ASSEMBLY, No. 1130

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ELEASE EVANS

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  CLEOPATRA G. TUCKER

District 28 (Essex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Caputo, Prieto, Assemblywoman Quijano, Assemblyman DeAngelo, Assemblywoman Rodriguez, Assemblymen Green and Giblin

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Adds fraud via telecommunication or electronic means to list of prohibited activities for certain security transactions; increases penalties.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning security fraud and amending P.L.1967, c.93 and P.L.1997, c.276.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 5 of P.L.1967, c.93 (C.49:3-52) is amended to read as follows:

     5.  It shall be unlawful for any person, in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of any security, directly or indirectly

     (a)  To employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud;

     (b)  To make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading;

     (c)  To engage in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person, including, but not limited to, fraud or deception committed via telecommunication, electronic or any other means;

     (d)  To fail to deliver the prospectus filed under the "Securities Act of 1933," 15 U.S.C. s.77a et seq. to each purchaser of a security registered under that act, in accordance with the prospectus delivery requirements of that act.

(cf. P.L.1985, c.405, s.4)

 

     2.  Section 29 of P.L.1997, c.276 (C.49:3-70.1) is amended to read as follows:

     29.  a.  Any person who violates any of the provisions of this act or who violates any rule or order under this act, shall be liable for the first violation to a penalty of not more than [$10,000] $20,000; for a second violation to a penalty of not more than [$20,000] $40,000; and for each subsequent violation to a penalty of not more than [$20,000] $60,000 per violation.  One or more violations may occur at the same time or be part of the same conduct or pattern of conduct.  The penalty shall be entered, with the requisite notice, sued for and recovered by and in the name of the bureau chief and shall be collected and enforced by summary proceeding pursuant to ["the penalty enforcement law," N.J.S.2A:58-1 et seq.,] the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274, (C.2A:58-10 et seq.) or administratively.

     b.    In addition to the penalties provided for under subsection a. of this section, the bureau chief shall sue and collect from any person who engages in any act, practice or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person
including, but not limited to, fraud or deception committed via telecommunication, electronic or any other means, an amount not to exceed ten times any amount that person received or gained, directly or indirectly, from an offer, sale or purchase of a security effected as a result of that act, practice or course of business.  This penalty shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly and willfully commits the fraud, including, but not limited to, fund managers, brokers, accountants and corporate executives.

(cf: P.L.1997, c.276, s.29)

 

     3.  Section 24 of P.L.1967, c.93 (C.49:3-71) is amended to read as follows:

     24  (a)  Any person who

     (1) Offers, sells or purchases a security in violation of  subsection (b) of section 8, subsection (a) of section 9 or section 13 of P.L.1967, c.93 (C.49:3-55, 49:3-56, or 49:3-60), or

     (2) Offers, sells or purchases a security by means of any untrue statement of material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading (the buyer not knowing of the untruth or omission), or

     (3) offers, sells or purchases a security by employing any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, or

     (4) offers, sells or purchases a security by engaging in any act, practice or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person, or

     (5) engages in the business of advising others, for compensation, either directly or through publications or writings or through telecommunication, electronic or any other means, as to the value of securities, or as to the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities, or who, for compensation and as a part of a regular business, issues or promulgates analyses or reports concerning securities (i) in willful violation of this act or of any rule or order promulgated pursuant to this act, or (ii) employs any device, scheme or artifice to defraud the other person or engages in any act, practice or course of business or conduct which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit on the other person, is liable as set forth in subsection (c) of this section;

     (b)  (1) If any claim is brought for violation of paragraph (2), (3), (4) or (5) of subsection (a) of this section, the person who bought the security or received the investment advice shall sustain the burden of proof that the seller or giver of investment advice knew of the untruth or omission and intended to deceive the buyer or recipient of investment advice and that the buyer or recipient of investment advice has suffered a financial detriment;

     (2) If any claim is brought for violation of paragraph (2), (3), (4) or (5) of subsection (a) of this section involving a purchase of securities by others or investment advice as to the selling of securities, the person who sold the security or who received the investment advice to sell the security shall sustain the burden of proof that that person suffered a net loss with respect to that sale or investment advice taking into account all transactions by that person in the same security or any security convertible into that security within one year before or after the sale or advice which is the basis of the claim;

     (c)  Any person who offered, sold or purchased a security or engaged in the business of giving investment advice to a person in violation of paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) of subsection (a) of this section is liable to that person, who may bring an action either at law or in equity to recover the consideration paid for the security or the investment advice and any loss due to the advice, together with interest set at the rate established for interest on judgments for the same period by the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey from the date of payment of the consideration for the investment advice or security, and costs, less the amount of any income received on the security, upon the tender of the security and any income received from the investment advice or on the security, or for damages if he no longer owns the security.  Damages are the amount that would be recoverable upon a tender less the value of the security when the buyer disposed of it and interest at the rate established for interest on judgments for the same period by the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of  New Jersey from the date of disposition.  In either case, the court, in its discretion may award an amount not to exceed ten times the damages sustained by any person bringing the action;

     (d)  Every person who directly or indirectly controls a seller liable under subsection (a) of this section, every partner, officer, or director of such a seller, or investment adviser, every person occupying a similar status or performing similar functions, every employee of such a seller or investment adviser who materially aids in the sale or in the conduct giving rise to the liability, and every broker-dealer, investment adviser, investment adviser  representative or agent who materially aids in the sale or conduct are also liable jointly and severally with and to the same extent as the seller or investment adviser, unless the nonseller who is so liable sustains the burden of proof that he did not know, and in the exercise of reasonable care could not have known, of the existence of the facts under paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (a) of this section which give rise to liability.  There is contribution as in cases of contract among the several persons so liable;

     (e)  Any tender specified in this section may be made at any time before entry of judgment;

     (f)  Every cause of action under this act survives the death of any person who might have been a plaintiff or defendant;

     (g)  No person may bring an action under this section more than two years after the contract of sale or the rendering of the investment advice, or more than two years after the time when the person aggrieved knew or should have known of the existence of his cause of action, whichever is later.  No person may bring an action under this section (1) if the buyer received a written offer, before suit and at a time when he owned the security, to refund the consideration paid, together with interest at the rate established for interest on judgments for the same period by the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey at the time the offer was made, from the date of payment, less the amount of any income received on the security, and he failed to accept the offer within 30 days of its receipt, or (2) if the buyer received such an offer before suit and at a time when he did not own the security, unless he rejected the offer in writing within 30 days of its receipt;

     (h)  No person who has made or engaged in the performance of any contract in violation of any provision of this act or any rule or order hereunder, or who has acquired any purported right under any such contract with knowledge of the facts by reason of which its making or performance was in violation, may base any suit on the contract;

     (i)  Any condition, stipulation or provision binding any person acquiring any security or receiving investment advice to waive compliance with any provision of this act or any rule or order hereunder is void;

     (j)  The rights and remedies provided by this act are in addition to any other rights or remedies that may exist at law or in equity, but this act does not create any cause of action not specified in this section or  subsection (e) of section 10 of P.L.1967, c.93 (C.49:3-57).

(cf. P.L.1997, c.276, s.30)

 

     4.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill makes it unlawful for a person to engage, directly or indirectly, in any act which operates as a fraud or deceit in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of any securities, including, but not limited to, fraud or deception committed via telecommunication, electronic or any other means.

     Under the current law, any person who knowingly engages in an act which attempts to deceive a person with respect to securities is guilty of a crime of the second or third degree, depending upon the amount of the loss.  This bill strengthens the existing penalties by increasing the fines against any person who violates the provisions of the act to $20,000 for the first violation, $40,000 for a second violation and $60,000 for each subsequent violation.  The current law provides penalties of $10,000 for the first offense and $20,000 for the second and subsequent offenses.

     In addition to strengthening the existing penalties, the bill authorizes the bureau chief of the Bureau of Securities in the Division of Consumer Affairs to sue and collect from any person who engages in any act, practice, or course of business which operates to defraud any person, including, but not limited to, fraud or deception committed via telecommunication, electronic or any other means, an amount not to exceed ten times any amount that person received or gained, directly or indirectly, from an offer, sale or purchase of a security effected as a result of that act, practice or course of business.  This penalty shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly and willfully commits the fraud, including, but not limited to, fund managers, brokers, accountants and corporate executives.

     Moreover, while the law currently allows any person bringing an action either in law or in equity to recover certain damages, the bill provides an additional remedy by allowing a court to award an amount not to exceed ten times the damages sustained by that person.