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SEC Pays $3M Award to Whistleblower

Whistleblower Disclosed Complex Fraud Scheme

The SEC announced a Dodd-Frank whistleblower award of more than $3 million to a whistleblower who disclosed a complex fraudulent scheme which otherwise would have been very difficult for investigators to detect.

Since its implementation in August 2011, the SEC’s Whistleblower Reward Program has steadily gained momentum. Under Section 922(a) of Dodd-Frank, a whistleblower that provides original information to the SEC that results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million shall be paid an award of ten to thirty percent of the amount recouped. See 78 U.S.C. § 78u-6.

Success of SEC Whistleblower Program

Initially, there was a great deal of skepticism about the SEC whistleblower program, including concerns that it would undermine corporate compliance programs (by causing whistleblowers to go directly to the SEC and bypass internal compliance programs) and would not yield useful tips.  Five years later, however, the program is off to a strong start.  In a recent speech titled “The SEC as the Whistleblower’s Advocate,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White characterized the program as a “game changer” and reported that the quality of tips has been very high and spans the full spectrum of securities law violations, including market manipulation, offering fraud, and shareholder fraud.  As the SEC confronts significant resource challenges in policing the financial markets, high quality tips that enable the SEC to quickly build a case are invaluable in helping the SEC protect investors.

The SEC whistleblower reward program has generated over 10,000 tips and has paid out approximately $50 million in awards to whistleblowers.  Some of these tips have enabled the SEC to halt ongoing fraud.  Further, incentives for whistleblowers are forcing companies to strengthen their internal compliance programs.  More than 80% of whistleblowers disclosed wrongdoing internally prior to blowing the whistle to the SEC.  If a company fails to properly investigate and correct a disclosure of fraud or other securities violation, it is taking a significant risk that the whistleblower will disclose the wrongdoing to the SEC, requiring the company to explain why it failed to take corrective action.

In addition to providing strong financial incentives to whistleblowers, the SEC is enforcing Dodd-Frank’s prohibition against whistleblower retaliation and is barring companies from using confidentiality agreements and policies to silence whistleblowers.  While the whistleblower reward provisions are a small part of the Dodd-Frank Act, they might be the most effective new tool to protect investors and promote market integrity.

Experienced SEC Whistleblower Attorneys

Leading whistleblower firm Zuckerman Law represent whistleblowers worldwide before the SEC under the Dodd-Frank SEC Whistleblower Program.  The firm has a licensed Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner on staff to enhance its ability to investigate and disclose complex financial fraud to the SEC, and two of the firm’s attorneys served in high-level position at a government agency that protects whistleblowers.  Firm Principal Jason Zuckerman has been named by Washingtonian Magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” and the firm has been ranked by U.S. News as a Tier 1 Firm in Labor & Employment Litigation.

Whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law has substantial experience investigating securities fraud schemes and preparing effective submissions to the SEC concerning a wide range of federal securities violations, including:

See our column in Forbes:  One Billion Reasons Why The SEC Whistleblower-Reward Program Is Effective.

See our column in Going Concern:  Sarbanes-Oxley 15 Years Later: Accountants Need to Speak Up Now More Than Ever.

To learn more about the SEC Whistleblower Program, download Zuckerman Law’s eBook: SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award:

SEC Whistleblower Program Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award

To discuss your potential SEC whistleblower claim, contact the SEC whistleblower lawyers at Zuckerman Law for a free, confidential consultation at 202-262-8959.

 

 

SEC whistleblower advocates

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.