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Sterling Bancorp has pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges that were brought against them by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The financial institution is charged with making false and misleading statements to investors between the years of 2014 and 2016. Specifically, it is alleged that the company created documents and made public statements which misled investors about their true financial condition. This included their tangible book value, the amount of assets on their balance sheet, and the performance of their investments.

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The SEC further alleges that, during this time period, Sterling Bancorp failed to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), resulting in claims of accounting malpractice. Further, the SEC is alleging that the company engaged in a variety of fraudulent tactics during this time, such as backdating documents and concealing material information from investors. Sterling Bancorp has entered into an agreement with the SEC and will pay $12 million to settle the charges.

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The SEC’s investigation focused on the specifics of Sterling Bancorp’s statements and their alleged false and misleading documents. Furthermore, the SEC has accused the financial institution of unlawful conduct relating to the offering and sale of their securities. Not only have they accused the company of false statements, but also of failing to disclose material information poised to have a significant effect on the price or value of their securities.

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The penalty of $12 million that Sterling Bancorp has agreed to pay is indicative of the gravity of the charges they are facing. As the SEC continues to bring legal action against those who are found to have committed securities fraud, this case serves as a reminder that all companies should abide by all securities laws and regulations in order to safeguard investors and uphold the integrity of the financial markets.

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