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SEC Seeks Wrongdoing Admissions

SEC Commission chair Mary Jo White has said publicly that in some cases the SEC plans to push for admissions of wrongdoing from defendants as a condition of settling certain civil cases. The SEC has recently been under pressure from members of Congress as well as judges for accepting settlements where the defendants “neither admit nor deny” the allegations. Such a provision makes cases much easier to settle, as admitting to a violation of the law will generally make a defendant more susceptible to incurring additional penalties in civil actions brought by private litigants. During an interview with Wall Street Journal, Chairman White emphasized that insisting upon an admission of fault will only be applied to a small amount of cases where widespread harm to investors or egregious intentional conduct are evident. In most cases it appears likely that the SEC will continue to allow defendants to settle without admitting or denying wrongdoing.