The SEC’s whistleblower program provides rewards to those who offer information leading to successful enforcement of rules. Under this program, a person who provides the commission with information may be eligible to receive up to 30% of the collected amount. Below are several things to know about the whistleblowing program.
The SEC makes filing a tip simple. The official website includes a form that asks for the facts of the violation, supporting materials, and the means by which the information was obtained. Documents can be submitted online or by mail, and they can be provided anonymously if the person is represented by an SEC Whistleblower Attorney.
Since the inception of the whistleblower program, the SEC has awarded over $135 million. Five of these awards have been eight figures, ranging from $14 to $30 million, and 60% of successful whistleblowers have received awards for providing information that led to a new investigation.
The Number of Tips is Increasing
Tips concerning fraud and corporate disclosures have seen the most significant increases. Over the past few years, tips on financials and disclosures have almost doubled. The highest number of whistleblower tips fall into the miscellaneous category.
In comparing the SEC whistleblower program to those of the IRS and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, it is easy to see how effective the SEC’s measures have been. While the Dodd-Frank Act grants the SEC and the CFTC equal authority, the SEC’s award numbers far outpace those of the CFTC.
Most whistleblowing complaints come from industry insiders. Roughly 65% of recipients worked for the companies on which the reports were made. Most insiders have made internal complaints before they took the case to the SEC.
The SEC program focuses on companies that retaliate against whistleblowers. In June 2014, the commission charged a company with retaliation after it forced the whistleblower to investigate the conduct that led to the report. Anti-retaliatory measures protect individuals who report wrongdoing, both internally and externally.
SEC whistleblowing is a lucrative area where lawyers are looking to develop expertise, devote resources, and market themselves. When an employee encounters problematic conduct, they can count on a whistleblower attorney to provide advice and advocacy throughout the reporting process.