A new bill that will soon be introduced to the Senate would increase the fines and penalties that can be levied against criminals who try to take advantage of investors through securities fraud crimes.
Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are both sponsoring the bill, which would increase the penalties that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can impose on those who try to take advantage of consumers through investment fraud.
According to Reuters, while the SEC can currently penalize individuals up to $150,000 and entities up to $725,000 per securities fraud violation, the proposed bill would increase those maximum penalties to $1 million and $10 million, respectively.
Furthermore, the proposed bill would also increase the penalty cap for repeat securities fraud crime offenders by three-fold. Penalties would also be able to be enforced by the SEC in-house and not require a federal court.
"If a fine is just decimal dust for a Wall Street firm, that's not a deterrent," Grassley said in a statement, according to Reuters. "A penalty should mean something."
This is the latest attempt to give the SEC more ammunition to combat thieves who commit stockbroker fraud. SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro recently requested to Congress that the agency have more power as well.