SEC Whistleblower Lawyer
Tracking down and eliminating securities violations and fraud is the never-ending job of the Securities and Exchange Commission. One tool the SEC uses is the SEC Whistleblower Program.
The SEC Whistleblower Program was created by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. The law provides monetary incentives for people to report fraud and securities violations in the financial industry.
Whistleblowers Have Significant Cash Incentive
The SEC Whistleblower Program offers a significant cash incentive. Successful whistleblowers can receive 10 percent to 30 percent of the funds that law enforcement and the SEC recover from fraudsters. The only requirement for the recovery of funds is that the information provided by the whistleblower is original information and instrumental in discovering the violations of the law.
The whistleblower must provide high-quality original information that leads to an SEC enforcement action in which over $1,000,000 or more in sanctions are ordered and recovered.
Since the program’s beginning in 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded more than $1 billion to whistleblowers based on enforcement actions worth $4.8 billion.
So far in the United States, there have been 26,076 whistleblower tips submitted to the SEC Whistleblower Program. There have also been tips submitted by individuals from 114 foreign countries around the globe.
These whistleblower awards are a huge help in shining a light on — and stopping violations of — federal securities laws.
Settlement won for government fraud in a whistleblower case against one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers
Settlement in a nationwide defective medical device case involving defective pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators against Boston Scientific and Guidant
John R. Parker recently handled a case against the medical device company, Biotronik, Inc. for claims that they defrauded state and federal government agencies.
Brooks Cutter and John Parker obtained the settlement on behalf of our whistleblower clients in a case involving government fraud.
Does an SEC whistleblower have to hire a law firm?
Although hiring a law firm to help is not necessary, it is a smart idea to have a whistleblower attorney on your side, walking you through the process. SEC enforcement actions can be very complex. Having representation from an SEC whistleblower lawyer who understands the SEC Whistleblower Program will go a long way in helping the enforcement action.
The attorneys at Cutter Law P.C. have strong relationships with the leadership of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower and Division of Enforcement. Here are just a few things that we can do for our whistleblower clients:
- Work with our clients to help them best understand the evidence of securities fraud and violations of federal securities law that they possess
- Help our clients communicate the evidence to the SEC Whistleblower Program and work with them to submit a tip to get the process started
- Explain to our clients the details of how the program works and the status of the whistleblower claim at every stage of the process
- Act as client’s representative with the SEC’s enforcement office and field all communications
- Work with the Securities and Exchange Commission on gathering all necessary evidence to prove the securities fraud and violations of federal securities law
- Allow the witness to submit information anonymously to the SEC
If the witness wishes to remain anonymous, the program rules require that the witness obtain a whistleblower attorney to help them through the process. We can help with that.
Retaining an experienced whistleblower attorney through the process to answer all your questions goes a long way since the typical SEC enforcement action can last from two to four years.
Who can be a whistleblower?
As outlined in the Dodd-Frank whistleblower law, just about anyone can act as a whistleblower if they have original information about securities fraud and violations of federal securities law. Congress wanted to provide incentives by giving out significant SEC whistleblower awards.
You do not have to be a United States citizen. The tip can be from a foreign country. The whistleblower does not even have to be employed by the target entity. One restriction, however, is that the whistleblower cannot be a company or organization and must be an individual or even a group of individuals.
Examples of Securities Violations
A person can submit information to the whistleblower program if they have original information regarding past violations, currently ongoing violations, or securities violations planned for in the future. Here are some examples of securities violations that could potentially justify a whistleblower award and monetary sanctions:
- Insider trading
- Ponzi schemes
- Qui Tam lawsuits
- Money laundering
- Manipulative and deceptive practices associated with the purchase or sale of a security
- Fraud and manipulation associated with other nontraditional investments
- Corporate failures to disclose
- Market manipulation
- Stealing customers’ funds or securities
- Violating broker-dealers’ responsibility to treat customers fairly
- Selling unregistered securities
- High-yield investment fraud
- Pyramid schemes
- Advance-fee schemes
- Foreign currency fraud
- Late-day trading
- Improper payments to foreign officials
- Initial coin offerings and other cryptocurrency violations
- Violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
As a whistleblower witness, you may only have evidence or original information on a small sliver of financial fraud and the scheme being used. When you hire an SEC whistleblower lawyer, though, we may be able to help you understand more about the case and provide more information, evidence, and data to the enforcement division of the program.
Frequently, employees who report whistleblower cases can face retaliation for reporting securities fraud or other illegal schemes, especially if the SEC violations were committed by their employer or someone high up in the employer’s management team.
This intersection is where representation by an SEC whistleblower attorney will protect against any type of employment retaliation.
Repercussions for a whistleblower can include the following:
- Being fired
- Being downgraded to a lower-paying job
- Denial of promotions
- Reduced salary
- Unjustified write-ups
- Refusal of fringe benefits compared to other similar employees
- Support for other employees who produce a hostile work environment
However, obtaining SEC whistleblower attorney representation can stop these retaliatory actions in their tracks. Both the federal government and the state of California have passed laws designed to protect whistleblowers.
Federal and State Laws That Protect Whistleblowers
If you are afraid to come forward because you might be fired or harmed in some way, rest assured that there are strong federal and state laws to protect you.
The Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees and applicants for federal employment from retaliation if they make protected disclosures.
The Whistleblower Protection Act also lists penalties for supervisors who retaliate against whistleblowers. Even the employees of federal contractors, subcontractors, grantees, and subgrantees are protected from retaliation for making protected disclosures.
The California Whistleblower Protection Act authorizes the California state auditor to investigate whistleblower complaints and protects witnesses from negative employment actions. The penalties against employers are significant, including fines up to $10,000 and prison time.
Contact the Experienced SEC Whistleblower Attorneys at Cutter Law Today
If you need legal advice about your knowledge of potential fraud, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experience with the SEC and its Whistleblower Program gives us valuable insights that benefit our clients.
The attorneys at Cutter Law have extensive experience in this area of law. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to handle tough, complex cases. Don’t just take our word for it—ask us about our track record and the successful whistleblower cases our law firm has handled.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation about your case. Set your mind at ease; the attorney-client relationship requires any information exchanged to remain confidential, so your anonymity is assured.
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Cutter Law P.C.
1999 Harrison Street Suite 1400
Oakland, CA 94612