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FINRA has announced it will increase its scrutiny of the cryptocurrency market. As several regulatory bodies endeavor to establish their jurisdiction over the crypto space, FINRA will now boost its oversight of registered firms’ participation in its burgeoning market.

In a new regulatory notice, the self-regulatory organization asked its 3,700 member firms to notify it if they trade in cryptocurrency, accept cryptocurrency from clients, manage crypto funds, participate in the sale of digital tokens, or even offer advice relating to cryptocurrency.

FINRA will also monitor virtual currency mining and any other related use of blockchain technology.

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Wells Fargo will pay $480 million to resolve fraud and insider trading allegations brought in a class action in California.

According to the plaintiffs, top executives at the bank engaged in insider trading after employees were directed to create millions of accounts under customer names, without the customers’ consent.

While litigation in California state court continues, the settlement will end the federal lawsuit.

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Jehu Hand, a California-based attorney has been found guilty of securities fraud and is now awaiting sentencing. Following his trial, which took place in Boston, the defendant could be facing  up to eight years in prison.

The federal jury found that Hand conspired with his two brothers to run a pump-and-dump scheme by falsifying documents. According to the evidence presented during trial, the defendant and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained $1.5 million through the scheme.

Hand and his brothers allegedly misrepresented Greenway Technology Inc. as a company with tremendous potential, which was about to acquire lucrative gay-friendly hotels in California and Nevada.

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As Merrill Lynch brokers appear to lag behind their competitors at Morgan Stanley, some FAs at the firm are probably not looking forward to seeing their paychecks this summer season.

Based on Merrill’s new compensation program, FAs who do not hit specific targets are going to endure punishment in the shape of a pay cut, compliments of the firm’s parent company, Bank of America.

There is much controversy about the management’s plans, mainly because it rewards practices like cross-selling. The fact that they are going to apply the new compensation program retroactively is not sitting well with brokers either. Actually, the FAs have referred to this particular element as a “clawback” tactic.

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A few days before issuing the recent advisory for the cryptocurrency market, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission told the judge in the case against My Big Coin Pay Inc. that cryptocurrencies are commodities, and are therefore within CFTC jurisdiction.

The federal judge in Massachusetts is hearing the case against My Big Coin Pay Inc., a cryptocurrency company that allegedly defrauded dozens of investors out of at least $6 million.

Unsealed earlier this year, a CFTC lawsuit against the issuer of the virtual currency known as My Big Coin Pay first shed light on the company´s questionable practices.

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On May 21st, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued a new document offering valuable guidance for registered market participants.

The head of the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight, Amir Zaidi said in an accompanying press release,

“The CFTC staff is committed to providing regulatory clarity as much as possible. As the virtual currency market continues to evolve, CFTC staff will seek to provide additional guidance to help market participants keep pace with innovation while complying with CFTC regulations.”

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In a complex and shifting global scenario, the financial industry faces numerous challenges relating to anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. In a rapidly changing regulatory environment, within an unstable geopolitical context, financial institutions have to adapt to new technologies and innovative operating models.

As regulators worldwide coordinate to increase transparency and target wrongdoers, AML has taken center stage when it comes to compliance programs.

The 2017 Global Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Compliance Survey by AlixPartners shed light on many observable industry trends. A survey of 361 financial institutions, the report is a valuable tool for anyone trying to understand the industry’s current perceptions and expectations.

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Last week, federal prosecutors charged Delaney Equity Group with participating in a fraudulent scheme involving the sale of bogus shell company shares. The Florida-based broker-dealer allegedly conspired to sell shares of fraudulent microcap companies to investors at a profit. The Department of Justice has accused the defendant of “unlawfully” selling “unregistered securities” between late 2009 and mid 2013.

According to prosecutors, Delaney Equity Group recruited individuals to pose as CEOs for shell companies which were used to fraudulently register securities with the SEC. In order to be able to market shares of the shell companies, Delaney and the straw CEOs allegedly submitted numerous fraudulent documents to government agencies. Among other falsehoods, the documents stated that the ‘CEOs’ owned a control block of restricted shares in their respective companies.

Delaney Equity Group could be fined up to $500,000 or double the proceeds from the misconduct. The case has been assigned to Miami District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga.

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The over 80 subpoenas recently issued to companies in the cryptocurrency sector have provided a logical corollary to the agency’s many warnings about ICOs potential violations of security laws.

The time for warnings is over. Now, the SEC’s intentions have evolved into enforcement actions, forever changing the scenario for new cryptocurrency initiatives.

In late 2017, Bitcoin’s spectacular rise in value lured both would-be cryptocurrency developers and new investors with the promise of returns higher than 2,000 percent. Although the digital currency’s value eventually stabilized, these price fluctuations and the surge in ICO initiatives raised alarm among regulators, who pointed to issues of valuation, liquidity, and arbitrage.

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Hip-hop star Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z, has just received a subpoena to appear in court after he failed to testify in connection with the SEC’s probe into Iconix Brand Group’s accounting practices.

Iconix acquired intangible assets from Jay-Z’s clothing brand Rocawear in 2007, which boasted $700 million in annual sales at the time. The agreement was that Carter and Iconix would work on the joint development of new brand opportunities following the sale. But Iconix went on to announce two write-downs of Rocawear, one in 2016, of $169 million, and another one of $34 million earlier this year.

Iconix, which describes itself as, “the world’s premier brand management company and owner of a diversified portfolio of strong global consumer brands across fashion, sports, entertainment, and home,” markets retail brands such as Joe Boxer, Candie’s, Bongo, Pony, Umbro, and Material Girl.

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