15 U.S. Code § 77h–1 - Cease-and-desist proceedings
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(a) Authority of Commission
If the Commission finds, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that any person is violating, has violated, or is about to violate any provision of this subchapter, or any rule or regulation thereunder, the Commission may publish its findings and enter an order requiring such person, and any other person that is, was, or would be a cause of the violation, due to an act or omission the person knew or should have known would contribute to such violation, to cease and desist from committing or causing such violation and any future violation of the same provision, rule, or regulation. Such order may, in addition to requiring a person to cease and desist from committing or causing a violation, require such person to comply, or to take steps to effect compliance, with such provision, rule, or regulation, upon such terms and conditions and within such time as the Commission may specify in such order. Any such order may, as the Commission deems appropriate, require future compliance or steps to effect future compliance, either permanently or for such period of time as the Commission may specify, with such provision, rule, or regulation with respect to any security, any issuer, or any other person.
The notice instituting proceedings pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall fix a hearing date not earlier than 30 days nor later than 60 days after service of the notice unless an earlier or a later date is set by the Commission with the consent of any respondent so served.
(c) Temporary order
(1) In general
Whenever the Commission determines that the alleged violation or threatened violation specified in the notice instituting proceedings pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, or the continuation thereof, is likely to result in significant dissipation or conversion of assets, significant harm to investors, or substantial harm to the public interest, including, but not limited to, losses to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, prior to the completion of the proceedings, the Commission may enter a temporary order requiring the respondent to cease and desist from the violation or threatened violation and to take such action to prevent the violation or threatened violation and to prevent dissipation or conversion of assets, significant harm to investors, or substantial harm to the public interest as the Commission deems appropriate pending completion of such proceeding. Such an order shall be entered only after notice and opportunity for a hearing, unless the Commission determines that notice and hearing prior to entry would be impracticable or contrary to the public interest. A temporary order shall become effective upon service upon the respondent and, unless set aside, limited, or suspended by the Commission or a court of competent jurisdiction, shall remain effective and enforceable pending the completion of the proceedings.
This subsection shall apply only to a respondent that acts, or, at the time of the alleged misconduct acted, as a broker, dealer, investment adviser, investment company, municipal securities dealer, government securities broker, government securities dealer, or transfer agent, or is, or was at the time of the alleged misconduct, an associated person of, or a person seeking to become associated with, any of the foregoing.
(d) Review of temporary orders
(1) Commission review
At any time after the respondent has been served with a temporary cease-and-desist order pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the respondent may apply to the Commission to have the order set aside, limited, or suspended. If the respondent has been served with a temporary cease-and-desist order entered without a prior Commission hearing, the respondent may, within 10 days after the date on which the order was served, request a hearing on such application and the Commission shall hold a hearing and render a decision on such application at the earliest possible time.
(2) Judicial review
(A) 10 days after the date the respondent was served with a temporary cease-and-desist order entered with a prior Commission hearing, or
(B) 10 days after the Commission renders a decision on an application and hearing under paragraph (1), with respect to any temporary cease-and-desist order entered without a prior Commission hearing,
the respondent may apply to the United States district court for the district in which the respondent resides or has its principal place of business, or for the District of Columbia, for an order setting aside, limiting, or suspending the effectiveness or enforcement of the order, and the court shall have jurisdiction to enter such an order. A respondent served with a temporary cease-and-desist order entered without a prior Commission hearing may not apply to the court except after hearing and decision by the Commission on the respondent’s application under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3) No automatic stay of temporary order
The commencement of proceedings under paragraph (2) of this subsection shall not, unless specifically ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the Commission’s order.
(e) Authority to enter order requiring accounting and disgorgement
In any cease-and-desist proceeding under subsection (a) of this section, the Commission may enter an order requiring accounting and disgorgement, including reasonable interest. The Commission is authorized to adopt rules, regulations, and orders concerning payments to investors, rates of interest, periods of accrual, and such other matters as it deems appropriate to implement this subsection.
(f) Authority of the Commission to prohibit persons from serving as officers or directors
In any cease-and-desist proceeding under subsection (a) of this section, the Commission may issue an order to prohibit, conditionally or unconditionally, and permanently or for such period of time as it shall determine, any person who has violated section 77q (a)(1) of this title or the rules or regulations thereunder, from acting as an officer or director of any issuer that has a class of securities registered pursuant to section 78l of this title, or that is required to file reports pursuant to section 78o (d) of this title, if the conduct of that person demonstrates unfitness to serve as an officer or director of any such issuer.
(g) Authority to impose money penalties
In any cease-and-desist proceeding under subsection (a), the Commission may impose a civil penalty on a person if the Commission finds, on the record, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that—
(A) such person—
(i) is violating or has violated any provision of this subchapter, or any rule or regulation issued under this subchapter; or
(2) Maximum amount of penalty
(A) First tier
The maximum amount of a penalty for each act or omission described in paragraph (1) shall be $7,500 for a natural person or $75,000 for any other person.
(B) Second tier
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the maximum amount of penalty for each such act or omission shall be $75,000 for a natural person or $375,000 for any other person, if the act or omission described in paragraph (1) involved fraud, deceit, manipulation, or deliberate or reckless disregard of a regulatory requirement.
(C) Third tier
Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), the maximum amount of penalty for each such act or omission shall be $150,000 for a natural person or $725,000 for any other person, if—
(i) the act or omission described in paragraph (1) involved fraud, deceit, manipulation, or deliberate or reckless disregard of a regulatory requirement; and
(3) Evidence concerning ability to pay
In any proceeding in which the Commission may impose a penalty under this section, a respondent may present evidence of the ability of the respondent to pay such penalty. The Commission may, in its discretion, consider such evidence in determining whether such penalty is in the public interest. Such evidence may relate to the extent of the ability of the respondent to continue in business and the collectability of a penalty, taking into account any other claims of the United States or third parties upon the assets of the respondent and the amount of the assets of the respondent.
Source(May 27, 1933, ch. 38, title I, § 8A, as added Pub. L. 101–429, title I, § 102,Oct. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 933; amended Pub. L. 107–204, title XI, § 1105(b),July 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 809; Pub. L. 111–203, title IX, § 929P(a)(1),July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1862.)
2010—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 111–203added subsec. (g).
2002—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 107–204added subsec. (f).
Effective Date of 2010 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 111–203effective 1 day after July 21, 2010, except as otherwise provided, see section 4 ofPub. L. 111–203, set out as an Effective Date note under section 5301 of Title 12, Banks and Banking.
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