This year’s Securities and Exchange Commission’s Annual Report to Congress on the SEC Whistleblower Program describes some of the common characteristics shared by past SEC whistleblower award winners.
For those who are unfamiliar with the SEC’s Annual Report, by law each year the SEC is required to provide a report to the U.S. Congress about its whistleblower program. The Annual Report typically contains a lot of facts and statistics about the SEC whistleblower program. It is a valuable resource for SEC whistleblowers and the SEC whistleblower attorneys who represent them. [For my posts about prior years’ Annual Reports, see here and here.]
This year’s Annual Report was released publicly during November 2019, and covers the period from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.
Included in this year’s Report are some insightful details about things that past SEC whistleblower award winners had in common.
Recent Large SEC Whistleblower Award Winners Are Examples Of The Program’s Success
This year’s Report starts off with a description of several recent large SEC whistleblower award winners, including a $37 million SEC whistleblower award that was given out during 2019.
The opening Message from the Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) explains that “these larger awards reflect the significance of the information that whistleblowers are providing to the Commission and are testaments to the whistleblower program’s success”. (Report, p. 1.)
According to the Report, in 2019 the monetary sanctions collected in cases brought with information provided by SEC whistleblowers surpassed the $2 billion mark.
The Chief of the OWB called this “a momentous milestone”. (Report, p. 1.)
To date, the Commission has granted approximately $387 million in SEC whistleblower rewards to 67 people. (Report, p. 17.)
In a public statement about this year’s Report, the Chairman of the SEC said that the SEC whistleblower program “has proven to be an invaluable component of our enforcement efforts”.
Some Similar Characteristics Of SEC Whistleblower Award Winners
According to the Report, many of the past SEC whistleblower award winners had certain things in common:
1) One common characteristic shared by SEC whistleblower award winners is that the information that they submitted to the SEC in their tips or complaints was specific. “For example, the whistleblowers identified particular individuals involved in the misconduct, or provided specific documents that substantiated their allegations or explained where such documents could be located.” (Report, p. 17.)
2) “Some” SEC whistleblower award winners also “identified specific financial transactions that evidenced fraud, or provided detailed assessment of the wrongdoing”. (Report, p. 17.)
[Note: compare #1 and #2 above to a recent case in which the SEC denied a whistleblower award to someone who it said was “disjointed” and “difficult to follow”. I wrote about that case here.]
3) “Often” SEC whistleblower award winners told the SEC about misconduct that was “relatively current or ongoing”. (Report, p. 17.)
4) “Nearly all” of the SEC whistleblower award winners provided the SEC “with additional assistance and/or information (e.g., answered staff questions or provided testimony) after they submitted their initial tips.” (Report, p. 17.)
Some Other Statistics About SEC Whistleblower Award Winners
The Report also contains some additional interesting information about past SEC whistleblower award winners (Report, p. 18):
- Approximately 69% of SEC whistleblower award winners were current or former employees or insiders of the companies they reported about.
- In SEC whistleblower cases where awards were given out, approximately 33% of the defendants were registered with the SEC. Those included cases brought against investment advisers, broker-dealers, or other registered market participants.
- Eight cases where awards were granted involved two or more whistleblowers who submitted their information to the SEC jointly.
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As an SEC whistleblower law firm, The Pickholz Law Offices has represented employees, officers, and others in SEC whistleblower cases involving financial institutions and public companies listed in the Fortune Top 10, Top 20, Top 50, Top 100, Top 500, and the Forbes Global 2000. We were the first law firm ever to win an SEC whistleblower award for a client on appeal to the full Commission in Washington, an achievement that Inside Counsel magazine named one of the five key events of the SEC whistleblower program.
For more information about The Pickholz Law Offices, you can click on any of the links in the margins of this page.
If you would like to speak with an SEC whistleblower attorney, please feel free to call Jason R. Pickholz at 347-746-1222.
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