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Houston Texas Business Law Firm

Ex-wife and friend caught up in man's securities fraud case

One of the biggest fears for people who are involved in handling investments as a broker or as part of a company is the Securities and Exchange Commission making allegations against them. Even if the person was not involved or got caught up in a situation he or she was unaware of, the mere stain of being mentioned as part of a securities fraud investigation or due to violations of federal securities laws can follow them around forever. The SEC does not pursue cases it does not think it can win and a conviction can result in a long jail sentence and a negative perception in the business community and with the public. This does not mention the financial ramifications. It is vital to lodge a strong defense against these charges.

A man who took on the persona of "Frack Master" and was accused of committing fraud in the oil and gas industry has seen his case extend to his former wife and a friend. The judge in the case against the man issued an order that the former wife pay $900,000 from the money she had gotten from her ex-husband from his scheme. The friend was ordered to pay $222,000 earlier this year. The ex-wife and friend have not admitted to taking part in the enterprise.

Understanding a joint venture and if it is a wise strategy

It takes a certain amount of fortitude to start a business in Texas along with significant risk. However, when the business start-up becomes a success, it can be rewarding in many ways including financially and personally. A persistent sticking point for many when they consider starting their own business is how it should be structured. One strategy that is often used and has benefits and drawbacks is a joint venture. Understanding what a joint venture is, how it works and if it is the wisest course of action can make or break a business. When moving forward, it is always advisable to have legal help.

A joint venture is a partnership. There are various advantages and disadvantages to using this business formation. It is important to know how this type of agreement will affect aspects of the business. Liability is one. With liability, those in a joint venture will have an unlimited amount of liability when it comes to the company's debts and obligations. There is no separation between the partners. If, for example, a debt is owed and the creditor is seeking to take a car, a property or bank account, it can do so. A personal creditor can also seek business assets to cover a personal debt.

Companies charged with fraud over stock promotion stories

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed charges against several companies accused of hiring writers to promote their stocks, without disclosing the writers were being paid to create these promotional articles.

The accused companies hired communication firms and other writers to create stories that cast the companies in a positive light, all while the writers pretended to be impartial sources. These stories were essentially paid advertisements written under the guise of expert advice. The stories appeared in well-known publications like Wall Street Cheat Sheet, Benzinga and Seeking Alpha. There were more than 250 articles written.

Financial worker and two friends charged with SEC violations

In the fast-paced world of high finance, people in Texas and across the U.S. who are seeking to make as much money as they can as quickly as they can might engage in behaviors that will draw the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission. To be fair, the rules that govern federal securities law can be somewhat confusing and people might not realize that the hot tip they received or the steps they have taken to make a smart investment and garner a positive outcome was illegal. It is not until they are arrested that they realize the scope of SEC enforcement and must consider how to lodge a defense against allegations that the law was violated.

Arrests were made in New York alleging three people used insider trading to make money on one company purchasing another. One man, 32, worked as an analyst at Standard & Poor's. He is accused of giving a tip to two other men that there was a transaction about to take place in which two paint manufacturers were doing a deal. He is said to have seen confidential memos while on the job.

A lawyer can help with charges of securities fraud

The world of high finance is the foundation for people living a notable lifestyle and being prominent throughout Texas and across the nation. It is the basis for a great deal of fiction in books, television and film. However, although it might make for interesting theater when watching it on television or reading about it in a book, being accused of securities fraud is a serious problem that can lead to major penalties with incarceration, fines and more. It does not even necessarily need to be a person who is a heavy investor. Casual investors can be caught up in illegality as well. Those who are confronted with these accusations must make certain they understand what they are up against and craft a strong defense with legal assistance.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is constantly on the lookout for apparent illegality. Since so many different people are trying to make money in the securities market through stocks and other investment vehicles, it is not hard to get caught up in a situation where charges are filed. This is true even if the person who was charged either had no knowledge of what was happening or was a small fish in a large pond and is being used as an example.

Who can be a plaintiff in a case violating the False Claims Act?

Business in Texas and across the nation has become so cutthroat with the goal of profit taking precedence over anything else - including a violation of the law - that there is a significant amount of wrongdoing taking place. People who work at a job where they believe there is fraud might want to become a whistleblower, but are unaware of how to inform the authorities of what is happening and if they can even be a plaintiff in false claims/Qui Tam Claims. While these issues are always serious, that does not mean that the company is guilty. Having legal assistance for a defense is key to combating the charges.

Knowing the circumstances under which a person can be a plaintiff in such a case is the first step toward becoming a plaintiff. When there is a belief that fraud is happening but it has yet to be disclosed publicly, anyone has the right to file a qui tam claim. This is true even if the person does not have personal knowledge of the fraud. For example, if the person learns that there was fraud by an employer in any way, it is possible to move forward with qui tam.

What should I know about insider trading and its enforcement?

For Texans who work with securities and seek to make money by understanding the fluctuations and variances of the stock market or are involved in a business, it is wise to try to gather as much information as they can prior to risking their hard-earned money. For some, this might lead to violations of the federal securities law by taking part in insider trading. For others, they might have gotten caught up in a situation and not even realized that they had violated the law.

Law enforcement generally does not differentiate between whether the violations were intentional when it is pursuing an investigation, so it is important to understand what might constitute insider trading beforehand and especially after allegations of wrongdoing have been made. When a security is purchased or sold and there is a legal violation by having information that is not available to the general public, it can be considered insider trading. This can also happen when there is a "tip" given to a person who plans to buy the security and this is information that could only come from those who are involved in the inner workings of the company or with the stock.

What to know if you are thinking about filing an IPO

Filing an initial public offering (IPO) is a big step for a company. For many business owners, it is a goal they have long been working toward with their company. However, becoming publicly traded is not for every business. Below are some things to consider before you and your company start the process of filing an IPO.

What are my options with business formations in Texas?

For Texans who are planning a business start-up, one of the most important choices that must be made is the business structure. There are multiple alternatives when forming a business and knowing the benefits and potential drawbacks of each of them is critical to making the right selection. The first step is knowing the different forms available. There are generally six choices: sole proprietorship; general partnership; corporation; limited liability company; limited partnership; and limited liability partnership.

A sole proprietorship is the easiest business form. An individual will engage in the business and a formal organization will not be necessary. People might want to run the business under an assumed name. If that is the case, there must be an assumed name certificate. A general partnership is when two or more people join in a for-profit business. There will be no agreement in writing and it is not necessary to file with the state. The rules for an assumed name are the same as for a sole partnership.

Do I need a business lawyer?

Do you have a business? Are you thinking of starting one? The simple answer to the question posed in the title of this blog, then, is yes. You need an attorney.

It is admittedly common to view engaging a lawyer with apprehension. There is a cost involved and you want to avoid incurring costs unless they are necessary. However, you wouldn't drive a car without insurance. And the same argument applies when it comes to operating or expanding a business. From inspiration to fruition, every step of the process has legal implications, and one legal misstep can bring things to screeching halt.

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Important notice: Thomas C. Pritchard is a retired member of Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. Mr. Pritchard's address is 800 Bering Drive, Suite 201, Houston, Texas 77057. Brewer & Pritchard, P.C and Thomas C. Pritchard have shared the cost of this advertisement.

Referrals: Please note that as a general matter, Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. does not handle non-litigation matters. Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. refers all its non-litigation or "transactional" matters to Thomas C. Pritchard, who is a retired member of the firm. Thomas C. Pritchard does not handle any litigation cases and as a general matter, he refers all litigation cases to Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. and Thomas C. Pritchard have no other relationship to each other and do not share fees if or when a case or matter is referred by one to the other.

Not board certified: None of Brewer & Pritchard, P.C., J. Mark Brewer nor Thomas C. Pritchard is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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