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SEC Whistleblower Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Whistleblower protection

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

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

A senior financial analyst at The Walt Disney Company internally reported billions of dollars of alleged financial irregularities and claims that she was harassed and retaliated against for speaking out. In 2017 she filed an SEC whistleblower complaint. Now she is suing Disney.  Sandra Kuba, the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Disney, is a certified Public Accountant (CPA) who was hired as a financial analyst for Disney Financial Services in 1999. Her complaint (link to complaint saved in downloads “Sandra Kuba…”) states that “Throughout her employment, Plaintiff worked incredibly hard and consistently received positive performance reviews.”  SEC Whistleblower Alleges Disney Overstated Revenue  In 2013, Disney promoted Kuba to the position of senior financial analyst. Kuba claims that she became aware that employees in the parks and resorts segment were systematically overstating revenue “by billions of dollars by exploiting weaknesses in the company’s accounting software.”  One of the ways Kuba alleges Disney employees did this was by “recording fictitious revenue for complimentary golf rounds or for free guest promotions.”  She also alleged that revenue for $500 gift cards was recorded at face value even though guests only paid a discounted rate of $395 for them.  Kuba alleges that she reported this wrongdoing to her supervisors but was ignored. In 2017, she emailed her allegations to the president of Walt Disney World Resort, George Kalogridis.A senior financial analyst at The Walt Disney Company internally reported billions of dollars of alleged financial irregularities and claims that she was harassed and retaliated against for speaking out. In 2017 she filed an SEC whistleblower complaint. Now she is suing Disney.

Sandra Kuba, the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Disney, is a certified Public Accountant (CPA) who was hired as a financial analyst for Disney Financial Services in 1999. Her complaint states that “Throughout her employment, Plaintiff worked incredibly hard and consistently received positive performance reviews.” Continue reading

On Friday, November 15, 2019 The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that a whistleblower award of more than $260,000 had been given to three people who jointly alerted the agency to a “well-concealed fraud targeting retail investors.” The SEC’s press release does not identify the fraud specifically, but does say that the whistleblowers were harmed investors themselves.On Friday, November 15, 2019 The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that a whistleblower award of more than $260,000 had been given to three people who jointly alerted the agency to a “well-concealed fraud targeting retail investors.”

The SEC’s press release does not identify the fraud specifically, but does say that the whistleblowers were harmed investors themselves. Continue reading

If you worked for GPB Capital Holdings or a broker-dealer that sold it, and you have information that helps an SEC enforcement action, you could qualify to receive money from an SEC whistleblower award.  To be eligible for a whistleblower award, a person must provide the SEC with non-public information that is original and leads to a successful enforcement action. When the sanction is $1 million or more, a whistleblower award can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected.If you worked for GPB Capital Holdings or a broker-dealer that sold it, and you have information that helps an SEC enforcement action, you could qualify to receive money from an SEC whistleblower award.

To be eligible for a whistleblower award, a person must provide the SEC with non-public information that is original and leads to a successful enforcement action. When the sanction is $1 million or more, a whistleblower award can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected. Continue reading

An anonymous tip from an employee led to an internal review as well as an SEC review that ended with the award of $4.5 million in May.The unidentified employee first sent the anonymous tip to the employer, alleging “significant wrongdoing.” The company then conducted its own investigation and self-reported its findings to the SEC, who then launched its own investigation into the allegations.An anonymous tip from an employee led to an internal review as well as an SEC review that ended with the award of $4.5 million in May.

The unidentified employee first sent the anonymous tip to the employer, alleging “significant wrongdoing.” The company then conducted its own investigation and self-reported its findings to the SEC, who then launched its own investigation into the allegations. Continue reading

An overseas tipster recently helped the SEC take down a large and long-running securities fraud at the whistleblowers former company.

As per policy, the SEC would not identify the individual whistleblower or the specific securities violation they helped to uncover, but they did note the tipster worked for the company where the alleged securities violations took place and they offered to assist the SEC throughout its entire investigation. The SEC also said that the tipster was not a U.S. citizen and worked for the company in an overseas office.

Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office  spoke about the case saying “Company insiders often have valuable information that can help the SEC halt an ongoing securities law violation and better protect investors,” She also spoke about the SEC whistleblower program in general “The breadth of the SEC’s whistleblower program is demonstrated by this case, where the whistleblower, a foreign national working outside of the United States, affirmatively stepped forward to shine a light on the wrongdoing.”

The Whistleblower business can be very profitable for tipsters, a landmark whistleblower award of nearly $2.5 million was awarded today by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The recipient of this award was the employee of a domestic government agency. Information provided by this whistleblower was instrumental in launching a SEC investigation. The anonymous whistleblower continued to offer assistance and eventually helped expose wide ranging misconduct in an unnamed company.

Jane Norberg, the Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower praised whistleblowers and the continued success of the award program.

”Whistleblowers can provide a wealth of information and ongoing assistance that helps our agency bring enforcement actions quicker and more efficiently,” She also noted the speed allowed by the assistance of whistleblowers.’ “This whistleblower not only helped us open the case, but also provided timely ongoing assistance along with critical documents and testimony that accelerated the pace of our enforcement action.”

A key component of the Dodd-Frank Act is headed to the Supreme Court for review. The court will decide if internal whistleblowers who have not yet reported potential violations to the SEC are protected under the anti-retaliation statutes of Dodd-Frank.

The Supreme Court review is necessary to resolve a split in the lower appellate courts stemming from a case brought by a former Digital Realty Trust Inc executive. In the case, Paul Somers a former employee of Digital Realty seeks to sue for alleged retaliation. Digital Realty had protested a decision by the Ninth Circuit that found that internal whistleblowers were protected under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation statutes, even if they had not yet reported potential violations to the SEC.

Somers’s lawyer, Daniel L. Geyser of Stris and Maher was not surprised by the Supreme Courts willingness to hear the case, although he strongly believed that the Ninth circuits interpretation of the law was in line with the scope of Dodd-Frank as written by Congress.

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