If you have worked in finance for any time, the chances are that someone you know will have been investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
However, figures show that the number of prosecutions for insider trading fell in 2019, with the SEC making fewer prosecutions last year than at any time since 1996. It does not necessarily mean fewer people are committing these white collar crimes. Indeed, the SEC says that the current uncertain economic climate may lead to an increase in insider trading.
The unpredictability of the current situation creates opportunities for people to take advantage and makes it harder to catch them. When the markets are stable, it is easier to spot oddities. The current wild swings in the fortune of many companies can make abnormalities harder to spot.
It is important to remember that the SEC does not need to catch something happening straight away. They often spot crimes long after the event. Getting away with something now does not mean you are off the hook.
Unlike most crimes that require your knowledge for them to happen, it is easy to be guilty of insider trading inadvertently. All you have to do is act upon something you heard. If that snippet of information was not yet public knowledge and you do some business based upon it, the SEC could charge you with a crime. It is easy to overhear things and forget where you heard them or assume something was public knowledge.
Just because the SEC has not been prosecuting many people for insider trading recently, does not mean they have given up on tackling it. Seek legal help if you are facing accusations of white collar crime.