If you’re deciding to become a whistleblower, there are a number of issues that you should consider. The first of these is to know that just because you provide information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about a potential securities violation, that does not mean that you are automatically eligible to receive a whistleblower award. So let’s look at what it takes for you to be considered “an eligible whistleblower” (i.e., someone eligible for an award).
You are likely eligible for an award if:
- You are voluntarily providing original information to the SEC or another federal enforcement agency
- Your information reveals a potential SEC violation
- Your information either triggers a new SEC investigation or has a significant impact on an ongoing investigation
- The SEC issues more than $1 million in sanctions because of the information you uncovered
Importantly, two factors that do not affect your eligibility are your citizenship and your employment. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible. You can be from anywhere and live anywhere (and the sanction doesn’t have to have taken place on U.S. soil, either). Additionally, you don’t have to be an official or employee of the company to make a report.
However, if you are a company official or employee, be aware that—with few exceptions—people who work as attorneys, accountants, and others in legal and compliance-related fields are not considered eligible whistleblowers because providing accurate reports to the SEC is literally part of their job.
Of course, these are just general guidelines. Determination of your eligibility is always going to depend on the relevant facts and law. That’s why, if you have questions about whether you are or are not an eligible whistleblower, or how to become a whistleblower, contact the experienced securities attorneys at Silver Law Group and the Law Firm of David R. Chase for help. For a free, confidential consultation, contact us through our website or call us today at (800)975-4345.