In those instances noted below the SEC cited the "law enforcement exemption" of the FOIA as basis to block our access to the detailed records on the public companies included in this update.
As a matter of law, they are acknowledging some sort of investigative activity. The SEC will not yet disclose the details of that investigation.
If we can find no clear disclosures of SEC investigative activity made by the public company, and we have a response from the SEC that suggests there is enforcement activity, we then add it to the Probes Reporter Watch List.
There are several reasons the SEC might cite the law enforcement exemption as basis to block our access to records. Not all would be of concern to investors today. That is why we use the term “possible” in describing SEC investigations at this point in our research process, until we have confirmed through the appeals process that there is an ongoing investigation.
At Probes Reporter, we routinely file administrative appeals with the Office of the General Counsel of the SEC for every company on our Watch List. After careful review of our appeal, the General Counsel’s office typically informs us of one of the following:
- An on-going enforcement proceeding is confirmed. Only then will we use the term “confirmed” next to the company’s name on the Watch List.
- There was an investigation that is now completed and the file has been remanded for further processing. We may learn more about what took place if the SEC provides documents to us.
- There are no records responsive to our request. This could be because there was an investigation that concluded in the past but the SEC’s records were not current at the time of our request. Alternatively, there may be an investigation involving not the company, but some other person or entity and the company was incidentally named or tangentially listed.
- Rarely, the appeal response will inform us a clerical error was made by the SEC in processing our original request.
All of these companies are either added or maintained on the Probes Reporter Watch List as companies with Possible Undisclosed SEC Investigations.
|Company Name||Ticker||Date of Response|
|Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.||AMD||5-Mar-2014|
|Almost Family, Inc.||AFAM||5-Mar-2014|
|Dolby Laboratories, Inc.||DLB||4-Mar-2014|
|Weight Watchers International Inc.||WTW||28-Feb-2014|
The SEC reminds us that its assertion of the law enforcement exemption should not be construed as an indication by the Commission or its staff that any violations of law have occurred with respect to any person, entity, or security.
The Probes Reporter™ Watch List tracks those companies involved in undisclosed SEC investigative activity. Names are added to and removed from this list frequently based on responses we received to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests we file with the SEC. This is our latest update.