On October 30, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that is has awarded $150,000 to an anonymous whistleblower. It is the sixth award since the SEC Whistleblower program began two years ago. So far, the largest award is $14 million.
Under the SEC’s program, persons who voluntarily provide original information about a possible securities law violation that leads to the collection of monetary sanctions by the SEC of more than $1 million are entitled to an award of between 10% and 30% of the amount collected.
The most common violations reported by whistleblowers have involved corporate disclosures and financials, offering fraud and manipulation, according to the SEC’s Annual Report on the Whistleblower Program for 2012. Other categories of violations have included insider trading, trading and pricing, unregistered offerings, municipal securities and public pensions.
The most recent award recipient wished to keep his identity confidential. By law, the SEC takes steps to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers. In order to submit a tip anonymously, the whistleblower must be represented by an attorney.
Employers are prohibited by law from retaliating against whistleblowers. It is unlawful to discharge, demote, suspend, harass, or discriminate against an employee who provides information under the SEC’s whistleblower program. Victims of wrongful retaliation may be entitled to reinstatement, double back pay, expenses and attorney’s fees.
Whistleblowers provide a valuable service to financial markets and society in general. If you believe you have information relating to a possible securities law violation by your employer, and would like to submit a tip to the SEC anonymously, The Doss Firm, LLC may be able to help.
Jason Doss is the owner of The Doss Firm, LLC, an Atlanta-based law firm devoted to representing consumers across the country in a variety of areas including investment disputes and consumer class action litigation. Mr. Doss earned his J.D. from Florida State University in 2002 and his B.A. from the University of Florida in 1997.