Glossary of Terms


Arbitration is dispute resolution by an impartial person or panel. Typically, arbitration is final and binding. Our firm has submitted numerous claims to arbitration before FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.


The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission was created by Congress in 1974 to regulate the commodity futures and option markets in the United States. According to the CFTC, its “mission is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to the sale of commodity and financial futures and options, and to foster open, competitive, and financially sounds futures and options markets.” The CFTC’s Division of Enforcement investigates and prosecutes registrants with the Commission, individuals and firms engaged in the commodity futures and option trading on domestic exchanges, and those who are alleged to have improperly market futures and options contracts. For more information, go to


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority defines itself as “the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States.” It also “operates the largest dispute resolution forum in the securities industry to assist in the resolution of monetary and business disputes between and among investors, securities firms and individual registered representatives.” For more information, go to Our firm has submitted numerous claims to arbitration before FINRA, including claims for losses that resulted from unauthorized transactions, churning, fraudulent sales practices, or unsuitable investments. the Firm has also represented broker/dealers, financial advisors and registered representatives in FINRA investigations.


The U.S. Federal Trade Commission was established to prevent unfair or deceptive methods of competition in commerce. The FTC monitors mergers, agreements among competitors, agreements between manufacturers and product dealers, and monopolies. It also administers a number of consumer protection laws, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Pay-Per-Call Rule, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. the Firm has experience representing targets of FTC investigations, witnesses in connection with investigations, and defendants whom the FTC has sued.

Grand Jury

A grand jury is a panel of citizens charged with investigating possible criminal violations and returning indictments against individuals or entities where there is probable cause to believe that a violation of the law has occurred. Both federal and state courts are authorized to empanel grand juries.

Insider Trading

Insider trading is the buying or selling of a security in breach of a fiduciary duty or some other relationship of trust and confidence while in possession of material, nonpublic information about the security. The SEC, aided by resources from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, has recently taken a particularly aggressive stance on insider trading cases. Cases to watch include those brought against Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the hedge fund Galleon Management, and “One or More Unknown Purchasers of Securities of Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods,” a Russian company recently purchased by PepsiCo.

Invasion of Privacy

Florida recognizes three forms of invasion of privacy: (1) intrusion upon seclusion, (2) misappropriation of a person’s name or likeness, and (3) publication of private facts. Intrusion upon seclusion occurs when someone intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns and when the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. Misappropriation of likeness occurs when someone appropriates for his or her own use or benefit the name or likeness of another. Section 540.08, Florida Statutes, also proscribes appropriation of likeness for commercial gain. Publication of private facts occurs when someone gives publicity to a matter concerning the private life of another and where the matter publicized is of a kind that (a) would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and (b) is not of legitimate concern to the public. For more information, go to and access the Reporter’s Handbook, which is found under “Media Resources.” Attorneys with our firm have prosecuted and defended against invasion of privacy claims. See, for example, the Firm’s pleadings in Goldston v. Ryals, where our client sued her landlord for video voyeurism, or Lane v. MRA Holdings, LLC, where summary judgment was entered in favor of the client, the producers of Girls Gone Wild.


Litigation refers to the process of carrying on a legal contest by judicial process. The process begins with the filing of a lawsuit in state or federal court.


Mediation is a process by which the disputing parties negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement with the help of a neutral person who facilitates communication between the disputants. For more information, go to

Ponzi Scheme

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk. In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors and to use for personal expenses, instead of engaging in any legitimate investment activity. Our firm has represented people who lost money as a result of Ponzi schemes, and we have represented earlier-stage investors who were sued in federal court for recoupment of the profits received. For more information on Receiver-initiated litigation, go to Receivership.


Where violation of federal laws resulted in a substantial amount of money owed creditors and upon the request of the government, federal district judges often appoint a receiver to try to recoup and manage assets for creditors and those damaged by the fraudulent scheme. For example, on December 12, 2008, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan appointed Lee Richards in connection with the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernard L. Madoff. The court may also appoint a receiver in accordance with a private request, as did Scott Rothstein’s former law partner who filed an action in state court to dissolve the law firm and appoint a receiver. the Firm represented numerous defendants against fraudulent transfer claims brought by Michael Goldberg in his capacity as Receiver for Worldwide Entertainment, Inc.; The Entertainment Group Fund, Inc.; and other entities.


“RICO” is the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, originally intended to combat organized crime, specifically the Mafia. Florida as well as other states enacted state law equivalents of the federal law. In addition to providing law enforcement a tool, RICO (and its Florida equivalent) provide a private cause of action and authorize a prevailing plaintiff to receive three times its actual damages as well as an award of attorney’s fees and costs. Notwithstanding the federal courts’ attempt to limit the scope of RICO in the civil context by imposing procedural hurdles, RICO claims still persist. For the successful plaintiff, the reward can be great. For the defendant, even if it prevails at the end of the day, the cost of time and resources can be extensive. Our firm has obtained judgment in favor of clients both in the prosecution of and the defense against RICO claims.


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission states that its mission “is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” The SEC’s Division of Enforcement investigates securities law violations, recommends to the SEC that it bring civil actions, and assists in the prosecution of civil enforcement actions. For more information, go to Partner Walter J. Mathews served as Senior Counsel with the SEC in the Division of Enforcement. While with the SEC, Mr. Mathews investigated and litigated numerous potential violations of the federal securities laws, including fraudulent unregistered offerings, accounting frauds, insider trading, market manipulations, options backdating, Sarbanes-Oxley violations, Regulation D violations and false press releases.

Please contact us at 954-463-1929 to discuss your particular needs. We look forward to hearing from you.