Securities Fraud in Florida
In the state of Florida, investors must be aware that the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, administered and enforced by the Florida Division of Securities regulates the sale of securities and protects investors and their interests.
Florida’s laws regulating securities help to prevent advisors, brokers, and others from committing fraud. It is illegal for a trader to commit financial crimes, including misrepresentation of a company’s financial information to shareholders, insider trading, and third-party misrepresentation.
If you are an investor who suspects stock broker fraud, or if you believe your investments may have been mishandled or fraudulently invested, the experienced attorneys at Oakes & Fosher can help. Our team is skilled at securities arbitration litigation, and we can help. We handle investment fraud cases in Florida and throughout the nation.
Stockbroker Fraud in Florida
Investments such as stocks, bonds, equity shares, mutual funds, oil or agricultural futures all fall under the canopy of securities.
As an investor, it is critical to understand where your money is going and how strategy changes can affect your returns. Most often, investors rely on stockbrokers, advisors, and other experts to direct their investments toward maximized or calculated returns. Of course, no investment strategy is foolproof, but sometimes the “experts” take advantage of clients so that they can use investor money to advance their own interests.
Stockbrokers in Florida, also called securities sales agents, must pass a comprehensive formal examination called the Series 7 General Securities Representative Examination in order to be licensed to deal in securities.
Licensed securities sales agents must register with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation Division of Securities, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a self-regulatory organization (SRO). In order to maintain their licensure, they must renew their license each year and complete annual continuing education credits.
Without these certifications, unregistered agents or brokers who buy, sell, or trade securities on behalf of someone else is committing fraud.
What is Florida Securities Fraud?
Under Florida law, it is illegal to provide investment advice or render an offer, sale, or purchase of a security or investment directly or indirectly in order to defraud an investor; to mislead an investor by omitting facts or issuing untrue statements; or to engage in a deceitful transaction.
Of course, there are specifics to these laws, and the securities fraud attorneys at Oakes & Fosher can help you determine if you’ve been the victim of this white collar crime.
The statute of limitations in Florida is generally two years from when the violation was either discovered, or should have been discovered, and no more than five years from the time the infraction occurred.
Anyone who violates securities fraud laws in Florida faces third degree felony charges. These charges carry a punishment of a fine up to $5,000 and/or up to five years in prison.
If the person committing securities fraud obtains more than $50,000 from their scheme, they can be found guilty of a first degree felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or up to 30 years in prison.
If the conviction is not the person’s first time being found guilty of scamming investors, the courts may impose steeper penalties.
Regardless of past conviction, those committing securities fraud may also face civil penalties to compensate the victim(s).
Do you believe you are the victim of securities fraud in Florida?
Florida Stockbroker Fraud Resources
Florida Attorney General’s office: https://myfloridalegal.com/
Florida Office of Financial Regulation: https://www.flofr.com/sitePages/DivisionOfSecurities.htm
Civil remedies related to the above:
National Securities Fraud Resources
FINRA – http://www.finra.org/
BrokerCheck – https://brokercheck.finra.org/
SEC – https://www.sec.gov/
Contact Our Attorneys
If you have been the victim of stockbroker fraud in Florida, contact the expert attorneys at Oakes & Fosher. We are experienced in navigating the sometimes-complicated laws regulating securities, and we can protect your interests. We’ll make sure your voice is heard.