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FMG Law Blog Line

Posts Tagged ‘#fraud’

DOJ and USCIS Join Forces Creating a Tougher Road for Employers

Posted on: May 18th, 2018

By: Layli Eskandari Deal

On May 11, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding information sharing and case referrals.  USCIS and DOJ state that this effort is meant to improve the way the agencies share information and collaborate on cases “to better detect and eliminate fraud, abuse and discrimination by employers bringing foreign workers to the United States.”  The Memo allows the agencies to share information and help “identify, investigate and prosecute employers who may be discriminating against U.S. workers and/or violating immigration laws.”

This Memo has been entered into by the agencies in the spirit of “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order issued by President Trump.  This new collaboration most likely will lead to more audits, site inspections and requests for evidence and create a difficult path for foreign workers and their employers.

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Layli Eskandari Deal of the law firm of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].

S.E.C. Warns Customers and Financial Advisors Regarding Overstated Credentials

Posted on: June 8th, 2015

By: John H. Goselin, II

They say everybody does it.  Embellishing your resume to get a job, attract business or get ahead in this highly competitive world.  Well, if you work in the financial services industry and are trying to attract customers to invest their money with you, you better think twice.  The S.E.C. is highlighting their efforts to crack down on overstated credentials and warning potential investors that overstated credentials are a red flag for fraud. 

On June 4, 2015, the S.E.C. issued “Invest Alert: Beware of False or Exaggerated Credentials”.  Although the investment alert is directed at potential investors, it is a shot across the bow for investment advisors, registered representatives, investment advisory firms and broker-dealers generally.   The S.E.C. is cracking down.  They want potential investors to check your credentials and if the potential investors cannot confirm what you claim …. call the S.E.C.  … so they can launch a fraud investigation. 

The S.E.C. Alert highlights five recent proceedings where the S.E.C. has included, within their charges, allegations relating to overstated credentials.   These include:

  • falsely touting that the advisor was a “Top 25 Rising Business Star;”
  • falsely claiming to have graduated from the University of Maryland;
  • falsely holding yourself out as a certified financial planner;
  • over-emphasizing appearances on financial media shows; and
  • using Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts to inaccurately bolster the credentials of the financial advisor.

The cases referenced by the S.E.C.in their Alert involved actual fraudulent conduct, but it is probably only a matter of time before the S.E.C. punishes an embellisher despite the complete absence of fraud.   Moreover, there are a host of regulatory actions short of a formal action that the S.E.C. or other regulators can initiate short of a formal action.

Fraud definitely exists; and fraudsters definitely will say anything to further perpetuate their fraudulent activities.  Diligence is important and customers should be cautious.  Thus, honest financial advisors have to be extra careful to only tout credentials that they can document and prove are legitimate.   Unfortunately, this is going to be a case by case exercise and financial advisors will need to closely monitor how the S.E.C. proceeds with its anti-embellishment enforcement actions.

The time, expense and inconvenience of a regulator (or a customer) challenging an embellishment on your resume is simply not worth the risk (or the cost).   So take a look at your resume.  Review your website and your marketing materials.  No more stretching the limits.   It may make the marketing a little harder, but that is much better than the headache of a regulator challenging your resume.