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Mo. Close to Toughening Securities Laws

(Reuters file photo)
Last year's Enron scandal created a push for tougher penalties against those who abuse the system.


Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri could soon become one of the first states to make a law to protect investors from securities fraud.

Both the House and Senate have passed legislation containing provisions to raise fines and penalties for securities violations. State officials say Missouri is well ahead of other states.

The bills mirror the suggested uniform state securities laws. They include a a doubling of the maximum criminal fine for
securities violations to $1 million per incident, and new civil penalties ranging from $10,000 to $1 million per violation.

The Secretary of State's office has a Securities Division. Since 2001 the office has issued 83 cease and desist orders for alleged violations of the state's investment solicitation laws.

To date, 13 people have been sent to prison for offenses related to investor fraud or misconduct based on work done by the state's Securities Division.


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