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SEC Whistleblower Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in SEC Whistleblower

It’s axiomatic that whistleblowing only works if people are willing to come forward and tell authorities of companies’ wrongdoing. That’s why Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sees retaliation—being punished for having made a report of wrongdoing—as a primary threat to its whistleblowing initiative: If people believe they will be punished for reporting companies’ malfeasance to the SEC, then they’re less likely to come forward.  Therefore, the SEC has rules that bar retaliation against whistleblowers after they’ve reported potential securities law violations, and the SEC has been vigorously enforcing them.  Under the law, “employers may not discharge, demote, suspend, harass, or in any way discriminate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment who has reported conduct to the Commission that the employee reasonably believed violated the federal securities laws.”Let me be clear: Retaliation protections are a key component of the whistleblower program, and we will bring charges against companies or individuals who violate the anti-retaliation protections when appropriate.

—Jay Clayton,

Former Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission Continue reading

Suppose you’re aware of violations of securities laws at your place of employment but you are concerned that an employment agreement may prevent you from becoming a whistleblower. In that case, it’s always best to consult with an attorney.  The securities whistleblower attorneys at the Law Firm of David R. Chase and the Silver Law Group are experts at the relevant law, assisting whistleblowers in making successful reports, collect financial rewards, and helping them prevent or respond to retaliation.  But as a general rule, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been very clear on the issue: Companies cannot use employment agreements to circumvent the SEC laws meant to encourage whistleblowing.Suppose you’re aware of violations of securities laws at your place of employment but you are concerned that an employment agreement may prevent you from becoming a whistleblower. In that case, it’s always best to consult with an attorney.

The securities whistleblower attorneys at the Law Firm of David R. Chase and the Silver Law Group are experts at the relevant law, assisting whistleblowers in making successful reports, collect financial rewards, and helping them prevent or respond to retaliation. Continue reading

The Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has been awarding millions of dollars to whistleblowers in recent years—and the Commission has been awarding larger bonuses, more frequently. In the first decade of the SEC whistleblowing program, it had awarded $942 million to whistleblowers—but more than a third of that—$380 million—was given in just the last year. Given the stakes of a successful claim, contact the experienced securities whistleblower attorneys at the Law Firm of David R. Chase and the Silver Law Group to help you file a report. As experts at the relevant law, we assist whistleblowers in making successful reports, collect financial rewards, and helping them prevent or respond to retaliation. A few recent cases to demonstrate how the laws apply in practice.  In re Paradigm (2015): In the Commission’s first-ever decision relating to a company’s retaliation of a whistleblower, the Commission found that the  whistleblower had suffered “unique hardships” after reporting Paradigm’s wrongdoing to the SEC. The company had “removing the whistleblower from the whistleblower’s then-current position, tasking the whistleblower with investigating the very conduct the whistleblower reported to the SEC, changing the whistleblower’s job function, stripping the whistleblower of supervisory responsibilities, and otherwise marginalizing the whistleblower.”The Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has been awarding millions of dollars to whistleblowers in recent years—and the Commission has been awarding larger bonuses, more frequently. In the first decade of the SEC whistleblowing program, it had awarded $942 million to whistleblowers—but more than a third of that—$380 million—was given in just the last year. Given the stakes of a successful claim, contact the experienced securities whistleblower attorneys at the Law Firm of David R. Chase and the Silver Law Group to help you file a report. As experts at the relevant law, we assist whistleblowers in making successful reports, collect financial rewards, and helping them prevent or respond to retaliation. A few recent cases to demonstrate how the laws apply in practice. Continue reading

While some whistleblowers experience guilt, others are struggling with anger. Frequently, those who submit a whistleblower complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have been wronged. This wrongdoing may manifest financially, emotionally, or both.  Importantly, the SEC does its part to incentivize whistleblowers by offering the opportunity to financially recoup some of their losses. Those who provide “original information” to the SEC, which leads to a successful action and monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million against the wrongdoer, are entitled to an award. While eligible whistleblowers will be awarded a percentage of the sanctions recouped, this award is not the primary motivation behind blowing the whistle to begin with.  SEC whistleblowers have been instrumental in returning millions of dollars to victims of Ponzi schemes and other investment frauds.While some whistleblowers experience guilt, others are struggling with anger. Frequently, those who submit a whistleblower complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have been wronged. This wrongdoing may manifest financially, emotionally, or both.

Importantly, the SEC does its part to incentivize whistleblowers by offering the opportunity to financially recoup some of their losses. Those who provide “original information” to the SEC, which leads to a successful action and monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million against the wrongdoer, are entitled to an award. While eligible whistleblowers will be awarded a percentage of the sanctions recouped, this award is not the primary motivation behind blowing the whistle to begin with. Continue reading

After you and your legal team have filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC, it may feel anticlimactic. When the SEC receives your tip, the agency reviews it along with thousands of other complaints. Then the SEC decides whether or not to allocate resources for a complete investigation. The investigation and subsequent court or administrative proceedings can additionally take a considerable amount of time. The ordeal is a tedious but significant process, leaving you to ask, “what now?” Even though you’ve done the right thing, you might carry the guilt of how the complaint affected colleagues or entire companies. You could still be learning how to cope with the broken loyalties. Still yet, you may worry scorned colleagues or industry giants hold harmful resentments. These emotions can take a toll, but it’s important to remember that you’ve done a good deed and our financial institutions and public markets are stronger for it.After you and your legal team have filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC, it may feel anticlimactic. When the SEC receives your tip, the agency reviews it along with thousands of other complaints. Then the SEC decides whether or not to allocate resources for a complete investigation. The investigation and subsequent court or administrative proceedings can additionally take a considerable amount of time. The ordeal is a tedious but significant process, leaving you to ask, “what now?” Continue reading

“Whistleblowing” is a term used to describe the act of alerting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in writing, to a securities law violation. For many, whistleblowing is easier in theory than in practice. While most people want to do what is right, and prevent illegal actors from unfair compensation, the fact of the matter is that whistleblowing is often emotionally complicated. While anyone with relevant information may alert the SEC to fraudulent investment activity, tips often come from corporate insiders with intimate knowledge of specific wrongdoing. These whistleblowers face the difficult task of weighing the moral obligation to report the wrongdoing with the consequences their colleagues, or even friends, may face if saddled with a federal investigation into their activities or risk losing their jobs. Whistleblowers frequently struggle with the guilt of betrayal, and wonder if they are doing more harm than good.Whistleblowing” is a term used to describe the act of alerting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in writing, to a securities law violation. For many, whistleblowing is easier in theory than in practice. While most people want to do what is right, and prevent illegal actors from unfair compensation, the fact of the matter is that whistleblowing is often emotionally complicated. Continue reading

Of course, if you become a whistleblower, it’s only natural to consider the impact this may have on you personally—how reporting may affect your career. You may be wondering if you would be subject to retaliation, or perhaps you’re thinking about the upside—the minimum award you could win. In September 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had paid out more than $1 billion in rewards to whistleblowers since its new program began. In 2020, one whistleblower received a $114 million payout. But there are other factors to include in your decision to become a whistleblower. Ask yourself how your report might impact your industry, the markets, or even society as a whole?  If Not You, Who?  No matter what, the SEC will never be able to catch public companies that commit wrongdoing without whistleblowers. They don’t have the resources to look into every company; they need insiders to bring violations to their attention. Studies have shown whistleblowers are ferreting out the vast majority of fraud. PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded that whistleblowers were responsible for 43% of all fraud detection. That’s about ten times the amount revealed by external auditors. In 2017, 92% of the False Claims Act cases brought by the US Department of Justice came from whistleblowers—to the tune of $3.4 billion in settlements and judgments. Of course, if you become a whistleblower, it’s only natural to consider the impact this may have on you personally—how reporting may affect your career. You may be wondering if you would be subject to retaliation, or perhaps you’re thinking about the upside—the minimum award you could win. In September 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had paid out more than $1 billion in rewards to whistleblowers since its new program began. In 2020, one whistleblower received a $114 million payout. But there are other factors to include in your decision to become a whistleblower. Ask yourself how your report might impact your industry, the markets, or even society as a whole? Continue reading

Once you’ve decided to make a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), what’s probably the next decision you’ll need to make if you should reveal your identity or give the SEC an anonymous tip. Before you decide, there are some important things you need to know.  First, if you decide to be an anonymous tipster and want to be eligible for a whistleblower award, then, under SEC Rule 21F-9, you must have an attorney represents you during the submission of your information. Your attorney will be known to the SEC, and your attorney is responsible for making sure that you have complied with all relevant SEC requirements for your submission. The attorney will have reviewed your materials, your identity, and have you attest to the veracity of your allegations. Your attorney will then be the SEC’s point of contact if it has requests for further information and so forth.  Also, while you can be anonymous when you submit the information that leads to an award, the SEC requires that you must reveal your identity prior to receiving an award. So, at some point, you would need to identify yourself to the SEC. However, the SEC will still not identify you publicly, even after they’ve paid you an award.Once you’ve decided to make a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), what’s probably the next decision you’ll need to make if you should reveal your identity or give the SEC an anonymous tip. Before you decide, there are some important things you need to know. Continue reading

Deciding If You Should You Blow The Whistle: Is An Internal Report A Better Choice? For would-be whistleblowers, one of the biggest questions is if they should make an internal report rather than go to the SEC. In fact, 83% of the SEC whistleblowers did raise the subject of their concerns internally, before they went to the SEC. So how do you decide? While there are a lot of factors that will go into your decision, two of the considerations you should address are your goal in making the report and your timing: Is your goal more about punishing the wrongdoers for something that’s already happened, or is it more about preventing the company from committing a violation? And when is an internal or external report the better choice?  While there is evidence that sanctioned companies often clean up their act going forward, a report to the SEC is obviously going to be focused on sanctioning the company for wrongdoing they’ve already perpetrated.  If you’re making an internal report, you’re giving the company a chance to fix the issue independently.For would-be whistleblowers, one of the biggest questions is if they should make an internal report rather than go to the SEC. In fact, 83% of the SEC whistleblowers did raise the subject of their concerns internally, before they went to the SEC. So how do you decide? While there are a lot of factors that will go into your decision, two of the considerations you should address are your goal in making the report and your timing: Is your goal more about punishing the wrongdoers for something that’s already happened, or is it more about preventing the company from committing a violation? And when is an internal or external report the better choice? Continue reading

You may be an eligible whistleblower entitled to a reward if you voluntarily provide original information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or other federal agency that leads to the SEC’s issuance of sanctions of one million dollars ($1,000,000) or more. But what do those “voluntarily” and “original” requirements mean in practice? Are they significant enough to worry about?  Let’s start with that second question first. Yes, meeting these standards is essential: If your information does not meet either the voluntary or the original standards, then you will not be eligible for an SEC award.  What’s “Voluntary”?  Under Rule 240.21F-4, “voluntary” means that you give your information to the SEC or a similar federal enforcement entity before anyone from the federal government has asked you to turn over that type of information. And importantly, their request does not need to rise to the level of a subpoena or something formal; an informal request is enough.  Also, with only a few exceptions, giving the SEC information is not considered voluntary, if you are already required to reveal this information in the context of compliance—i.e., if you’re must provide that information as part of your normal job duties.You may be an eligible whistleblower entitled to a reward if you voluntarily provide original information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or other federal agency that leads to the SEC’s issuance of sanctions of one million dollars ($1,000,000) or more. But what do those “voluntarily” and “original” requirements mean in practice? Are they significant enough to worry about? Continue reading

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