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SEC Whistleblower Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in SEC Whistleblower

The Securities and Exchange Commission has kept busy, even through the holidays. On January 10th, 2022, the SEC put out a press release announcing that three more people have received bounties after working with SEC staff to identify and discontinue wrongdoing in the financial sector.  The first whistleblower reported their concerns internally prior to notifying the SEC. This information contributed significantly to an existing investigation. The SEC was not previously aware of this misconduct. This whistleblower’s information assisted the staff in developing a well-organized and effective investigation leading to the enforcement action.  The whistleblower kept in touch with the staff throughout the investigation to help uncover the full extent of misconduct as well as identify all possible witnesses. This information as well as other assistance also helped the SEC staff to obtain evidence of wrongdoing that was occurring overseas. Without this information from the whistleblower, the activity would have been difficult to uncover. In this case, the first whistleblower received an award of $2.6 million.The Securities and Exchange Commission has kept busy, even through the holidays. On January 10th, 2022, the SEC put out a press release announcing that three more people have received bounties after working with SEC staff to identify and discontinue wrongdoing in the financial sector. Continue reading

Given both the breadth of the activities that can constitute violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (since it precludes giving anything of value) and the severity of the possible penalties (prison terms and millions of dollars in fines), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have created lists of “red flags,” so executives can know when they are in danger of violating the law. Red flags include: The business transaction takes place in a nation known for corruption The involved parties have a history of previous bribery allegations The involved parties have a poor business reputation The involved parties are known for having a poor (or nonexistent) compliance program There is a lack of due diligence by the involved parties Since FCPA (backlink to FCPA blog when Justia puts up) violations often involve a third party acting as an intermediary between the covered person and entity and a foreign official, there are also red flags for third parties: The third party is involved at request of the foreign official The third party is a relative or close ally of the foreign official The third party will receive excessive compensation or unreasonably large discounts The third party has vaguely described services (even in agreements) The third party isn’t normally engaged in this type of business The third party is a shell company for an offshore jurisdiction or requests payment to offshore bank accountsGiven both the breadth of the activities that can constitute violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (since it precludes giving anything of value) and the severity of the possible penalties (prison terms and millions of dollars in fines), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have created lists of “red flags,” so executives can know when they are in danger of violating the law. Continue reading

Both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are responsible for enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). And as this dual-enforcement mechanism suggests, FCPA violators can face criminal and civil penalties, and there are punishments for both the responsible individuals and the entities involved. For individuals convicted of FCPA violations, penalties can include: Up to five years in imprisonment Up to $100,000 in criminal penalties Up to $10,000 in civil penalties For entities convicted of FCPA violation, penalties can include: Up to $2,000,000 in criminal penalties Up to $10,000 in civil penaltiesBoth the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are responsible for enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). And as this dual-enforcement mechanism suggests, FCPA violators can face criminal and civil penalties, and there are punishments for both the responsible individuals and the entities involved. Continue reading

The SEC has announced its latest whistleblower awards for two individuals in the same case.  The first whistleblower received a bounty of more than $12.5 million after alerting the SEC to an ongoing fraudulent scheme. As a result, SEC staff initiated an investigation and the whistleblower offered continued support to them.  The second whistleblower received more than $2.5 million. This individual’s information was more “limited in nature,” but was also significant in the eventual enforcement action.  The information from both whistleblowers was original and submitted voluntarily. Information from both whistleblowers was substantial in nature and led to the successful SEC enforcement action. The amounts reflect the amount of contribution each offered. The order called the first whistleblower’s contribution “more significant.”The SEC has announced its latest whistleblower awards for two individuals in the same case.

The first whistleblower received a bounty of more than $12.5 million after alerting the SEC to an ongoing fraudulent scheme. As a result, SEC staff initiated an investigation and the whistleblower offered continued support to them. Continue reading

A whistleblower whose original information led to an investigation by the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has also received a bounty of $2M from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Recent amendments to the whistleblower rules mean that DOJ actions, such as deferred and non-prosecution agreements, are now subject to whistleblower awards.  The whistleblower also offered original information to both the SEC and the DOJ, as well as “extensive, ongoing assistance to both investigations.”  Both agencies opened their investigations based upon the whistleblower’s information and assistance.A whistleblower whose original information led to an investigation by the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has also received a bounty of $2M from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Recent amendments to the whistleblower rules mean that DOJ actions, such as deferred and non-prosecution agreements, are now subject to whistleblower awards. Continue reading

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

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