The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) has released the results of a recent study that investigated the effect that DOJ and SEC whistleblowers had on financial misrepresentation actions over a 35-year period, from 1978-2012.*

Notably, the Study found that the assistance of DOJ or SEC whistleblowers results in significantly higher penalties:  “In total, we estimate whistleblowers enabled regulators to successfully obtain additional judgments of $20.75 to $21.27 billion more than would have been obtained without their assistance.”  (Study, pages 4, 40.)

The Study also found that the involvement of DOJ and SEC whistleblowers “is associated with larger monetary penalties” against both companies and individuals.  According to their results, DOJ and SEC whistleblowers increased the average penalties against companies by 171%, and against individuals by 215%.  (Study, page 26.)

Furthermore, the Study found that when DOJ or SEC whistleblower complaints were filed, the likelihood that those agencies would bring enforcement actions was almost five times greater (4.78 times greater) than when there were no whistleblower complaints.  (Study, page 30.)

The authors of the Study believe that their findings suggest that DOJ and SEC whistleblowers “are a valuable source of information for regulators in the investigation and prosecution of firms and their managers.”  (Study, pages 5, 40.)

For anyone who is considering whether to report a fraud to the SEC through the SEC whistleblower award program, the results of the Study are significant.

First, the results suggest that if someone does become an SEC whistleblower, there is a greater chance that the SEC will bring an enforcement action against the wrongdoers and bring a halt to the fraud.  This might save more innocent victims from being hurt by the fraud, stop those who have already been victimized from being hurt even more, and in some cases might even prevent anyone from being harmed at all.

Second, the results indicate that the SEC has a better chance to collect more in disgorgement and penalties from the wrongdoers when it has help from an SEC whistleblower.  This may be meaningful to a potential SEC whistleblower, because under the SEC whistleblower reward program, if the SEC brings a successful enforcement action based on the information that a whistleblower provided, and if the SEC collects more than $1 million, the SEC must give the whistleblower(s) an SEC whistleblower award of 10% – 30% of the amount that the SEC collects, assuming all other requirements are met.

For more information about the SEC whistleblower award program, please click here.

If you would like to speak with an SEC whistleblower lawyer, you can contact Jason Pickholz at The Pickholz Law Offices LLC by calling 347-746-1222.

Note:  The on-line report explaining the Study was updated in 2017.  For a discussion of the updated version, please see my August 23, 2017 post by clicking here.


*Call, Andrew C. and Martin, Gerald S. and Sharp, Nathan Y. and Wilde, Jaron H., “The Impact of Whistleblowers on Financial Misrepresentation Enforcement Actions” (October 6, 2014).  Available at Social Science Research Network (SSRN):

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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 reward for a client on appeal to the full Commission in Washington, an achievement that Inside Counsel magazine named one of the five milestones 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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