In 2010, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This provided for the creation of Whistleblower Reward Programs through both the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).
The SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs provide monetary incentives for anyone with original information on violations of the Federal Securities Laws or the Commodity Exchange Act that result in penalties of $1 million or more.
Original information is information derived from independent knowledge that is not publicly available. Information may be publicly available if it contains independent analysis and is not already known by the SEC or CFTC.
SEC and CFTC whistleblowers are eligible to receive a reward if they provide pertinent, original, and previously unknown information on fraudulent and illegal activity that results in a civil settlement in favor of a government agency. An additional 10-30 percent reward will be available to those who provide information that leads to a settlement in excess of $1 million. Determination of the exact reward percentage is based on the significance of the information provided, how cooperative the whistleblower and attorney were with the federal agents, and other considerations made by the SEC regarding each specific case.
SEC whistleblowers can be very helpful to enforcement agents. The Commission is most interested in investigating information on violations of The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), accounting fraud in large corporations, broker, high frequency trader, and investment manager misconduct, and hedge fund violations. Financial rewards can be large in settlements exceeding $1 million. To date, the largest SEC whistleblower award since the program’s implementation has been over $30 million.
CFTC whistleblower rewards are given to people who have shared confidential and high quality information on such illegal activity as benchmark rate manipulation, fraudulent schemes against customers or people participating in pools, and illegal transaction proposals. Information pertaining to market manipulation and trade practice violations are also valuable to securities enforcement agents. To date, the highest award value in a CFTC case was in excess of $10 million.
Other types of valuable whistleblower information include bribery of foreign officials, violations in securities rate and price administration, money laundering, inappropriate accounting systems, insider trading, Ponzi schemes, front-running, and inaccurate valuation of currencies and commodities.
The SEC and CFTC make confidentiality of whistleblower identity and information a top priority. The whistleblower program provides additional protection on information that could reveal the informant’s identity. The SEC will not disclose whistleblower information to third parties without direct written consent. Although you can submit on your own, this is not recommended because, among other things, you must be represented by an attorney to submit your information anonymously.
The Philadelphia whistleblower lawyers at Axler Goldich are committed to helping eligible whistleblowers claim the maximum awards possible for information they supply. If you or someone you know is considering a whistleblower action, it is imperative to enlist the help of experienced and knowledgeable lawyers.
Call us at 866-207-2920, or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia and proudly serve clients throughout the United States.