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In civil cases, which encompass SEC enforcement actions, a statute of limitations is a law that bars a claim after a specified period, generally based on the date when the claim accrued. This requires diligent prosecution of claims that are or should be known, in order to foster predictability, accuracy and finality in legal affairs. In SEC enforcement actions, with only rare exceptions, the applicable statute of limitations is ten years, beginning when the conduct giving rise to the claim occurred, not when it was discovered by authorities.
SEC enforcement cases don’t get better with age. SEC whistleblowers are penalized for unreasonable reporting delays and tips that are over 5 years old are less likely to be investigated. Cases over 10 years old are pretty much dead on arrival.