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Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SARBOX), (SOX)

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SARBOX, SOX, SOx) of 2002 is a sweeping corporate financial reform bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in July 2002.

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The Act is a response to a number of accounting scandals involving several high-profile public corporations, including Enron and WorldCom. The reforms promulgated by SOX are an attempt to prevent similar abuses in the future and to restore investor confidence that suffered significantly as a result of these scandals. The key provisions include requirements that CEOs and chief financial officers (CFOs) certify their 10-Q and 10-K reports and that all audit committee members be independent. In addition, the law bans personal loans to executive officers and directors, prohibits insider trades during 401(k) blackout periods, requires accelerated reporting of stock trades by insiders, and mandates more detailed disclosure of off-balance-sheet transactions. Finally, the law requires that CEOs and CFOs return any profits they obtained as a result of material misstatements in financial documents and requires attorneys working with offending corporations to report violations of SOX.

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