Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Tips for Whistleblowers
What the SEC Looks For
The SEC needs your help in tracking down securities fraud. Whistleblowers bring useful information to the SEC that can lead to investigation and prosecution – and a possible reward for the whistleblower’s help. In January of this year alone, the SEC paid out over $12.5 million in whistleblower awards! Since the creation of the SEC whistleblower office in 2011, more than $142 million has been paid out in awards. Importantly, that reward money does not come out of recovery for defrauded investors; rewards are paid from a Congressionally authorized fund that encourages citizen support of SEC enforcement through whistleblowing.
Let’s say you’re aware of suspicious securities activity. What should you do? Come forward with it. Seek out the help of a professional to guide you through the process. Your counselor (and the SEC) will tell you that the best thing you can do is provide specific, timely, and credible information, not just a general “hunch” about your next door neighbor (just by way of example!) who you “think” is committing securities fraud. That does not give SEC investigators much to go on – even if your suspicions are right – and you might never hear back from them let alone ever collect a reward for your efforts. As any SEC whistleblower specialist will tell you, investigators need specific examples, details, or transactions to examine. Any documentation you have access to is critical.
So, the more information and specifics and documentation that you can provide, the better. You never know what information may be the first – or final! – piece of the puzzle for a much broader investigation. Moreover, what may seem small or insignificant to you might be critical to an investigator. An SEC lawyer knows what to look for as she sifts through the evidence you present. She can also jog your memory with the right questions, trigger a thought you have disregarded, or flip the switch on a fact you’ve ignored. Bottom line is, you may very well be on to something but it needs to be specific and credible and organized if it’s to help the SEC – and end up in a reward for you. One last word of caution – the process takes time, often several years. But a good professional can keep it on track and the rewards can be big!
If you or a loved one has been a victim of securities fraud or has a question regarding Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower submissions, contact the Evans Law Firm securities attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex whistleblower cases, complicated financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, other types of qui tam and whistleblower cases, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.