Posts Tagged With ‘SEC’

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission say they have received 50 percent more tips this year when compare to fiscal year 2012. That’s more than 4,400 tips from concerned whistleblowers hoping to gain protection and award money from the SEC. 62 percent of awarded whistleblowers were current or former industry insiders, using their unique perspective to alert authorities to corporate wrongdoing.

This number is seen as a raving success for the SEC. In previous eras, it was difficult to convince insiders to come forward with concerns because they feared retaliation. With protection from the SEC and tempting award money amounts, more and more people are coming forward with information.

The SEC estimates they will likely award future whistleblowers with more than $220 million in payments. They issued $50 million in awards last year alone. 

This amount of money makes waves in both private and public sectors. Managers have received the message not to silence tipsters. This creates a climate that allows for less fraud and greater accountability in virtually all industries. Of course, the financial sector is among the largest targets for the SEC.

Of course, some companies say that these awards discourage employees from bringing their concerns to human resource offices to deal with misbehavior internally. While this is indeed a problematic side effect of the issue, the larger impact is inherently positive for our society. We applaud the SEC for awarding brave whistleblowers. It is a sign of a productive, ethical society that employees no longer fear doing the right thing.

Have You Witnessed Illegal Practices?

If you have been brave enough to reveal unsafe, fraudulent, or deceitful practices within your company, you should not be punished.  If you are aware of unsafe, fraudulent, or deceitful practices within your company, but have not come forward, you need guidance.  In both instances, you deserve the protection that the law affords you. Do not stand by and be bullied into silence by your company.

An industry expert is now $700,000 richer after receiving the first ever whistleblower award given to a company outsider. An anonymous person known only as an industry expert received $700,000 for coming forward with information. The company in question was not identified. The help given to the Securities and Exchange Commission by this expert is making headlines. The groundbreaking award marks the first time a company outsider has been remunerated for information, as all previously rewarded whistleblowers went to those working at companies being investigated.

Whistleblower Reward Program

The expansion of this whistleblower reward program is a “game changer.” In the past, industry experts sometimes claimed to know about suspicious activity – like that of the Bernie Madoff case – but did not come forward because no such reward was offered to outsiders. The news of this reward program expansion highlights the possibility for anyone with information about unethical behavior to come forward and be rewarded. Industry experts can offer a unique perspective into complex and often confusing fields. Their knowledge is priceless when it comes to understanding potential abuse.

Speaking Up Against Unethical and Illegal Practices

Speaking up about unethical behavior is difficult no matter the context, but it’s especially hard when you’re employed at the company in question. Those who work outside the company face backlash as well, which is why the whistleblower in this case has been kept anonymous. The award money serves as as incentive for people to come forward with their insider knowledge, but also as a kind of insurance policy for the whistleblower. Whistleblower retaliation is illegal, and consequences can be enforced for anyone demoted, terminated, or treated unfairly for reporting illegal practices.

Since the program began in 2011, the SEC has awarded more than $55 million to nearly two dozen whistleblowers.

Whistleblower Protection Attorneys

Are you aware of illegal practices going on at your workplace, but are afraid of being retaliated against if you report them? Or maybe you have already reported illegal practices, and have been fired or demoted? If so, you may want to speak to an experienced whistleblower attorney.

There are federal laws in place that protect and reward whistleblowers that shed light on individuals or companies that are engaged in fraudulent activities. For more information visit our Whistleblower Protection page, or contact us to discuss your situation.