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SEC charges company and CEO for misleading statements concerning N95 masks

Federal Issues SEC Enforcement Courts Securities Exchange Act Covid-19

Federal Issues

On April 28, the SEC announced that it filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against a company and its CEO (defendants) for violating the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by making false and misleading statements concerning their ability to source and supply N95 masks for the Covid-19 virus. The SEC alleges that the defendants’ actions sought to mislead investors because they “never had either a single order from any buyer to purchase masks, or a single contract with any manufacturer or supplier to obtain masks, let alone any masks actually in its possession.” Following regulatory inquiries (and an SEC March 26 order that temporarily suspended trading in the securities of the company), the SEC alleges in the complaint that the CEO issued a press release stating that the company never had masks available to sell. The SEC seeks injunctive relief and civil penalties against the defendant, as well as an officer-and-director bar against the CEO.

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