Securities and Exchange Commission Pays Record Whistleblower Awards
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has awarded a record $ 83 million to three whistleblowers tied to a 2016 settlement with Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch brokerage unit. An attorney representing the whistleblowers said their clients tipped off the SEC to misuse of client funds by the brokerage firm. The brokerage admitted in the $415 million settlement to wrongdoing in misusing customer cash by holding up to $ 58 billion a day in a clearing account when the money should have been held in reserve. The SEC also said the brokerage firm engaged in complex options trades to artificially reduce the amount of reserve cash it must hold for customers.
“We hope that these awards encourage others with specific, high-quality information regarding securities laws violations to step forward and report it to the SEC,” said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, in a statement issued March 19.
The California and San Francisco securities and whistleblower attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent whistleblowers in SEC cases. Our whistleblower attorneys know how best to organize your specific information and documentation in your whistleblower application and can guide your application from initial submission through investigation and discovery to trial or settlement. If you have credible, specific information of securities fraud in California call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help.
The SEC has recovered nearly $1 billion in financial penalties from wrongdoers since it established a whistleblower program. The awards to whistleblowers have been big too. Since the agency issued its first award in 2012 through September 2017, the program awarded roughly $262 million in whistleblower awards. Whistleblower tips have been increasing sharply as well: the SEC received 4000 tips in fiscal year 2017 up 50% from the previous year.
The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) handles all tips and formal applications. If a whistleblower chooses to submit an anonymous tip to the OWB, the whistleblower must be represented by counsel. The OWB will keep the identity of the whistleblower confidential and will not disclose the identity to third parties, except in limited circumstances authorized by a statute or other provision of law.
Protection Against Retaliation
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”) broadened prohibitions against employer retaliation aimed at whistleblowers. The SEC can take legal action against retaliating employers. Dodd-Frank also created a private right of action that gives whistleblowers the right to file a retaliation complaint against an employer in federal court. This means that if you are a whistleblower who has reported a possible securities law violation and believe you have been retaliated against because of your report, you may be able to sue your employer in federal court and seek double back pay (with interest), reinstatement, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and reimbursement for certain costs in connection with the litigation. The whistleblower attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. can represent you in any federal court action for retaliation as well as represent you in your underlying whistleblower application.
If you or someone you love has information regarding a whistleblower/qui tam case in San Francisco or elsewhere in California involving the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, False Claims Act cases, the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Office, or the FINRA Whistleblower Office or other illegal activity, contact the California whistleblower attorneys at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a FINRA Arbitration, jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.