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SEC secures $3.95 billion in penalties and disgorgements in fiscal year 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a total of $3.95 billion in penalties and assets returned to investors through enforcement actions in its fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, the agency said Friday.

That's up from the $3.79 billion it returned the previous fiscal year.

The agency had 821 enforcement actions in fiscal 2018, up from 747 in fiscal 2017, according to a news release. It returned $794 million to harmed investors, or disgorgements, in its most recent fiscal year, which was down from the record $1.07 billion returned to harmed investors in the previous period.

Of the SEC's 490 stand-alone cases in the latest period, about 63% concerned investment advisory issues, securities offerings, and issuer reporting/accounting and auditing, the SEC news release stated. The SEC also brought actions related to market manipulation, insider trading and broker-dealer misconduct, with each comprising approximately 10% of the overall number of stand-alone actions.

"This year's report again shows a broad range of significant enforcement actions, a thoughtful approach to remedies and relief, and the return of substantial sums to investors," said Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC's enforcement division, in the news release.