Image of SEC Whistleblower Program: Can I submit a tip if the SEC already has an open investigation?

SEC Whistleblower Program: Can I submit a tip if the SEC already has an open investigation?

Yes. Even if the SEC already has information about a particular securities-law violation, you can still qualify for an award if your information “significantly contributes” to the success of a resulting SEC enforcement action. According to the SEC Whistleblower Office’s 2016 Annual Report to Congress, such information accounted for 40% of the awards in 2016. A whistleblower’s information may “significantly contribute” to an enforcement action in several ways, including if the information:

  • allows the SEC to bring the enforcement action in significantly less time or with significantly less resources;
  • expands the scope of the current investigation, leading to additional successful claims; or
  • allows the SEC to bring claims against additional parties.

On May 13, 2016, the SEC issued an award of more than $3.5 million to a whistleblower who “bolstered an ongoing investigation with additional evidence of wrongdoing that strengthened the SEC’s case.” Per the press release accompanying that award, Mr. Ceresney, the SEC Enforcement Director, explained that “[w]histleblowers can receive an award not only when their tip initiates an investigation, but also when they provide new information or documentation that advances an existing inquiry.” He added, “This particular whistleblower’s tip substantially strengthened our ongoing case and increased our leverage during settlement negotiations with the company.”

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:

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

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Yes, you can still qualify for an award under the program even if the SEC has an open investigation into the matter. In fact, in 2016 40% of awards were because individuals significantly contributed to an already open investigation. Individuals can do this by providing information that allows the SEC to bring the claim with fewer resources or in significantly less time. Perhaps the information allows the SEC to expand the scope of their current investigation, or if the information allows the SEC to bring claims against additional parties to the already open investigation.

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.