Securities Fraud

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DEFINITION of 'Securities Fraud'

A type of serious white-collar crime in which a person or company, such as a stockbroker, brokerage firm, corporation or investment bank, misrepresents information that investors use to make decisions. Securities Fraud can also be committed by independent individuals (such as by engaging in insider trading). The types of misrepresentation involved in this crime include providing false information, withholding key information, offering bad advice, and offering or acting on inside information.

BREAKING DOWN 'Securities Fraud'

Allegations of securities fraud are investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). The crime can carry both criminal and civil penalties, resulting in imprisonment and fines. Some common types of securities fraud include manipulating stock prices, lying on SEC filings, and committing accounting fraud. Some famous examples of securities fraud are the Enron, Tyco, Adelphia and WorldCom scandals.

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