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An Example of How Securities Laws Can Be Broader than Most People Think: SEC Warns Investors of Fantasy Stock Trading Websites (Part 2)

November 21, 2015

In re Sand Hill Exchange.

In re Sand Hill Exchange involved two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Gerrit Hall and Elaine Ou, who operated a website called Sand Hill Exchange (“Sand Hill”).[1] The SEC said that the two wanted to create a business that would involve valuing private startup companies, especially companies operating in Silicon Valley, and initially experimented with several business models, including a variation of a “fantasy sports” league, a valuation contest, a valuation game, and so forth.[2] The SEC alleged that, starting around February 2015, Sand Hill started offering its new products that allowed users to fund their Sand Hill accounts with either dollars or bitcoins and then buy and sell contracts that referenced a private company, such as Uber, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Coinbase.… Read the rest

More Clarification on How To Raise Money Without Registration: SEC Issues Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations on Exempt Offerings (Part 4)

November 12, 2015

Intrastate Exemption.

We briefly touched on the concept of intrastate exemption in our previous blog series on crowdfunding (available here). As the name suggests, intrastate offerings are transactions that do not involve interstate commerce (hence the exemption, as being outside of the scope of the Securities Act of 1933). This is important because, to qualify for the intrastate offering exemption under Rule 147, the transaction must be “genuinely local in character,” i.e., local financing by local industries carried out through local investment.… Read the rest

An Example of How Securities Laws Can Be Broader than Most People Think: SEC Warns Investors of Fantasy Stock Trading Websites (Part 1)

November 10, 2015

On June 17, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued an investor alert to warn investors about fantasy stock trading and other similar websites. For a full text of the alert, click here.

Although most people think that terms like “swap,” “security-based swap,” and “derivative” include only complicated financial instruments used by sophisticated financial institutions, the SEC explains that these terms are defined broadly and include any agreement, contract, or transaction whose value is based upon – or “derivative” of – the value or performance of some other financial product, event, or characteristic.… Read the rest

More Clarification on How To Raise Money Without Registration: SEC Issues Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations on Exempt Offerings (Part 3)

November 5, 2015

General Solicitation.

As we discussed in our previous blog series on exempt offerings (available here), absence of general solicitation is a condition to be met in most exempt offerings, with limited exceptions, such as offering under Rule 506(c).  This is important because, to qualify for an exemption from registration, an issuer must meet all the requirements of the exemption.  General solicitation includes, without limitation, any advertisement, article, notice or other communication published in any newspaper, magazine, or similar media or broadcast over television or radio,[1] as well as other uses of publicly available media, such as unrestricted Web sites.… Read the rest

More Clarification on How To Raise Money Without Registration: SEC Issues Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations on Exempt Offerings (Part 2)

October 31, 2015

Verification of Accredited Investor Status.

The next set of questions are related to the requirement under Rule 506(c) that an issuer take reasonable steps to verify, and form a reasonable belief regarding, the accredited investor status of a purchaser at the time of the sale of securities.[1]  This is important because, to qualify for an exemption from registration, an issuer must meet all the terms and conditions of the exemption, and verification of accredited investor status is a requirement under Rule 506(c).… Read the rest

More Clarification on How To Raise Money Without Registration: SEC Issues Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations on Exempt Offerings (Part 1)

October 27, 2015

On August 6, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (“C&DIs”). For the full text of the C&DIs, click here. C&DIs are not rules, regulations, or statements of the SEC, but reflect the current views of the staff of the agency, which should be of interest to many businesses that want to raise capital through exempt offerings. The recent C&DIs deal with a multitude of issues, through questions and answers, but in this blog series, we will focus on three topics that are particularly relevant: accredited investor status, general solicitation, and intrastate exemption.… Read the rest

Real Estate Securities Fraud Targeting Immigrant Investors (Part 2)

October 3, 2015

SEC v. Path America, LLC.

In SEC v. Path America, LLC, the SEC alleged that Dargey, the individual defendant, set up a series of entities in Everett, Washington, purportedly to offer limited partnership interests priced at $500,000 each, plus an administrative fee of $45,000 per investor.[1] The SEC says that the private placement memoranda (“PPMs”) for the offerings contained statements that an investment in the project was intended to qualify under the EB-5 program and that the proceeds of the offerings were to be used for the construction of a 40-story tower in Seattle and for a real estate development project in Everett.… Read the rest

Real Estate Securities Fraud Targeting Immigrant Investors (Part 1)

September 29, 2015

If you read our previous blog series on exempt offerings (available here) or attended one of our presentations on raising capital through exempt offerings, you know that the definition of “security” under federal law is extremely broad and includes, among other things, “any note, stock, . . . , certificate of interest or participation in any profit-sharing agreement . . . , or in general, any instrument commonly known as a “security”. . . .”[1]  Interests in certain business entities, such as limited liability companies and limited partnerships, are likely to be securities, so if you have a fractional interest in a piece of real property owned by such entities, for example, chances are that it is a security subject to regulation as security (among other laws).… Read the rest

All postings are intended to be planning tools to familiarize readers with some of the high-level issues discussed therein. No posting is intended to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your transaction planners including attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.