Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
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Many in Fairfax County automatically associate criminal charges with violence, clear instances of stealing, committing violations such as driving under the influence and even murder. However, other acts can lead to issues with the law that can yield harsh punishments. White collar crime charges can be treated just as seriously as many other crimes. One such crime is insider trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has certain rules designed to discourage illegal conduct and punish those who are caught engaging in it.

There are some instances in which the term "insider trading" is, in fact, legal. However, those who are concerned about the possibility of facing insider trading charges need to understand what constitutes the legal act versus the criminal act. If a security is bought or sold and there is a breaking of the law in breaching fiduciary duty using information that is not public, this is considered inappropriate and illegal. Providing tips to others regarding information that is not public is also considered insider trading.

These types of white collar crime charges have been lodged against people working in corporations, friends and relatives of people with inside information, outside firms who might have information from the corporation, government employees and others who somehow gleaned this information. The market is supposed to be evenhanded and fair with the same information available to everyone who wants it or researches it. This goal is undermined by insider trading, and it can lead to charges and penalties.

Given the numerous ways in which people can face charges for insider trading, they might or might not even have realized they were doing something illegal until they're charged. An innocuous piece of advice could constitute insider trading. While the penalties for insider trading can be hefty fines and even jail time, there are instances in which people might be able to pay restitution for their crime and move on with their lives without any long-term consequences.

Source: SEC.gov, "Insider Trading," accessed Jan. 11, 2015

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