It seems that the only things that come out of Washington these days are stupid headlines about stupid stuff. I guess that’s how they keep the masses attention focused where they want it. Sadly amidst all the spin and PR jockeying the less sexy important things get buried and overlooked. One such thing is H.R. 4344.
H.R. 4344 is a bipartisan (Yes, that really happens!) bill that will overturn a 2017 US Supreme Court decision that gave the SEC only 5 years to seek disgorgement of ill-gotten money. What this meant was that those committing frauds got to keep the stolen money if the government wasn’t on them like a duck on a June bug. Given how long it takes to discover frauds, and then prosecute and convict, and then locate assets, five years left many people who were defrauded out in the cold. Many frauds went unprosecuted because of the short period of time available to recover anything.
Under this bill the new length of time will be 14 years. This will allow the authorities to have time to convict perpetrators and then also chase down the missing assets, and hopefully restore something to those who were defrauded. It will also result in more such cases being investigated and prosecuted since the prospect of recovery will now be greater for those pressing civil claims.
This bill is currently in the House, and there is a companion bill making its way through the Senate. The Senate’s version has a limitation of 10 years. Hopefully we will see something emerge by year end.