New Book Helps South Carolina Lawyers Detect Securities Fraud

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A new book published by the S.C. Bar is especially timely in the wake of the Bernard Madoff financial scandal, says co-author and Charleston attorney Joe Griffith.

While this is a specialized area of law, the book serves as a primer to alert general practitioners to the possibility of a securities fraud violation

Securities fraud prosecutions have historically been centered in the New York area. But with law enforcement authorities ramping up probes of alleged white collar crime in other states, legal professionals in South Carolina now find themselves in need of basic reference materials on securities law violations.

Charleston attorney Joe Griffith, a former federal prosecutor, has helped meet this need by co-authoring a new book, Federal and State Securities Enforcement. Published in December by the South Carolina Bar, the book is designed to serve as "a ready reference for private practitioners and prosecutors alike who deal with securities enforcement."

The book retails for $65 and is available through the South Carolina Bar Web site. Griffith said the book will help general practitioners understand what is involved in a securities fraud claim, allowing them to make a preliminary judgment as to whether a client may have committed a state or federal violation.

"While this is a specialized area of law, the book serves as a primer to alert general practitioners to the possibility of a securities fraud violation," Griffith said. "If they suspect that is the case, the No. 1 thing to do is to contact a white collar lawyer and immediately instruct the client not to communicate with law enforcement officials except through an attorney."

The topic of securities fraud is especially timely in light of the recent $50 billion ponzi scheme involving Wall Street businessman Bernard Madoff, said Griffith. Closer to home, the failures of HomeGold Financial Inc. and the Thaxton Group within South Carolina have transformed state securities enforcement.

Griffith, of the Joe Griffith Law Firm, L.L.C., noted that the book is the first to cover revisions to South Carolina securities laws that took effect in 2005. Other authors include E. Bart Daniel, Matthew R. Hubbell, Tracey A. Meyers and M. Rhett DeHart. In conjunction with the book's publication in December, 2008, Griffith and his co-authors were recently speakers in a continuing legal education seminar on Federal and State Securities Enforcement which was sponsored by the South Carolina Bar.

Griffith said the dire economic climate may put more companies in financial hot water and lead executives into unlawful conduct. "We think this is an area that could blossom, unfortunately," Griffith said. "There is a lot of pressure on people to fudge numbers, make misrepresentations or commit fraud with respect to securities, particularly in these hard financial times."

About the Joe Griffith Law Firm

The Charleston, S.C.-based Joe Griffith Law Firm is focused exclusively on litigation and concentrates in personal injury, wrongful death, white collar criminal defense and business litigation matters. The firm's white collar criminal defense practice areas include antitrust crimes, bank and mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud, criminal conspiracy, stock and securities fraud, tax fraud and evasion crimes, among other business law areas.

Joe Griffith, Jr. has more than 25 years experience in federal and state court litigation, and is a former federal prosecutor. His firm maintains offices in Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. A free consultation is available by calling (866) 386-6460 toll free or via the firm's Web site at http://www.joegriffith.com/index.html.

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