US securities regulators are obtaining significant amounts in financial remedy orders from enforcement actions filed against actors accused of engaging in abusive trading practices.
In a statement, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says that during the fiscal year 2023, it initiated a total of 784 enforcement actions, marking an increase of 3% from last year.
The legal actions led to financial remedy orders amounting to $4.949 billion, the second-highest in the agency’s history after last year’s record of $6.4 billion. The amount comprises $3.369 billion in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and $1.580 billion in civil penalties.
The securities watchdog says it also distributed nearly $1 billion to harmed investors and awarded nearly $600 million for its Whistleblower Program in 2023, the most that the SEC awarded in a single year.
Says Gurbir S. Grewal, SEC director of the division of enforcement,
“Whether it was by leveraging risk-based initiatives, seeking robust remedies, rewarding cooperation, protecting whistleblowers, or returning nearly a billion dollars to harmed investors, the Enforcement Division stood up for the investing public.”
The regulator also considers 2023 as a productive and impactful year for enforcement actions related to crypto assets. The SEC says it went after a range of misconduct in the space, such as billion-dollar crypto fraud schemes, illegal celebrity touting as well as unregistered crypto asset offerings, platforms and intermediaries.
“In fiscal year 2023, the Division’s investigations resulted in litigated charges alleging massive crypto frauds, including charges against Terraform Labs and its founder Do Kwon; Richard Heart and three entities that he controls, Hex, PulseChain, and PulseX; FTX CEO Samuel Bankman-Fried, and other FTX executives.”