Fort Worth, TX asked in Consumer Law, Criminal Law and Securities Law for Texas

Q: I was served a "voluntary" list of questions (document requests) from the SEC but cannot afford an attrny. Suggestions?

I have reason to believe I am at the center of their investigation - it involves a significantly large public company. I have been told by friends that the "voluntary" nature of their inquiry is a "test" to see if I will cooperate and I have reason to believe this will not just "go away," even while I maintain innocence.

1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Hinds
Richard Hinds
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Cuero, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: This is like making voluntary statements during a traffic stop. Just don't do it. Name, address, and DL, and then STFU.

Remember, "Nobody ever got into trouble for what they do not say" and in this case do not voluntarily provide. I you do not supply how can you get into trouble for it?

Many times these are fishing expeditions. If you do not respond, they may just let it go. They are playing "good cop" making it voluntary. Make them work for it.

Giving it to them may cause far more problems than it solves. Unless you are served with some type of court order compelling production, I would not respond and see what happens. Do not tell them you do not have an attorney.

Do not answer their calls, emails, etc. unless there is some law I do not know about that would require you to.

You will probably get answers from other attorneys all over on this one. It is a judgment call.

I am a firm believer in not making it easy on them. They are lazy by nature and if it becomes difficult and they have to do a little extra work, it has been my experience that many government employees will just let it go.

Without more info, I say wait and see what they do. Do not respond. Not responding to a voluntary request is not against the law (to my knowledge). Make them work for it and see what their next move is.

Good luck. Hope this helps.

1 user found this answer helpful

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