The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating about two dozen Southern California companies on matters ranging from insider trading to filing inflated earnings reports, SEC officials said Thursday.
Irving Einhorn, head of the SEC's Los Angeles office, said about 20 companies are being investigated for what he termed "financial chicanery" in their public financial reports.
Another handful of firms are under scrutiny because of allegations of insider trading, Einhorn said, adding that "there are some recognizable names and it will make for some interesting reading" when the probes are completed. (Federal securities laws forbid investors from trading and profiting on inside information that isn't available to the general public.)
Einhorn declined to name the firms under investigation, adding that it will be at least three months before the SEC takes action. The most egregious cases will be referred to the U.S. attorney's office for criminal prosecution, he said.