The amount of time it takes for the SEC to investigate a tip and pursue an enforcement action varies widely from one case to another. In some cases, the fraud is unequivocal and the company may choose to settle the matter rather than contest it through litigation. In other matters, the SEC might litigate a case for years before taking an enforcement action. And even where a case is settled prior to litigation, it can take years for the SEC to perform a thorough investigation.
Once the SEC Office of the Whistleblower posts a notice of covered action, it can take at least a year for the SEC to decide whether to issue an award. A recent Wall Street Journal article titled SEC Whistleblower Payouts Slow Amid Deluge of Reward Seekers reports that there is a substantial backlog of award applications.
Since 2011, more than 22,000 tips have been filed with the Whistleblower Office. Considering the volume of tips and the SEC’s limited resources, your tip must grab the SEC’s attention to ensure that it is acted upon timely (if at all). Once the SEC opens an investigation, it can take at least a year before the SEC is able to take enforcement action or file a complaint.
An experienced SEC whistleblower law firm can help you frame the information in a way that will increase the likelihood that the SEC will deploy scarce resources to investigate the violation and take enforcement action. You can help this process by providing your lawyer with specific and credible information that will serve as a clear roadmap of the securities-law violation(s).
Prior to submitting a SEC whistleblower claim, it is helpful to consult with an experienced attorney to determine how best to present the TCR to the SEC and what information is necessary to prove a violation. For more information about whistleblower rewards and bounties, contact the SEC whistleblower lawyers at Zuckerman Law at 202-262-8959.
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:
See our column in Forbes: One Billion Reasons Why The SEC Whistleblower-Reward Program Is Effective.
SEC Whistleblower Lawyers
SEC Whistleblower Bounties
It’s very difficult to estimate when the SEC is going to act on a particular whistleblower’s tip. The SEC whistleblower office receives thousands of tips each year and has limited resources. As such, it’s more important for whistleblowers to determine how they can grab the SEC attention out of all those submissions. As a practical matter, whistleblowers are more likely to get the their information acted upon if they have a lawyer advocating for them. Furthermore, experienced SEC whistleblower attorneys can frame the information in a way that’s more likely to grab the SEC’s attention.