If you have discovered information about corporate fraud or another form of securities violation, you may have the opportunity to bring this information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Under the SEC Whistleblower Award Program, if information provided by one or more whistleblowers is helpful in winning an SEC case, the SEC must give the whistleblower(s) a financial reward of between 10% – 30% of the amount that the SEC collects from the wrongdoer(s), provided that all of the program’s requirements are met. There are a lot of SEC whistleblower requirements NYC employees and residents need to comply with to be eligible to receive an SEC whistleblower award.
One of the most important SEC whistleblower requirements NYC employees and residents need to know is that the information that you submit to the SEC must be “voluntary”. Most people think of “voluntary” as meaning that you do it of your own free will. But there is a part of the SEC whistleblower requirements NYC employees and residents may not be familiar with. If some other government agency (like the Department of Justice) or a self-regulatory organization (like FINRA or the NYSE) has sent you a subpoena related to whatever it is that you want to report to the SEC, the SEC may not consider your submission of information to it to have been “voluntary”. There are a lot of other nuances that the SEC might also look at in deciding whether a whistleblower’s submission is “voluntary”.
In addition, among the SEC whistleblower requirements NYC employees and residents should keep in mind is that you must submit “original information” to the SEC. Generally speaking, “original information” is information that the SEC does not already know about. Often “original information” comes from your independent knowledge or analysis, like something you discover at work that no one else has told the SEC about yet. However, under the SEC Rules, “original information” cannot usually be something that you learned from public sources, like something you read about in a newspaper or on the Internet, even if the SEC is not yet aware of it. In other words, if you simply copy a newspaper article and send it to the SEC, they probably will not consider that to be “original information”. There is an exception, though. If you apply your own “independent analysis” to something you read in a newspaper or on the Internet, and come up with information on your own that the SEC does not already know, that might be considered “original information”. An example might be where you pulled a lot of articles and reports off the Internet from many different sources going back years, and then used your own statistical analysis to prove that something improper was going on based on the results of your own work. As with the “voluntary” requirement, there are a lot of nuances that the SEC might look at in deciding whether a whistleblower’s submission contains “original information”.
Another one of the SEC whistleblower requirements NYC employees and residents may not be aware of is that you must have an attorney to submit information to the SEC anonymously. “Confidentiality” and “anonymity” have different meanings under the SEC whistleblower award program. If you submit your information to the SEC in accordance with the SEC whistleblower award program, the SEC will consider your submission to be “confidential”. This means that the SEC knows who you are, but during its investigation it is required to keep your identity confidential and not tell anyone else that you are the whistleblower. There are certain exceptions, like when the SEC needs to let another government agency know about the fraud or crime so that the other government agency can also do an investigation. “Anonymity” means that when you submit your information, you do not even tell the SEC who you are. Under the SEC’s Rules, in order to make your whistleblower submission anonymously, you are required to be represented by a lawyer. By now you may have guessed that, as with the “voluntary” and “original information” requirements, there are a lot of additional nuances regarding “confidential” and “anonymous” SEC whistleblower submissions.
There are a lot of rules for the SEC Whistleblower Award Program. Those rules can be complicated or confusing. If you are thinking about providing information to the SEC pursuant to its whistleblower program, you might want to talk with a lawyer about the SEC whistleblower requirements NYC employees and residents should keep in mind.
Jason R. Pickholz, the founder of The Pickholz Law Offices, was one of the first attorneys in the country ever to win an SEC whistleblower award for a client. He was also the first whistleblower lawyer ever to convince the SEC to grant someone an SEC whistleblower award over an initial decision by its staff to deny an award. This groundbreaking result was named as one of the “Five milestones in the Dodd-Frank whistleblower reward program“ by Inside Counsel Magazine. Mr. Pickholz is a co-author of the two-volume book Securities Crimes, is the sole author of the book’s 74+ page chapter on the SEC Whistleblower Award Program, has taught continuing legal education courses for lawyers on the SEC’s program, and was invited to lecture at a leading liberal arts university on SEC whistleblowers. In recognition of Mr. Pickholz’s achievements, he was elected to be a Fellow of The New York Bar Foundation, an honor limited to just 1% of New York State attorneys.
If you would like more information about the SEC whistleblower award program, The Pickholz Law Offices, or Mr. Pickholz, please click on the links on the top and right of this page.
If you are considering becoming an SEC whistleblower and would like to speak with Mr. Pickholz, please call 347-746-1222. Your initial conversation of up to one hour with Mr. Pickholz is free, and places you under no obligation to hire The Pickholz Law Offices after your initial consultation is concluded.
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