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Illinois Securities Fraud Laws

A security can be a stock, which represents part ownership of a company; a bond, which is like an “IOU” from a company to an individual; or an option, which is the right to buy something in the future at a predetermined price. Corporations, governments, and individuals buy and sell securities as a way of investing and growing their money.

Overview of Illinois Securities Fraud Laws

Both federal and state laws govern the crime of securities fraud in Illinois. The crime involves engaging in any kind of fraudulent or deceptive practice dealing with the sale of securities. This includes dealing in securities in any way without being a registered dealer or agent or dealing in securities issued after September 6, 1955 and not being registered or having a permit to do so.

Simply put, it's a white collar crime and can be committed when a corporate officer or director misrepresents, withholds, or distorts information relating to the company's stock (i.e. its value), the officer or director unlawfully discloses that information and an individual or entity acts on that unlawfully disclosed information.

What if I Am a Defrauded Investor?

Investors from Illinois have several options to recover investment losses under the law:

  1. File an arbitration claim;
  2. File a complaint; or
  3. Both.


The Illinois Securities Department regulates the offer and sale of securities pursuant to the Illinois Securities Law of 1953. The department registers securities offerings, broker-dealers, investment advisers and their sales-persons and representatives, loan brokers, business brokers and those who offer and sell business opportunities. If you feel you have been a victim of securities fraud, file a complaint as soon as possible and consider seeking legal advice.

Statute of Limitations

A state prosecutor only has a limited amount of time to bring a criminal case against anyone accused of securities fraud. The Illinois criminal statute of limitations will run only while the alleged criminal remains visible and in the state where the crime occurred. If the suspect is out of the state or otherwise living in hiding, this will pause, or “toll,” the statutory clock. The clock resumes running, so to speak, if the criminal reenters the state. The statute of limitations for securities fraud is typically five years from the date of the incident.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Illinois's Security Fraud Law. See Securities Law (Small Business) for more general information on those topics.

Statute 815 ILCS 5/ Illinois Securities Law of 1953
Types of Securities Fraud

The term securities fraud covers a wide range of illegal activities, all of which involve the deception of investors or the manipulation of financial markets.

  • Ponzi Schemes;
  • Mail and/or Wire fraud;
  • Unlicensed Individuals Selling Unregistered, Fraudulent Securities;
  • Unregistered Investment Products;
  • Risky or Fraudulent Promissory Notes;
  • Senior Citizen Investment fraud;
  • Gold and Precious Metals;
  • Social Networking fraud;
  • Religious Affinity fraud;
  • Foreign Exchange Currency (Forex) fraud; or
  • Oil and Gas Scams.
Defenses to Securities Fraud


  • Lack of knowledge;
  • The high managerial agent of the corporation performed his/her due diligence to ensure that securities fraud was not committed;
  • The agent was a registered dealer or agent in the security;
  • Entrapment;
  • No one acted on the disclosed unlawful information.

Securities fraud prosecuted in a Illinois state court may result in a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching

Research the Law:

Illinois Securities Fraud Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Your Securities Fraud Case in Illinois

Crimes involving securities are complicated, and securities prosecutions might take place in any number of courts and refer to a number of different sets of laws. If you've been accused of violating Illinois securities fraud laws, it's a good idea to contact a white collar crimes lawyer who can help you determine how best to handle your situation.

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