Task Force Protects Investors From 244 Fraud Schemes relating to Covid-19 Pandemic
According to a press announcement on August 19, 2020, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced that its COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, consisting of state and provincial securities regulators, has initiated actions to disrupt 220 fraudulent schemes seeking to profit from the global pandemic.
The COVID-19 Task Force, including 111 investigators representing 44 jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, represents the largest coordinated enforcement initiative undertaken by state and provincial securities regulators. The task force was formed in April and is led by NASAA’s Enforcement Section and its Enforcement Technology Project Group.
To date, state and provincial securities investigators have detected 244 schemes to defraud investors and consumers, including 154 investment-related schemes and 90 non-investment schemes, according to the announcement. To disrupt these schemes, task force members have reportedly taken 220 distinct actions, including administrative actions, cease-and-desist orders, referrals to other regulators and to social media and hosting companies.
According to Joe Rotunda, Director of Enforcement for the Texas State Securities Board and vice chair of NASAA’s Enforcement Section, many of the schemes use fear and anxiety in their pitches. “They often exploit trendy assets such as cryptocurrencies or mysterious programs involving forex trading and even investments powered by futuristic artificial intelligence – the types of products that may sound appealing, but also the types of products unfamiliar to inexperienced retail investors,” he said.
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