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SEC brings record fines for financial wrongdoing

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The Securities and Exchange Commission says 2014 has brought a record number of fines against traders and others who sought to mislead investors.

This year the commission brought an additional $760 million dollars in fines against wrongdoers, a 22 percent increase compared to year prior. Regulators attribute the increase to smarter use of data and analytical tools to analyze bad behavior.

Also this year, the SEC tried a new approach where more resources are devoted to small infractions in hopes of deterring larger crimes.

“But the important thing to remember is that we’re using minimal resources to identify those and target those and we’re not distracting from the larger mission,” says Andrew Ceresney, director of SEC enforcement.

Ceresney was quick to add that the commission was not targeting low hanging fruit.

As an example, Wednesday, the SEC completed a five-year investigation against a New York City flash trader accused of manipulating prices in the last milliseconds before the closing bell.

Also, last month the SEC won a jury verdict against a Connecticut hedge fund for running an $80 million Ponzi scheme.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.
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