Prominent businessman accused of SEC violations

On behalf of Brewer, Pritchard & Buckley, P.C. posted in sec compliance and enforcement on Friday, October 5, 2018.

For people who are prominent in business dealings in the U.S., it is important to adhere to the law and avoid allegations of wrongdoing by the Securities and Exchange Commission. When it is a publicly-held company and the owner is well-known and prone to making somewhat outrageous promotional statements, the federal government will not hesitate to act if it impacts share prices and is considered against the law. For those in Texas, it is wise to be aware of these stories to avoid making the same mistakes and face SEC violations. Of course, when there are these allegations, legal help is crucial.

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission because of assertions that he committed SEC violations when he made a public announcement that he intended to take the car company private. The lawsuit states that his comments and failure to disclose certain information confused and disrupted the stock market and damaged investors. The goal is the remove Mr. Musk from directing or being an officer not just for Tesla, but for any publicly traded entity. This can be damaging to him as he also runs SpaceX.

For his part, Mr. Musk denies he did anything illegal and investors were not misled. Mr. Musk sent a tweet via Twitter in August in which he said he could get $420 per share were he to take Tesla private. That was much higher than its price when he made the statement. He also said he had funding to do so. The stock rose by 11 percent in the aftermath of the tweet. He then said a shareholder vote would be the only thing he required to move forward with the plan. The SEC says that Mr. Musk did not have the necessary confirmations for such a deal.

It is not uncommon for those who are seeking to promote their business to engage in overt statements to boost its profile and possibly its value. However, some of these statements could be deemed legal violations and lead to charges by the SEC. Regardless if it is someone well-known or more understated, facing these charges can be problematic for the business and the individual. Having a legal defense to ensure they are protected from issues related SEC compliance and enforcement requires experienced legal help.