In June, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its second-largest award since its whistleblower program began five years ago. A former employee provided a “detailed tip that substantially advanced” the SEC’s investigation and its enforcement action. Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, stated in a release, “The information and assistance provided by this whistleblower enabled our enforcement staff to conserve time and resources and gather strong evidence supporting our case.”
As is consistent with federal law, the agency did not reveal the whistleblower’s name nor the company for which they worked. The SEC also does not generally disclose any information that might directly or indirectly reveal the person’s identity. However, it should be noted that insiders are often the ones with the highest-quality information about wrongdoing in the securities industry. The lawyer for the whistleblower receiving $17 million noted that the case concerned “a major player in the financial services industry.”
The whistleblower program at the SEC seeks original information of superior quality that leads to an enforcement action where the financial sanctions will surpass $1 million. Between 10 and 30 percent of the money collected as the result of a successful case is awarded to the whistleblower(s) involved. The highest percentages are usually given to those with the most complete and substantive information that has not first been reported internally to the company in question.
In the month before the $17 million award, the SEC presented over $26 million total to five other whistleblowers. It’s possible that so many awards and successful cases could mean that many more whistleblower cases will be pursued by the SEC in the future.
Over the past five years, 32 whistleblowers have received over $85 million from the SEC. The largest whistleblower award ever given out was $30 million, and was announced in September, 2014. The third-largest payment was $14 million, and was announced in October, 2013.
You may be interested to know that the money paid to whistleblowers is taken from a special fund that was established by Congress; awards come at no cost to taxpayers or to any investors who may have been harmed. The fund’s financing is provided by monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by violators of securities law.
Working with whistleblowers nationally to shed light on fraudulent practices.
If you think you have the facts needed to bring a securities or financial services industry whistleblower case, the experienced whistleblower attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm can review your case and help you file the appropriate disclosure statement. Under some circumstances, the government will intervene, or join in your lawsuit.
Your chances of succeeding are greater if your whistleblower claim is substantive, clear, and to the point. Because of this, meeting with a qualified whistleblower attorney can increase your chances of winning. The Louthian Law Firm can help you form your claim so that the government will be more inclined to intervene in your case; government intervention can sometimes increase the chances of recovering reward money. Even if the government decides not to intervene, it could still be a good idea to pursue your case without government involvement. Our strong support system can assist you through every step of the process.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today at 1-803-454-1200 or, if you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form.