Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White says her team will not shy away from high-stakes trials, and not just strike settlements with wrongdoers, but a string of recent court setbacks shows she has her work cut out for her.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in California rejected a securities fraud case brought by the SEC and said the agency had "not carried its burden of proof" against two former senior executives at Basin Water Inc who were accused of fraudulently boosting their company's revenue.
That defeat came one week after a Kansas jury cleared Stephen Kovzan, an executive at technology company NIC Inc. The SEC had accused him of concealing a payment of more than $1.18 million used to fund perks for the then-CEO, including vacations, clothing, houses, spa treatments and a luxury car. But a jury disagreed and rejected all of the SEC's claims.
The most high-profile defeat this year came in October, when a Texas jury cleared billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, of insider-trading charges brought by the SEC. After the verdict, Cuban slammed the SEC attorneys who tried the case.