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Complaints & Enforcement

Complaints Against Unregistered Parties

The Enforcement Bureau generally conducts the initial investigation of complaints which do not involve firms or individuals registered with the Division. Listed below are some of the enforcement-related issues investors often raise:

  • Misrepresentations or omissions of facts in connection with sales of securities or franchise investment opportunities.
  • Sales of unregistered securities or franchises.
  • The sale of securities by someone not registered with the Division.
  • The misappropriation of invested funds by a person or firm selling securities or franchise investment opportunities.
  • Securities-related schemes to defraud and acts, practices and courses of business which operate as a fraud on investors.

Before filing a complaint with the Enforcement Bureau of the Division of Securities, consumers promptly should try to resolve the matter directly with the appropriate party by requesting the return of their investment money or other action. While the Division is not strictly limited by the civil statutory time limitations, it is very important to keep in mind that an investor’s right to bring an action in court may be strictly limited. Investor claims based upon violations of the Wisconsin Uniform Securities Law are governed by § 551.509(10), Wis. Stats. Claims based upon violations of the Wisconsin Franchise Investment law are governed by § 553.51(4), Wis. Stats. Investors may have other common law claims that would be governed by other statutes of limitation depending on the facts and circumstances, which could be extremely short (i.e., Wisconsin courts have held that claims for a breach of fiduciary duty are governed by the two-year intentional tort statute of limitation). The Division cannot give any legal advice as to statutes of limitation regarding any specific claim. It is crucial to consult a private attorney as soon as possible regarding your potential remedies and the statutes of limitation which apply to them.

The best way to initiate a complaint with the Enforcement Bureau is to send us a letter describing in detail the facts and circumstances of your investment and relationship to the seller, or to complete the "Enforcement Questionnaire." Please include your investment documents and sales materials (i.e., subscription agreements, promissory notes, private placement memoranda, prospectuses, sales brochures), as well as a copy of the documentation of your investment (i.e., a both sides of a canceled check, wire transfer instructions). The more information you give us, the better we will be able to investigate.

If you have questions about completing the form, contact us at:

Department of Financial Institutions
Division of Securities
PO Box 1768
Madison WI 53701-1768

(608) 266-1603    or    e-mail

A toll-free number is available to individuals calling within the State of Wisconsin: 1-800-472-4325

To file your complaint, you may print it and mail it to the Division, together with any supporting documentation, or you may e-mail it with scanned copies of documents.

We will acknowledge receipt of your inquiry or complaint. If your inquiry or complaint is outside our jurisdiction or may be better handled by another regulatory agency, we will forward it on your behalf and inform you of our having done so. If there is nothing that can be done (for example, if the problem is simply that your investment lost money or earned less than you expected because of market forces), we will inform you of this. If there is a possible violation, we will commence an investigation, in which case you will be advised of any action taken once the investigation has been completed.