers to their strike fund.

Unions must lead workers to get vaccinated and get back to work, putting us in the best position to fight bosses’ attacks and build solidarity with union struggles, fights against cop brutality.

With millions unemployed and rising inflation, unions need to fight for a federally funded public works program to put millions to work at union-scale wages building hospitals, schools, housing that workers need. Shorten the workweek with no cut in pay to stop layoffs! Cost-of-living clauses in every contract that raise pay and retirement benefits to offset every price rise!

Workers must break from the bosses’ Democratic and Republican parties and build a political party of our own, a labor party, based on our unions. The SWP aims to be part of building the leadership we need to unify all those exploited by the capitalist class and replace their rule with a workers and farmers government.

Deaths in the wake of Hurricane Ida are an indictment of capitalist rule and all the parties that defend it. Workers were swept away in their cars, drowned in basement apartments. Thousands left to fend for themselves, homeless and without power. The deadly lack of preparedness and belated government response turned a “natural” disaster into a social catastrophe.

The government in Cuba organizes workers and farmers to confront these deadly forces of nature with minimal loss of life. That is only possible because workers and farmers were organized by their communist leadership to make a socialist revolution – to take political power into their own hands and take control of the factories, land and banks from the capitalists, transforming themselves in the process. My campaign points to the necessity of working people in the U.S. emulating that example and building a party here that can lead millions to make a socialist revolution.

Along that road working people need to fight for the right of women to family planning, including safe and secure birth control and abortion, essential for winning women’s emancipation. Protest ongoing attacks on the right to choose abortion.

The working class needs our own foreign policy, we share common class interests with working people worldwide. We oppose all Washington’s wars and demand an immediate end to its embargo of Cuba and the sanctions it inflicts on the peoples of Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.

The SWP calls for unconditional recognition of Israel as a refuge for Jews. We urge unions to protest Jew hatred – a deadly danger to advancing the class interests and solidarity of all workers and toiling farmers.

Send news tips and correction requests to eric.kiefer@patch.com

Sign up for Patch email newsletters. Learn more about posting announcements or events to your local Patch site.

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Open letter to Josh Allen on behalf of Buffalo https://expo-monet.com/open-letter-to-josh-allen-on-behalf-of-buffalo/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:27:23 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/open-letter-to-josh-allen-on-behalf-of-buffalo/ Dear Josh, I grew up watching the Buffalo Bills in the 2000s. I think my first full season as a Bills fan was the 2000 season. That was the season after the Music City Miracle Wild Card playoff game, that of many Buffalonians call it “Home Run Throwback”. The 2000 season was when the infamous […]]]>

Dear Josh,

I grew up watching the Buffalo Bills in the 2000s. I think my first full season as a Bills fan was the 2000 season. That was the season after the Music City Miracle Wild Card playoff game, that of many Buffalonians call it “Home Run Throwback”.

The 2000 season was when the infamous 17-year playoff drought began for the Bills, and it ended up meaning people my age knew nothing but losing football their entire lives. My first vivid memory of the Bills was the Wild Card game in Nashville.

In those 17 years, the Bills had a dozen starting quarterbacks over those years, with some players causing huge disappointment among fans.

There was a point where I wasn’t even sure the Bills would be any good again – like in a weird way it was my fault, as soon as I started watching the team, the drought has begun.

I never missed a Bills game. I continued to watch the team, even through horrible seasons like 2006, 2010, 2012, 2016 and all the others in between.

I also loved college football and remember watching potential NFL quarterback deals and in the fall of 2016 I saw the highlights of this kid named Josh Allen from the University of Wyoming.

I was in awe of what you could do on the football field. In the discussion about the strongest arm I’ve ever seen. Ridiculous athletic ability for someone your size. The kind of arm skill and athleticism that only John Elway could match. Sure, the same old things we’ve heard about before were reasonable concerns (completion percentage, decision making, mechanics), but coaching and patience could fix all of that.

I remember joking with my friends during the 2017 NFL and college football season, “Boy, wouldn’t it be something if the Bills actually signed this kid in the first round? My quarterback hope favorite I’ve ever seen coming to my team?” “

That was still a long way off because so many teams need a quarterback and it turns out the Bills broke the playoff drought in 2017 and didn’t have a top-10 pick. at the draft, what everyone thought it would take to hook you or any other high-end QB prospect in this class.

But the Bills maneuvered enough thanks to the work of general manager Brandon Beane, to climb to number 7 in the 2018 draft and the guy I dreamed of coming to the Bills, actually got drafted by Buffalo.

What I mean is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of Bills fans, not just in western New York, but across the country and in North America, who have waited over 20 years for a quarterback to come with the physical traits and play in the field to back it up.

What happened at the end of the AFC Divisional Round against the Kansas City Chiefs sucked. There’s no other way around the cold hard truth – this game will forever haunt players and fans for years to come, or at least when the Bills win the Super Bowl.

I can’t imagine how you felt then and how you still feel now. No quarterback in NFL playoff history has had a better two-game streak than you. Nearly 800 yards in total; 9 touchdown passes; 0 turnover; more than 150 yards on the ground; 149.0 passer rating. Literally played perfectly and as tight as a quarterback could be on the biggest stage with everyone watching.

Keep playing like this. The skill set is natural, but what you have meant to Bills fans and this community cannot be put into words. There are no words or phrases strong enough to specify how much you mean to Buffalo and this fanbase.

The Super Bowl is the ultimate prize and it will always be the go-to goal for the rest of your career. But what you’ve been through since graduating from Firebaugh High School, having to go to JUCO college, only getting one scholarship offer, going through a program like Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference and making them winners, proving that so many wrong skeptics out there — people who get paid to do analysis — to take a team that missed the playoffs 17 of 18 and get them to the playoffs three straight seasons with back-to-back division titles.

Never forget the joy and happiness you bring to so many people, because you are simply who you are. The Bills will always be contenders while you’re here at quarterback.

I think I speak on behalf of all Bills fans when I say you play once in a generation and we appreciate you playing for the Buffalo Bills.

I’m a big believer in fate and it was fate that landed Josh Allen in Buffalo to lead the Bills.

11 Photos of Why We Love Josh Allen

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WATCH: Things from the year you were born that no longer exist

Iconic (and sometimes silly) toys, tech, and electronics have been usurped since their grand entrance, either through technological advancements or common-sense breakthroughs. See how many things on this list trigger childhood memories – and which ones were there and gone so fast you completely missed them.

WATCH: 50 famous memes and what they mean

With the endless number of memes scattered across the internet, it’s hard to keep track. Just when you grasped the meaning of a hilarious meme, it has already become old news and been replaced by something equally enigmatic. Online forums like Tumblr, Twitter, 4chan, and Reddit are responsible for the majority of meme infections, and with constant posting and sharing, finding the source of an original meme is easier said than done. Stacker searched internet resources, pop culture publications and databases such as know your meme to find 50 different memes and what they mean. While the almost self-replicating nature of these vague symbols can become exhausting, memes at their core can also bring people together, as long as they have access to the internet.

50 Most Popular Restaurant Chains in America

YouGov surveyed the country’s most popular restaurant brands, and Stacker compiled the list to give readers context for the findings. Read on to browse the wide and varied variety of American restaurants. You might even find a favorite or two.

WATCH: Here are the pets banned in each state

Since the regulation of exotic pets is left to the states, some organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, are advocating for standardized federal legislation that would prohibit the ownership of large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home country, as well as nationwide.

RANKED: Here are the 63 smartest dog breeds

Is the breed of your trusty pup on the list? Read on to see if you’ll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog’s intellectual prowess the next time you walk your fur baby. Don’t worry: Even if your dog’s breed isn’t on the list, it doesn’t mean he’s not a good boy – some traits just can’t be measured.

WATCH: What major laws were passed in the year you were born?

The data in this list was acquired from reliable online sources and media. Read on to find out which major law was passed the year you were born and find out its name, vote count (if any), and its impact and significance.

WATCH: This is the richest city in every state

Just saying the names of these cities immediately conjures up images of grand mansions, fancy cars and fancy restaurants. Read on to see which city in your home state won the title of richest place and which place had the highest median income in the country. Who knows, your hometown might even be on this list.

Inside Amazon: A Detailed History of America’s Largest Online Retailer

Stacker has compiled a list of key moments in Amazon’s history and current operations from a variety of sources. Here’s a look at the events that transformed an online bookstore into a global conglomerate and a self-made entrepreneur into the world’s second richest man.
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Square and PayPal face cost disclosures for small business loans https://expo-monet.com/square-and-paypal-face-cost-disclosures-for-small-business-loans/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:27:23 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/square-and-paypal-face-cost-disclosures-for-small-business-loans/ Not Just Cookies, a growing wholesale and e-commerce bakery in Chicago. Company founder and baked goods enthusiast Johnathon Bush is opening more locations in Chicago and soon New York to get his brownies, cookies and pies out faster to customers hungry for desserts. But expanding his business didn’t come without growing pains when in 2019, […]]]>

Not Just Cookies, a growing wholesale and e-commerce bakery in Chicago. Company founder and baked goods enthusiast Johnathon Bush is opening more locations in Chicago and soon New York to get his brownies, cookies and pies out faster to customers hungry for desserts.

But expanding his business didn’t come without growing pains when in 2019, Bush took two cash advances from merchants to help pay payrolls and pay rent for the brick-and-mortar store he was in. he operated at the time.

“You are under enormous pressure because you have people depending on you. So you’re in really bad shape and you’re desperate” while exploring funding options, Bush said. A broker referred him to merchant cash advance companies even though he would have qualified for lower-cost options, Bush said, he learned later.

The funds were delivered quickly, but came with significant fees on top of the funding rate which were not well disclosed, he said. He also felt misled about the interest rate he was initially offered, which did not appear to match the amount the company was taking from his accounts daily.

“There was no transparency,” Bush said.

De facto national standards

Soon, merchant cash advance companies as well as prominent fintech lenders like PayPal Inc. and Lending Club Corp. could be required by state authorities to provide much more transparency to small business borrowers.

Regulators in California and New York have proposed requirements for online lenders to disclose the cost of financing demanded by small business borrowers, such as interest rates and fees. Lawmakers in Connecticut, New Jersey and North Carolina introduced similar legislation.

Once in place, potentially as early as January 1, 2022 in New York, the state rules could create de facto national standards that small business borrowers have not had access to due to a loophole in federal law.

Better disclosures and more transparency would help contractors avoid the financing that accompanies the kind of aggressive and costly reimbursement that Bush experienced as soon as he took the lead.

“It will probably save a lot of small businesses,” he said.

recovery phase

Proponents of state regulatory efforts say the need for better disclosures is ripe as small businesses struggle to get back on their feet after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The hope is that the standard can make it easier for small businesses to get out of the hole they were in and not fall back into lending they didn’t fully understand,” said Armen Meyer, head of public policy at Lending. Club.

According to estimates by the Responsible Business Lending Coalition, state funding disclosure laws could save California small businesses $2.9 billion and New York small businesses $1.75 billion a year. The group includes online lenders Funding Circle and Lending Club, as well as community development lenders and small business organizations.

As two of the largest U.S. markets to act first on the issue, regulations in California and New York “will set a benchmark for disclosure practices for all potential borrowers,” said Jonathan Pompan. , Co-Chair of Venable LLP’s Consumer Financial Services Practice. Group.

“At the federal level, the focus has been on consumer borrowing, not small business,” Pompan said. This has left a void for many commercial borrowers, many of whom are individuals and minorities. “There is no small business protection office,” he said.

Online lenders have become an important source of financing for many small businesses. They were the third most common source of financing for small businesses over the past five years, according to a report 2021 of the Federal Reserve.

According to the report, commercial borrowers with medium or high credit risk were more likely to turn to online lenders for financing than low-risk borrowers. According to the report, black-owned businesses said availability of credit would be their toughest challenge coming out of the pandemic.

The Responsible Business Lending Coalition has been lobbying state governments for several years to bring more transparency to the market through standardized disclosures.

Its vision is inspired by the Truth in Lending Act, a federal law that requires the use of annual percentage rate and other cost disclosures for consumer loans. No similar federal law exists for small business borrowers.

“It creates market information symmetry for borrowers versus comparison stores, which then forces lenders to compete on price,” said Ryan Metcalf, U.S. head of public policy and regulatory affairs. of Funding Circle and spokesperson for the coalition.

“Today, that doesn’t exist. There is no single metric for borrowers to compare products, terms and prices, and these disclosures using the annual percentage rate are the way to do that,” Metcalf said.

Accurate look?

Some financial service providers, including PayPal, Square Inc., and Stripe, as well as cash advance companies, are concerned that their products may be disadvantaged, whether real or perceived, based on the disclosure parameters that states want to set up.

According to the companies, financing products that are repaid at variable rates, based on metrics such as a merchant’s sales volume, can be difficult to predict at the time of financing. An annual or monthly measurement does not accurately reflect the true cost of their funding, they say.

Others say that requiring both interest rates and fees to be expressed in a single APR statement would mislead borrowers about the cost of capital. Financial Innovation Now, a trade group representing Amazon.com Inc., Intuit Inc. and Apple Inc., as well as PayPal, Square and Stripe, request The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation allows companies to separately disclose rates and fees.

Otherwise, APR disclosures “will bear no relation to the true cost of credit” and could make comparison shopping “a confusing experience”, the group said.

Without provisions that take into account their different business models, the California and New York rules will not be considered a national standard for a segment of the commercial lending industry, said Katherine Fisher, co-chair of the financing practice group. businesses of Hudson Cook LLP.

“I hope state legislatures don’t wholesale adopt the New York and California models, and instead consider which disclosures are likely to be the most accurate and useful for small businesses,” he said. she declared.

State provisions

New York’s proposed draft rules, released Sept. 21, would require disclosures for funding under $2.5 million. It also provides methods for calculating finance charges and APR. The disclosure requirements would go into effect on January 1, 2022, under New York law.

California’s rules took more than a year to implement, but the lending community expects that state to come up with its own regulations soon to keep pace with New York.

Disclosures would be required for any funding below $500,000. They also propose requiring lenders to calculate and provide an APR or other metrics to display financing costs.

Federal efforts

Meanwhile, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is emerging as a potential player in small business finance disclosure.

Rohit Chopra, who was confirmed as the CFPB new director earlier this month, is widely seen as an aggressive enforcer of consumer loan laws and the agency’s Dodd-Frank Act sweeping powers against unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

Chopra took on online commercial lenders as a Democratic member of the Federal Trade Commission. As Commissioner, he call for the FTC to “examine” the trade claims of certain merchant cash advance providers who operated more like installment lenders, which are subject to federal anti-discrimination laws and the Equal Opportunity Act credit.

The CFPB is already developing ways to measure the equity of small business loans and has embedded on a data collection effort to better understand the financing terms that minority women and small business borrowers receive.

“The open question then is what’s next and how will this data be used by decision makers and the office itself,” Venable’s Pompan said.

The RBLC hopes that the California and New York regulations will serve as models for the CFPB’s eventual small business loan disclosure requirements.

“It’s a natural extension of what commercial borrowers should expect and what lenders should do,” Meyer said.

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How to stay compliant with your pay-as-you-go program https://expo-monet.com/how-to-stay-compliant-with-your-pay-as-you-go-program/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:27:23 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/how-to-stay-compliant-with-your-pay-as-you-go-program/ It’s a market for job seekers. Unemployment is at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic and workers are not showing great urgency to fill vacancies. Employers need an edge. Here is pay on demand. Employees no longer have to wait two weeks or a month to get paid. They can access their […]]]>

It’s a market for job seekers. Unemployment is at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic and workers are not showing great urgency to fill vacancies. Employers need an edge.

Here is pay on demand. Employees no longer have to wait two weeks or a month to get paid. They can access their money as soon as they earn it.

Companies wishing to offer this benefit should be aware of federal and state laws applicable to payday loan and payday advance programs, including the limitations and durability of the advisory opinion provided by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) . These rules and guidelines deal with fees, wage recovery and remedies, required disclosures, etc. Knowing them is vital.

Learn more: How pay-as-you-go improves employee well-being

Why pay-as-you-go is important

Workers have been under incredible stress over the past 18 months as the pandemic has turned lives upside down. Almost everyone was affected directly or indirectly. Pay-as-you-go is one way to ease the financial stress of the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic.

According to a survey conducted by Bank of America earlier this year, 56% of employees said they were worried about money, 53% said stress interfered with their ability to work, and more than 80% said financial benefits were essential to their financial security.

People want payment on demand

A recent study of more than 1,000 workers by HR software company Ceridian found that people at all income levels want to get paid immediately.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they would be more loyal to an employer if they offered free and immediate access to their earnings. Additionally, 81% said they would be more likely to work for a company that provided free access to earned income than an employer that did not.

Due to the growing demand for the service, a host of companies are offering some type of earned wage access. As service and costs increase, the likelihood of increased regulation, licensing and oversight will also increase. On October 12, 2021, a coalition of 96 consumer, labor, civil rights, legal, religious, community and financial and academic organizations wrote a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) urging it to revoke or revise significantly two measures taken at the end of 2020 regarding Earned Wage Access (EWA) products. The group believed that the CFPB’s advisory opinion declaring that certain EWA programs were not “credited” under the Truth in Lending Act and subject to Regulation Z threatened to create loopholes in federal credit and fair loans. They also believed it could be misused to promote fintech exemptions in state payday loan law.

Learn more: Pay-as-you-go: An increasingly popular employee wellness tool

State-level regulations

If not carefully managed, access to earned wages can become another form of payday lending. California was the first state to address industry regulation before the bill blocked in the legislature end of 2020.

New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Utah, Nevada, and North Carolina have also attempted to regulate EWAs. Utah’s legislation also stalled in the legislature. The American Payroll Association’s Government Relations Task Force Subcommittee on State and Local Matters Supports Nevada and South Carolina Bills That Would Allow Employers to Offer Employee Workplace Programs access to earned wages (EWA). Both bills require licenses and disclosures.

The New Jersey State Assembly focused on employer-sponsored programs used solely as employee benefits. Its senate has yet to take up the measure, but an accompanying bill is pending. Other states have adopted approaches like New Jersey’s, and it can be expected that more states will adopt similar legislation as the popularity of EWAs continues to grow.

Federal regulations

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau first looked into the matter in December 2020 when it issued a newsletter provide an advisory opinion on whether EWAs are credit extensions under The Truth in Lending Act and its Regulations Z.

According to American Bar Associationrule Z applies when:

  • Credit is offered or extended to consumers
  • The offer or granting of credit is carried out regularly
  • The credit is subject to finance charges or is payable by written agreement in more than four installments
  • Credit is primarily for personal, family or household purposes

To not be considered a Reg Z loan, the EWA must meet the following requirements:

  • Be employer-based
  • Cannot exceed the amount of wages earned but not paid
  • Salaries must be free, although the CFPB has indicated that a “nominal processing fee” is authorized without specifying
  • Payroll deduction is the only way to recover anticipated wages
  • If a payroll deduction fails, the company has no legal recourse against an employee
  • Users must receive clear information
  • No credit checks are allowed

What to look for in a compliant supplier

It doesn’t matter if you are an HR technology platform or an employer; there are important considerations to make before implementing a pay-as-you-go program. You need to determine if:

  • Provider charges interest, fees, or other finance charges for earned payday advance or to access funds
  • The activity is subject to state and federal regulation and supervision

Consult with your legal team to confirm that the pay-as-you-go provider is following all of the above to ensure long-term compliance.

Pay-as-you-go is quickly becoming the “must have” benefit. The only way to ensure that this benefits you and your employees is to carefully vet the supplier to ensure they comply with all relevant regulations. Knowing what to look for will help you stay on the safe side of the rules.

Do you have a pay-as-you-go program in place? What obstacles did you encounter during its implementation? Let us know on Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.

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Tribe-linked lenders strike with second RICO loan lawsuit https://expo-monet.com/tribe-linked-lenders-strike-with-second-rico-loan-lawsuit/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:27:23 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/tribe-linked-lenders-strike-with-second-rico-loan-lawsuit/ By Victoria McKenzie (January 13, 2022, 5:40 PM EST) – Online lender Aaniiih Nakoda Finance LLC has been hit with a second proposed racketeering class action lawsuit in Illinois under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act which accused the company of using a federally recognized tribe as a front to avoid prosecution for its […]]]>
By Victoria McKenzie (January 13, 2022, 5:40 PM EST) – Online lender Aaniiih Nakoda Finance LLC has been hit with a second proposed racketeering class action lawsuit in Illinois under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act which accused the company of using a federally recognized tribe as a front to avoid prosecution for its illegal predatory lending program.

Illinois resident Lauren Combs told a federal judge on Tuesday that the company, which does business as Bright Lending, illegally charged her 699.99% annual interest in violation of the 2021 law. on the Prevention of Predatory Lending from Illinois. “, she said, Bright Lending claims sovereign immunity from usury laws.

According to the complaint,…

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How to Get a Merchant Cash Advance in New Jersey https://expo-monet.com/how-to-get-a-merchant-cash-advance-in-new-jersey/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:27:23 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/how-to-get-a-merchant-cash-advance-in-new-jersey/ A merchant cash advance can be a lifesaver when you need quick funding. If you’ve ever been put in a situation where you don’t qualify or can’t wait for a traditional bank loan, this type of short-term financing can provide you with instant working capital. When you apply online with JSV Capital, the process is […]]]>

A merchant cash advance can be a lifesaver when you need quick funding. If you’ve ever been put in a situation where you don’t qualify or can’t wait for a traditional bank loan, this type of short-term financing can provide you with instant working capital. When you apply online with JSV Capital, the process is quick and easy and can deposit money into your account within 12-48 hours. If you’re in New Jersey and considering a cash advance for your business, we’ll tell you what to expect and how you can get one today.

How do cash advances work?

Although merchant cash advances are a convenient financing solution, they are quite different from traditional loans. Unlike a loan, a merchant cash advance does not require collateral to obtain financing and does not affect your credit score upon application. Instead, a lender essentially invests in future sales of your business in exchange for capital. This means that after receiving a lump sum, a portion of your income will automatically be withdrawn to repay your lender, either from your bank account or from your credit card deposits. Therefore, lenders have a low risk of loss if your business defaults. At JSV, itReview checks are required for all loan programs. However, they make a soft credit application so as not to affect the business owner’s credit.

The amount that borrowers are required to repay is calculated by a factor rate, which is different from an interest rate. Factor rates are designed to be directly proportional to the amount of money you receive.

merchant cash advance new jersey

picture by Karolina Grabowska

How to Get a Merchant Cash Advance in New Jersey

Of all the financing options, merchant cash advances are one of the easiest for business owners to qualify. In fact, their approval rates are 70% higher than traditional bank loans. Wondering how you can get a merchant cash advance in New Jersey? Here are the steps to follow:

1. Find the right lender

Now that you know what you’re getting into, you’ll want to seek out a well-established alternative lending institution. However, not all businesses are created equal. There are many lenders in the New Jersey market, but companies like JSV Capital, for example, offer a transparent, merchant-based cash advance process. From quick sign-ups to instant deposits, JSV Capital is the right lender for borrowers who have low credit scores, no collateral, or those who don’t qualify or can’t wait for a bank loan.

2. Complete an online application

Unlike many other financing options for your business, the process of obtaining a cash advance is simple and accessible. One of the features of JSV Capital is that the application can be completed entirely online in minutes, saving hours of paperwork. You will not be asked to provide documentation of your business history or tax documents. Instead, you just need to submit proof of income via bank statements or credit card purchases. Typically, borrowers applying for a merchant cash advance from JSV Capital have been in business for at least three months with proof of positive cash flow.

merchant cash advance new jersey

picture by Kaitlyn Baker

3. Receive funding instantly

After submitting your application, a financial specialist will review your documents. After approval, you will receive your funds. On average, the process can take one to two business days. However, once approved, funds will be deposited immediately. To make the cash advance process as seamless as possible, have your bank account number and/or routing number ready when you apply.

The amount of financing you can receive varies depending on the lending company and your business performance of the company. At JSV Capital, New Jersey business owners can receive up to $1,000,000 through a Merchant Cash Advance.

Financing options for your NJ business

No matter what industry your business is in, a cash advance can help your business in the short term. It can provide assistance in times of financial emergency. Plus, you might need it to cover unexpected expenses like broken equipment. Want to avoid late bill payments? A cash advance can bail you out.

Even if you are not in dire need of resources, a cash advance still has its benefits. You can use it to supplement your payroll, purchase new inventory, fill cash gaps due to seasonal fluctuations and more. In addition to a merchant cash advance, JSV Capital offers secure and affordable financing options for your New Jersey business.

Main image by Tima Miroshnichenko

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Legal-Bay Pre-settlement Funding Announces Financial Assistance for Tenants Facing Eviction | national news https://expo-monet.com/legal-bay-pre-settlement-funding-announces-financial-assistance-for-tenants-facing-eviction-national-news/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:27:23 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/legal-bay-pre-settlement-funding-announces-financial-assistance-for-tenants-facing-eviction-national-news/ YONKERS, NY, January 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Legal-Bay LLC, The Presettlement Funding Company, today announced that it is ready to accelerate its already fast turnaround times to approve cases of New York residents threatened with eviction. Statewide moratoriums have been in place since the start of the pandemic, but as of last week those guarantees […]]]>

YONKERS, NY, January 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Legal-Bay LLC, The Presettlement Funding Company, today announced that it is ready to accelerate its already fast turnaround times to approve cases of New York residents threatened with eviction. Statewide moratoriums have been in place since the start of the pandemic, but as of last week those guarantees have been allowed to expire, creating an undue financial burden for more than 200,000 New York City residents who may still experience a decrease in employment due to Covid closures.

For concerned tenants and landlords, this can be a stressful time to find themselves destitute. Legal-Bay is ready to help. Their settlement loan programs offer plaintiffs involved in an ongoing lawsuit a way to get money quickly and long before their case goes to trial.

Chris JanisCEO of Legal-Bay, commented: “The Covid eviction moratorium has been a big help, but now that it’s gone we’re seeing a lot of frantic customers in New York and New Jersey ask how they can get money to pay their rent quickly.

If you are a plaintiff involved in an ongoing lawsuit and need an immediate cash advance against an impending lawsuit settlement, please visit Legal-Bay HERE or call toll free at 877.571.0405.

Legal-Bay is a leader in settlement loan services and has some of the lowest rates and fastest approvals in the industry. Any new customer who has an ongoing lawsuit and needs money can now apply for loan settlement financing. Legal-Bay finances all types of lawsuit loans, including slips and falls, car accidents, truck accidents, MTA or subway accidents, and all personal injury cases.

Legal-Bay’s pre-settlement financing programs are designed to provide immediate cash in advance of the plaintiff’s anticipated monetary compensation. Non-recourse lawsuit loans, sometimes called lawsuit loans or settlement loans, are risk-free because the money does not need to be repaid if the recipient loses the lawsuit. Therefore, lawsuit loans are not really loans, but rather a cash advance.

To apply now, go to the company’s website HERE or call toll free at: 877.571.0405 where the officers are.

Contact: Chris JanisCEO

E-mail: info@Legal-Bay.com

Phone. : 877.571.0405

Website: www.Legal-Bay.com

Show original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/legal-bay-pre-settlement-funding-announces-funding-assistance-for-renters-facing-eviction-301471229.html

SOURCE Legal-Bay, LLC

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