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SEC Whistleblower Lawyer Blog

SEC Announces $50 Million Whistleblower Award – Its Largest Ever

On Thursday, June 4, 2020, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a $50 million whistleblower award, to a whistleblower who assisted authorities with a currency trading investigation. The whistleblower, Grant Wilson, a former trader at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., notified the SEC, over a decade ago, that the bank was engaging in a pattern of overcharging big customers for currency trades.On Thursday, June 4, 2020, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a $50 million whistleblower award, to a whistleblower who assisted authorities with a currency trading investigation.

The whistleblower, Grant Wilson, a former trader at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., notified the SEC, over a decade ago, that the bank was engaging in a pattern of overcharging big customers for currency trades.

The SEC’s investigations of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. were among the largest enforcement actions taken against banks, involved in trading global currencies – a huge financial market. The SEC’s investigations revealed that big pension funds that invested in global currencies for retirees, police, teachers and others, were given nearly the worst exchange rates of the day, while the Bank made profit from the difference.

In 2015, Bank of New York Mellon Corp. paid approximately $714 million to the U.S. Department of Justice and New York state, and payments to customers who filed a class-action lawsuit after defrauding pension funds and other clients in connection with currency trades.

This $50 million whistleblower award marked a historic milestone for the SEC’s Whistleblower Program, as the largest amount awarded to an individual. Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, discussed this award, stating that it: “. . . [brought] the total awarded to whistleblowers by the SEC to over $500 million, including over $100 million in this fiscal year alone. Whistleblowers have proven to be a critical tool in the enforcement arsenal to combat fraud and protect investors.”

In 2020, the SEC Whistleblower Office has been very active and is recognizing multiple whistleblowers for their assistance in preventing ongoing securities and investment frauds. These cases frequently involve people blowing the whistle on a variety of misconduct from wrongdoing at major brokerage firms to ponzi schemes.

In reaching their decision on this nearly $50 million whistleblower award, the SEC noted that:

“Claimant 1’s information was highly significant and Claimant 1 provided first-hand observations of misconduct by the Company that was previously unknown to the staff; (ii) Claimant 1 laid out in detail substantial aspects of the scheme and provided a roadmap for the investigation; and (iii) Claimant 1’s information helped the Commission further significant law enforcement interests as Claimant 1’s information allowed the Commission to bring an enforcement action that, returned a significant amount of money to those harmed by the Company’s misconduct.” SEC Whistleblower Award Proceeding, File No. 2020-20, June 4, 2020.

A link to the June 4, 2020 award can be found here.

This award highlights how frequently wall street insiders try to report internally without any positive action being taken. Silver Law Group frequently represents financial advisors, compliance officers and other insiders before a formal complaint is filed to help protect employees from negative repercussions when reporting internal misconduct.

Type Of Misconduct That Can Lead To A Whistleblower Award

If you have, or are aware of information concerning securities fraud or other misconduct, you could receive a significant financial reward for bringing forth this information as a whistleblower.

Unfortunately, whistleblowers face retaliation or other negative consequences for reporting internally or have nowhere to report misconduct because of involvement by senior management. By stepping forward and reporting to the SEC, even on a confidential basis, a whistleblower can prevent more harm to main street investors and protect their own rights as a whistleblower.

The SEC has identified several types of allegations that can lead to a whistleblower award, upon a successful enforcement action: (1) Corporate Disclosures and Financials; (2) Offering Fraud; (3) Manipulation; (4) Insider Trading; (5) Trading and Pricing; (6) FCPA; (7) Unregistered Offerings; (8) Market Event; (9) Municipal Securities and Public Pension; (10) Crypto Currency; and (11) Other.  This is not an exhaustive list, and Silver Law Group is well-equipped to assist you in filing a whistleblower claim.

Experienced Whistleblower Attorneys

Managing partner Scott L. Silver vigorously advocates for investors and employees who are bringing claims against members of the financial services industry, such as hedge funds, brokerage firms, and individual brokers. He uses insights gained from working at a law firm that represented the financial services industry to anticipate and counter the strategies that may be used against his clients.

Scott has authored an acclaimed whistleblower program outline that is available free of charge upon request. His thorough knowledge of this complex area of the law has led to speaking engagements nationwide, including at law schools, community events, and lawyer conferences. Scott represents clients throughout the U.S. and elsewhere in the world in litigation and in arbitration proceedings before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the National Futures Association (NFA), and the American Arbitration Association (AAA).

Partner David Chase, principal of the Law Firm of David R. Chase, PA, joins Scott in fighting for the rights of investors in complex cases involving SEC investigations and securities litigation. David also has a keen understanding of the strategies that defendants may use against his clients, based on his experience working for an international firm that represented many large Wall Street financial institutions. He combines that knowledge with an understanding of how the SEC investigates these matters, having served as a former Senior Counsel in its Enforcement Division and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Division.

David’s recognition in the field has led to his appointment as a Receiver in various SEC and FTC enforcement cases, which offers him another way to protect the interests of investors. An adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law, where he teaches a course on SEC Enforcement, David has served as Chairman of the Securities Litigation Committee for the Dade County Bar Association and as the Co-Chair of the Securities Enforcement Subcommittee for the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association.

Explore Your Options With An SEC Whistleblower Attorney

Our SEC whistleblower attorneys assist employees and investors throughout the U.S. We are ready to help you investigate the details of your situation and determine a course of action that is tailored to your needs and goals. Contact us at (800) 975-4345 or through our online form for a free consultation with a securities fraud attorney.

Our attorneys are prepared to assist your legal needs if you have information regarding securities fraud, financial crimes, or any other types of illegal conduct, which could lead to whistleblower complaint. Our firm’s combined, invaluable experience, in representing whistleblowers, provides a unique advantage in assisting those who are ready to bring justice to the securities industry.

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