State securities regulators opened more than 5,330 new investigations and continued work on nearly 1,700 ongoing investigations for a total of about 7,030 investigations in 2021, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association’s 2022 Enforcement Report on 2021 data.
State securities regulators took about 1,660 enforcement actions on these cases, which led to $312 million in restitution, nearly $146 million in fines, and over 735 years of criminal penalties, including incarceration and community supervision.
The report includes responses from 48 of NASAA’s U.S. member jurisdictions.
“The total number of investigations decreased slightly” from the previous two years, Joe Rotunda, vice chair of NASAA’s Enforcement Section, and director of the Enforcement Division of the Texas State Securities Board, told ThinkAdvisor Thursday in an email.
But fines jumped 118% from 2020, when they totaled $67 million, he said.
Rotunda points out that NASAA organized the COVID-19 Enforcement Sweep in 2020, “which resulted in a number of new cases and enforcement actions. It likely led to an increase in the number of investigations reported for the 2021 survey and the 2021 Enforcement Report.”
See the gallery for six schemes that state securities regulators pursued and that were highlighted in the recent NASAA report; the cases resulted in fines and, in several instances, prison time.