WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 17, 2020) – The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) reported today that its COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, consisting of state and provincial securities regulators, has taken action to disrupt 250 schemes fraudulently seeking to profit from the pandemic and will continue its work to protect investors in the coming year as the pandemic response shifts into the vaccination phase.
“Through the task force, state and provincial securities regulators successfully raised awareness of how fraudsters can use the pandemic to cloak schemes to steal money from unsuspecting investors,” said Lisa A. Hopkins, NASAA President and West Virginia’s Senior Deputy Securities Commissioner. “Fraudsters should know that the work of the task force is not over and that state and provincial securities regulators will continue to take decisive action to shut down their schemes.”
With 111 investigators representing 44 jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the COVID-19 Task Force 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 262 schemes to defraud investors and consumers, including 168 investment-related schemes and 94 non-investment schemes, Hopkins said. To disrupt these schemes, task force members have taken 250 distinct actions, including administrative actions, cease-and-desist orders, referrals to other regulators and to social media and hosting companies.
Fraudulent offers disrupted by the task force include those pitching investments in medical technology or healthcare companies by purchasing membership units in general or limited partnerships, penny stocks, or through other investment vehicles, including private placement offerings, initial coin offerings or other cryptocurrency-related investments, and crowdfunding.
“As with any investment opportunity, investigate independently before you invest and contact your state or provincial securities regulator with any concerns before parting with your hard-earned money,” Hopkins said.
Additional information about the COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force and COVID-related investment schemes can be found on NASAA’s website here.
For More Information:
Bob Webster | Director of Communications
Noelle Lane | Communications & Outreach Specialist