Information is essential in the stock market, and every investor in Florida and around the country covets it. Good information can bring in a profit or avoid a loss. But to prevent unfairness in the markets, our nation's laws impose limits on what sorts of information a person can use as a basis for trading. And those laws also impose stiff penalties on those found guilty of insider trading. For example, two men recently convicted of insider trading received sentences of 10 and 11 years.
But a certain type of white collar defendant found guilty of insider trading could be spending even longer in prison under new recommendations by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. That agency voted to approve a measure that would allow judges to impose harsher punishment on financial professionals who engage in insider trading. The higher penalty is needed as a deterrent, the commission said, because professionals are routinely presented with the opportunity to trade on inside information.
Congress has the authority to alter or strike down the measure before November, when it will take effect. But some are asking whether it goes too far. One law professor stated that federal judges tend to depart from the sentencing guidelines because they view the punishment as too severe. And according to the Wall Street Journal, the sentences received for insider trading are already higher than they once were.
As the commission's actions indicate, white collar crimes like insider trading can be punished with significant prison terms. Attorneys experienced in white collar crimes can help those accused of insider trading know exactly what rights they have and what potential penalties they face.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Longer Sentences Sought for Insider Trading," Brent Kendall, April 15, 2012.