Tag Archives: SEC

SEC Charges Investment Advisers With Cherry-Picking, Obtains Asset Freeze

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief, and filed fraud charges, against a Miami-based investment professional and two investment firms for engaging in an alleged “cherry-picking” scheme in which they channelled millions of dollars in trading profits to preferred accounts.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed under seal on June 10 in federal court in the Southern District of Florida and unsealed today, defendants Ramiro Jose Sugranes, UCB Financial Advisers Inc., and UCB Financial Services Limited engaged in a scheme since at least September 2015 to divert profitable trades to two accounts believed to be held by Sugranes’ relatives and saddle other clients with losing trades. The defendants allegedly used a single account to place trades without specifying the intended recipients of the securities at the time they placed the trades. As alleged, after the defendants established a position, if the price of the securities increased during the trading day, the defendants usually closed out the position and allocated those profitable trades to the two preferred accounts. Conversely, the complaint alleges that if the price of the securities decreased during the trading day, the defendants usually allocated the unprofitable trades to other client accounts. According to the complaint, the preferred clients, who are named as relief defendants, received approximately $4.6 million from profitable trades while other clients sustained more than $5 million in first-day losses.

“We allege that Sugranes used the UCB investment firms to funnel millions of dollars to two clients, while unloading over $5 million in first-day losses on their other clients,” said Joseph G. Sansone, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit.  “The SEC uses sophisticated analytical tools to ferret out investment professionals who abuse their positions to engage in cherry-picking and other fraudulent conduct, as we allege happened here.”

The SEC’s complaint charges Sugranes and the two UCB entities with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The complaint also names the preferred clients as relief defendants and seeks to recover their unlawful gains and prejudgment interest. On June 14, the court granted the SEC’s request for emergency relief, including an asset freeze, accounting, and expedited discovery.

The SEC’s investigation, which is ongoing, stems from the Market Abuse Unit’s Analysis and Detection Center, which uses data analysis tools to detect suspicious patterns, including improbably successful trading. The investigation is being conducted by Jeffrey E. Oraker, Daniel M. Konosky, and Helena Engelhart Bean of the Market Abuse Unit and Denver Regional Office with assistance from John Rymas of the Market Abuse Unit and Stuart Jackson and Joshua Mallet of the SEC’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis. The investigation is supervised by Danielle R. Voorhees and Joseph G. Sansone. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Christopher E. Martin and Mark L. Williams under the supervision of Gregory A. Kasper.

SEC Obtains Emergency Asset Freeze, Charges California Trader with Posting False Stock Tweets

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze and other emergency relief against an Irvine, California-based trader who used social media to spread false information about a defunct company, while secretly profiting by selling his own holdings of the company’s stock.

According to the SEC’s complaint, which was filed under seal in federal court in the Central District of California on March 2, 2021 and unsealed today, Andrew L. Fassari used the Twitter handle @OCMillionaire to tweet false statements about Arcis Resources Corporation (ARCS), a defunct Nevada company with publicly traded securities, during December 2020. Specifically, the complaint alleges that, on Dec. 9, 2020, Fassari began purchasing over 41 million shares of ARCS stock shortly before tweeting false information about ARCS to his thousands of Twitter followers, including falsely claiming that ARCS was reviving its operations, expanding its business, and being backed by “huge” investors. The complaint further alleges that, between Dec. 9 and 21, 2020, Fassari made approximately 120 tweets that referenced “$ARCS,” dozens of which were false and misleading. For example, he tweeted, “$ARCS 380,000 indoor cultivation 1 Million+ sq ft processing. WEEEEEEEEE This CEO has big plans for us” and “a ton of news coming and backed by huge investors for its #cannabis operation[.]” In seeking an injunction, the SEC alleges that Fassari continued to tweet about other stocks as recently as January and February 2021.

The complaint further alleges that, over the next several days, ARCS’s share price skyrocketed, ultimately increasing over 4,000%. The complaint also alleges that Fassari made false statements about his own trading in ARCS. Between Dec. 10 and 16, 2020, Fassari allegedly sold all his shares in ARCS for profits of over $929,000, all while continuing to publish false and misleading information about ARCS and his trading in ARCS.

“We allege that Fassari profited by using social media to deceive investors,” said Melissa R. Hodgman, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The SEC is committed to protecting investors by proactively monitoring suspicious trading activity tied to social media, and by charging those who use social media to violate the federal securities laws.”

The SEC’s complaint charges Fassari with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty from Fassari.

In addition, on March 2, 2021, the SEC issued an order temporarily suspending trading in the securities of ARCS.

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy recently alerted investors to the significant risks of making investment decisions based on social media.

The SEC’s investigation, which is ongoing, is being conducted by John Dwyer, Leslie Hughes, Jeb Wildschut, and Kerry Matticks, with the assistance of Stephen Glascoe and Jessica Regan in the Office of Investigative and Market Analytics, and is supervised by Danielle R. Voorhees, Jason J. Burt, and Kurt L. Gottschall. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Ms. Hughes, under the supervision of Gregory A. Kasper. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

SEC Suspends Trading in Multiple Issuers Based on Social Media and Trading Activity

As part of its continuing effort to respond to potential attempts to exploit investors during the recent market volatility, the Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended trading in the securities of 15 companies because of questionable trading and social media activity.

Today’s action follows the recent suspensions of the securities of numerous other issuers, many of which may also have been targets of apparent social media attempts to artificially inflate their stock price. The SEC continues to review market and trading data to identify other securities where the public interest and the protection of investors require trading suspensions.

“The SEC’s recent suspensions of trading in nearly two dozen securities – including 15 today – are one facet of our ongoing efforts to police the market and protect investors,” said Melissa Hodgman, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “We proactively monitor for suspicious trading activity tied to stock promotions on social media, and act quickly to stop that trading when appropriate to safeguard the public interest. We also remind investors to exercise caution and do their diligence before investing generally, including in companies promoted on social media.”

Today’s order states that trading is being suspended because of questions about recent increased activity and volatility in the trading of these issuers, as well as the influence of certain social media accounts on that trading activity. The order also states that none of the issuers has filed any information with the SEC or OTC Markets, where the companies’ securities are quoted, for over a year. As a result, the SEC suspended trading in the securities of: Bebida Beverage Co. (BBDA); Blue Sphere Corporation (BLSP); Ehouse Global Inc. (EHOS); Eventure Interactive Inc. (EVTI); Eyes on the Go Inc. (AXCG); Green Energy Enterprises Inc. (GYOG); Helix Wind Corp. (HLXW); International Power Group Ltd. (IPWG); Marani Brands Inc. (MRIB); MediaTechnics Corp. (MEDT); Net Talk.com Inc. (NTLK); Patten Energy Solutions Group Inc. (PTTN); PTA Holdings Inc. (PTAH); Universal Apparel & Textile Company (DKGR); and Wisdom Homes of America Inc. (WOFA).

The SEC also recently issued orders temporarily suspending trading in: Bangi Inc. (BNGI)Sylios Corp. (UNGS)Marathon Group Corp. (PDPR)Affinity Beverage Group Inc. (ABVG)All Grade Mining Inc. (HYII); and SpectraScience Inc. (SCIE). Each of these orders stated that the suspensions were due at least in part to questions about whether social media accounts have been attempting to artificially increase the companies’ share price.

Under the federal securities laws, the SEC can suspend trading in a stock for 10 days and generally prohibit a broker-dealer from soliciting investors to buy or sell the stock again until certain reporting requirements are met.

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy recently alerted investors to the significant risks of making investment decisions based on social media.

SEC Suspends Trading in Inactive Issuer Touted SpectraScience on Social Media

The Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended trading in an inactive company (SpectraScience) amid questions surrounding online promotion of the company’s securities and recent trading activity.

The SEC’s trading suspension order states that since late January 2021, certain social media accounts may be engaged in a coordinated attempt to artificially influence the share price of SpectraScience Inc. (OTC: SCIE), an inactive Minnesota-based corporation. The order further states that during the same period, the share price and trading volume of SpectraScience shares increased even though there was no publicly available news from the company.

The SEC’s order also states that SpectraScience is delinquent in its reporting, having not filed any periodic reports since 2017, and that its most recent website and phone number are non-functional.

On January 30, the SEC issued an alert warning investors to understand the significant risks of trading based on social media, noting that discussions on social media can tempt investors to “jump on the bandwagon,” leading to significant investment losses.

“This is a reminder that investors should exercise tremendous caution when investing based on social media or a sudden surge of enthusiasm for a particular security, especially where that interest does not appear tied to any news about the company or industry,” said Melissa Hodgman, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

Under the federal securities laws, the SEC can suspend trading in a stock for 10 days and generally prohibit a broker-dealer from soliciting investors to buy or sell the stock again until certain reporting requirements are met.

SEC Charges Investment Adviser and Others With Defrauding Over 17,000 Retail Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three individuals and their affiliated entities with running a Ponzi-like scheme that raised over $1.7 billion from securities issued by a New York-based asset management firm and registered investment adviser, GPB Capital.  The SEC also charged GPB Capital with violating the whistleblower protection laws. 

The SEC’s complaint alleges that David Gentile, the owner and CEO of GPB Capital, and Jeffry Schneider, the owner of GPB Capital’s placement agent Ascendant Capital, lied to investors about the source of money used to make an 8% annualized distribution payment to investors.  According to the complaint, these defendants along with Ascendant Alternative Strategies, which marketed GPB Capital’s investments, told investors that the distribution payments were paid exclusively with monies generated by GPB Capital’s portfolio companies.  As alleged, GPB Capital actually used investor money to pay portions of the annualized 8% distribution payments.  GPB Capital and Gentile with assistance from Jeffrey Lash, a former managing partner at GPB Capital, also allegedly manipulated the financial statements of certain limited partnership funds managed by GPB Capital to perpetuate the deception by giving the false appearance that the funds’ income was closer to generating sufficient income to cover the distribution payments than it actually was.

The SEC’s complaint further alleges that GPB Capital and Ascendant Capital made misrepresentations to investors about millions of dollars in fees and other compensation received by Gentile and Schneider.  As alleged, the fraudulent scheme continued for more than four years in part because GPB Capital kept investors in the dark about the limited partnership funds’ true financial condition, failing to deliver audited financial statements and register two of its funds with the SEC.  GPB Capital allegedly violated the whistleblower provisions of the securities laws by including language in termination and separation agreements that impeded individuals from coming forward to the SEC, and by retaliating against a known whistleblower.

“As alleged in our complaint, the defendants told investors that they would be paid distributions from profits of the portfolio companies when, in reality, many of the payments were being made from the investors’ own funds,” said Richard Best, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.  “This action shows our continued pursuit of those who deceive investors and conceal their misconduct to reap profits for themselves.”

Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, added, “Whistleblower protections are a cornerstone of the SEC’s whistleblower program.  The charges filed today reinforce the Commission’s commitment to protecting whistleblowers from retaliation and attempts to stifle the free flow of information to the Commission about possible securities law violations.”

The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court for the Eastern District of New York, charges Gentile, Schneider, GPB Capital, Ascendant Alternative Strategies, and Ascendant Capital with violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Lash with aiding and abetting certain of those violations.  The complaint also charges GPB Capital and Gentile with violating the antifraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and charges GPB Capital with violating the registration and whistleblower provisions of the Exchange Act and the Advisers Act’s custody and compliance rules.  The complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest and penalties.

The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Alabama Securities Commission, Illinois Securities Department, South Carolina Office of the Attorney General’s Securities Division, Office of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Securities Division, Missouri Securities Division, New Jersey Bureau of Securities, New York State Office of the Attorney General, and Texas State Securities Board.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Kristin M. Pauley, Lindsay S. Moilanen, Kerri L. Palen, David Stoelting, Neal Jacobson, Melissa A. Coppola, Alistaire Bambach, and Sheldon L. Pollock, and supervised by Lara S. Mehraban.  The SEC’s examination that led to the investigation was conducted by Anthony P. Fiduccia, Kristine E. Geissler, Todd Naznitsky, Amritpal Sidhu, Merryl Hoffman, and Thomas J. Butler. The litigation will be led by Mr. Stoelting, Ms. Pauley, and Ms. Moilanen. 

SEC Charges Deutsche Bank With FCPA Violations Related to Third-Party Intermediaries

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Deutsche Bank AG for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  As part of coordinated resolutions with the SEC and the Department of Justice, Deutsche Bank (DBK) has agreed to pay more than $120 million, which includes more than $43 million to settle the SEC’s charges. 

According to the SEC’s order, Deutsche Bank engaged foreign officials, their relatives, and their associates as third-party intermediaries, business development consultants, and finders to obtain and retain global business.  The order finds that Deutsche Bank lacked sufficient internal accounting controls related to the use and payment of such intermediaries, resulting in approximately $7 million in bribe payments or payments for unknown, undocumented, or unauthorized services.  The order further finds that these payments were inaccurately recorded as legitimate business expenses and involved invoices and documentation falsified by Deutsche Bank employees. 

“While third parties can assist in legitimate business development activities, it is critical that companies have sufficient internal accounting controls in place to prevent payments to third parties in furtherance of improper purposes,” said Charles Cain, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit

The SEC’s order finds that DBK violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Deutsche Bank agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay disgorgement of $35 million with prejudgment interest of $8 million to settle the action.  The SEC did not impose a civil penalty in light of the $79 million criminal penalty paid in the criminal resolution. 

The investigation was conducted by Jennifer Moore and Tanya Beard of the FCPA Unit in the Salt Lake Regional Office under the supervision of Daniel Wadley. 

SEC Obtains Emergency Asset Freeze Charges Crypto Fund Manager with Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced that it filed an emergency action and obtained an order imposing an asset freeze and other emergency relief against Virgil Capital LLC and its affiliated companies in connection with an alleged securities fraud relating to Virgil Capital’s flagship cryptocurrency trading fund, Virgil Sigma Fund LP. The Commission’s action alleges that the fraud was directed by Stefan Qin, an Australian citizen and part-time resident of New York, who owns and controls Virgil Capital and its affiliated companies.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Qin and his entities have been defrauding investors in the Sigma Fund since at least 2018 by making material misrepresentations about the fund’s strategy, assets, and financial condition.  The complaint alleges that the defendants misled investors to believe their money was being used solely for cryptocurrency trading based on a proprietary algorithm, while Qin and the entities used investment proceeds for personal purposes or for other undisclosed high-risk investments. Since at least July 2020, Qin and Virgil Capital have told investors who requested redemptions from the Sigma Fund that their interests would be transferred instead to another fund under the ultimate control of Qin but with separate management and operations, the VQR Multistrategy Fund LP. The complaint alleges that no funds were transferred and the redemption requests remain outstanding. The SEC’s complaint further alleges that Qin is actively attempting to misappropriate assets from the VQR Fund and to raise new investments in the Sigma Fund.

“This emergency action is an important step to protect investor assets and prevent further harm,” said Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “Qin allegedly made false promises to lure investors and then continued his deception to conceal his misuse of investor funds.”

The SEC‘s complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York on Dec. 22, 2020, charges Qin, Virgil Technologies LLC, Montgomery Technologies LLC, Virgil Quantitative Research LLC, Virgil Capital LLC, and VQR Partners LLC with violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks permanent injunctions, including conduct-based injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

The SEC’s ongoing investigation is being conducted by Fitzann Reid of the San Francisco Regional Office and Amanda Straub of the Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. The litigation will be led by Susan LaMarca, Ms. Straub, and Ms. Reid, and the case is being supervised by Steven Buchholz and Ms. Littman of the Cyber Unit.

SEC Charges Ripple and Two Executives with Conducting $1.3 Billion Unregistered Securities Offering

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it has filed an action against Ripple Labs Inc. and two of its executives, who are also significant security holders, alleging that they raised over $1.3 billion through an unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Ripple; Christian Larsen, the company’s co-founder, executive chairman of its board, and former CEO; and Bradley Garlinghouse, the company’s current CEO, raised capital to finance the company’s business. The complaint alleges that Ripple raised funds, beginning in 2013, through the sale of digital assets known as XRP in an unregistered securities offering to investors in the U.S. and worldwide. Ripple also allegedly distributed billions of XRP in exchange for non-cash consideration, such as labor and market-making services. According to the complaint, in addition to structuring and promoting the XRP sales used to finance the company’s business, Larsen and Garlinghouse also effected personal unregistered sales of XRP totaling approximately $600 million. The complaint alleges that the defendants failed to register their offers and sales of XRP or satisfy any exemption from registration, in violation of the registration provisions of the federal securities laws.

“Issuers seeking the benefits of a public offering, including access to retail investors, broad distribution and a secondary trading market, must comply with the federal securities laws that require registration of offerings unless an exemption from registration applies,” said Stephanie Avakian, Director of the SEC‘s Enforcement Division. “We allege that Ripple, Larsen, and Garlinghouse failed to register their ongoing offer and sale of billions of XRP to retail investors, which deprived potential purchasers of adequate disclosures about XRP and Ripple’s business and other important long-standing protections that are fundamental to our robust public market system.”

“The registration requirements are designed to ensure that potential investors – including, importantly, retail investors – receive important information about an issuer’s business operations and financial condition,” said Marc P. Berger, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “Here, we allege that Ripple and its executives failed over a period of years to satisfy these core investor protection provisions, and as a result investors lacked information to which they were entitled.”

The SEC’s complaint, filed today in federal district court in Manhattan, charges defendants with violating the registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, and seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Daphna A. Waxman, Jon A. Daniels, and John O. Enright of the SEC’s Cyber Unit. The case is being supervised by Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. The SEC’s litigation will be conducted by Jorge G. Tenreiro, Dugan Bliss, Ms. Waxman, and Mr. Daniels, and supervised by Preethi Krishnamurthy.

SEC Charges Robinhood Financial With Misleading Customers About Revenue Sources and Failing to Satisfy Duty of Best Execution

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Robinhood Financial LLC for repeated misstatements that failed to disclose the firm’s receipt of payments from trading firms for routing customer orders to them, and with failing to satisfy its duty to seek the best reasonably available terms to execute customer orders.  Robinhood agreed to pay $65 million to settle the charges.

According to the SEC’s order, between 2015 and late 2018, Robinhood made misleading statements and omissions in customer communications, including in FAQ pages on its website, about its largest revenue source when describing how it made money – namely, payments from trading firms in exchange for Robinhood sending its customer orders to those firms for execution, also known as “payment for order flow.”  As the SEC’s order finds, one of Robinhood’s selling points to customers was that trading was “commission free,” but due in large part to its unusually high payment for order flow rates, Robinhood customers’ orders were executed at prices that were inferior to other brokers’ prices.  Despite this, according to the SEC’s order, Robinhood falsely claimed in a website FAQ between October 2018 and June 2019 that its execution quality matched or beat that of its competitors.  The order finds that Robinhood provided inferior trade prices that in aggregate deprived customers of $34.1 million even after taking into account the savings from not paying a commission.  Robinhood made these false and misleading statements during the time in which it was growing rapidly.

“Robinhood provided misleading information to customers about the true costs of choosing to trade with the firm,” said Stephanie Avakian, Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.  “Brokerage firms cannot mislead customers about order execution quality.”

“Robinhood failed to seek to obtain the best reasonably available terms when executing customers’ orders, causing customers to lose tens of millions of dollars,” said Joseph Sansone, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit.  “Today’s action sends a clear message that the Commission will not allow brokers to ignore their obligations to customers.”

“There are many new companies seeking to harness the power of technology to provide alternative ways for people to invest their money,” added Erin E. Schneider, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office.  “But innovation does not negate responsibility under the federal securities laws.”

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Robinhood agreed to a cease-and-desist order prohibiting it from violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the recordkeeping provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, censuring it, and requiring it to pay a $65 million civil penalty.  Robinhood also agreed to retain an independent consultant to review its policies and procedures relating to customer communications, payment for order flow, and best execution of customer orders, and to ensure that Robinhood is effectively following those policies and procedures.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Jonathan Warner and Ainsley Kerr of the Market Abuse Unit and Matthew Meyerhofer, Victor Hong, and Andrew Hefty of the San Francisco Regional Office.  The case was supervised by Steven Buchholz and Mr. Sansone of the Market Abuse Unit and Monique C. Winkler of the San Francisco Regional Office.  Examinations of Robinhood conducted by Michael Marren, Catherine Cotey, Michael Wells, David Kinsella, and John Broderson of the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office and Jerry Schoenborn, Shanti Radkar, Marcus Chan, and Stephanie Wilson of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office contributed to the investigation.  The SEC also acknowledges the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Global Securities Pricing Service to Pay $8 Million for Compliance Failures

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged ICE Data Pricing & Reference Data LLC, a global securities pricing service and New York-based registered investment adviser, for compliance deficiencies relating to its delivery to clients of prices based on quotes it received from a single market participant, also known as single broker quotes.  ICE Data PRD has agreed to pay $8 million to settle the charges. 

According to the SEC’s order, from at least 2015 through September 2020, ICE Data PRD delivered to its clients prices based on single broker quotes while failing to adopt and implement policies and procedures reasonably designed to address the risk that these prices would not reasonably reflect the value of the securities.  The order further finds that the company’s quality controls for prices based on single broker quotes were not effectively or consistently implemented. These failures impaired ICE Data PRD’s ability to assess the reliability of quotes it received from market participants and determine whether a quote provider was an accurate source of information. This conduct affected the prices ICE Data PRD provided for more than 40,000 fixed-income securities. The SEC’s order finds that, due to these failures, ICE Data PRD at times provided clients with prices based on single broker quotes that were inconsistent with the nature of, and that did not reasonably reflect the value of, certain securities.  

“Information provided by pricing services can play an important role in the valuation of complex fixed-income securities by many types of market participants,” said Daniel Michael, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit. “ICE Data Pricing & Reference Data’s compliance failures created a risk of, and in some cases resulted in, its delivery to clients of inaccurate prices.”

The order finds that ICE Data PRD failed to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations of the Investment Advisers Act and its rules. Without admitting or denying the findings, ICE Data PRD agreed to cease and desist from future violations of the charged provision, to a censure, and to pay an $8 million penalty.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Gregory Smolar of the Complex Financial Instruments Unit and Emily Rothblatt, Michelle Muñoz Durk, and Craig McShane of the Chicago Regional Office under the supervision of Jeffrey Shank.