DEFINITION of 'Disgorgement'

A repayment of ill-gotten gains that is imposed on wrong-doers by the courts. Funds that were received through illegal or unethical business transactions are disgorged, or paid back, with interest to those affected by the action. Disgorgement is a remedial civil action, rather than a punitive civil action.

BREAKING DOWN 'Disgorgement'

Individuals or companies that violate Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations are typically required to pay both civil money penalties and disgorgement. Civil money penalties are punitive, while disgorgement is about paying back profits made from those actions that violated the SEC's regulations.

However, disgorgement payments are not only demanded of those who violate securities regulations. Anyone profiting from illegal or unethical activities may be civilly required to disgorge their profits.

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