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What is the SEC Office of the Whistleblower?

SEC Office of the Whistleblower

In 2011, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower was created pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) to run the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program. The program offers monetary incentives to individuals who report information about violations of the federal securities laws to the SEC. In its short history, the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program has been extraordinarily successful in enabling the SEC root out securities fraud and protect investors. To date, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower has issued more than $381 million in awards to whistleblowers.

SEC Whistleblower Rules

Under the rules of the program, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower is required to issue awards to eligible whistleblowers who provide original information that leads to successful enforcement actions with total monetary sanctions in excess of $1 million. In exchange for the specific and credible tips, whistleblowers will receive an award of between 10% and 30% of the total monetary sanctions collected. The SEC considers positive and negative factors when determining an award percentage. The largest SEC whistleblower awards to date are:

  • $50 million
  • $39 million
  • $37 million
  • $33 million
  • $30 million

The program allows individuals to submit information anonymously to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower if represented by an attorney. Whistleblowers are also afforded substantial protection against retaliation.

 

SEC Office of the Whistleblower’s Early Success

As detailed in the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program’s 2018 Annual Report to Congress, the program has enjoyed a remarkable run of success since the SEC Office of the Whistleblower first opened its doors in 2011. In fiscal year 2018, the SEC paid whistleblower awards totaling $168 million, including the three largest SEC whistleblower awards in the program’s history. And during fiscal 2018, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower received more than 5,200 tips, an increase of approximately 67% since fiscal year 2012. Since 2011, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower has received nearly 28,000 tips, some of which have enabled the SEC to recover more than $1.7 billion in monetary sanctions from wrongdoers. The most common tips submitted to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower relate to:

In short, it appears that the SEC Office of the Whistleblower and its reward program are firing on all cylinders. To learn more about the SEC Whistleblower Program, download the eBook SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award.

SEC Whistleblower Law Firm

If you are seeking representation in a SEC whistleblower bounty case, click here, or call us at 202-262-8959 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. In 2017, Washingtonian magazine named two of our attorneys top whistleblower lawyers, and U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 law firm in the Washington DC metropolitan area.

Resources for SEC Whistleblowers

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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.

Matthew Stock is the Director of the Whistleblower Rewards Practice at Zuckerman Law. He represents whistleblowers around the world in SEC, CFTC and IRS whistleblower claims. He is also a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and former KPMG external auditor.

Diana Alsabe is a law clerk at Zuckerman Law and a third-year law student at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Previously, she has worked as a legal intern at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Whistleblower Office.