A whistleblower is an individual that discloses illegal activity within a certain company. Whistleblowers are usually employees of private, public, or government organizations with information about illegal activities in the organization. A whistleblower has the option of revealing this information internally to a senior executive or an external regulatory body.
The U.S Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a department fully dedicated to receiving information from whistleblowers known as the SEC Office of the Whistleblower.
When you decide to reveal information to the SEC, the company under investigation might decide to sue you; you can hire attorneys for whistleblowers to defend you in court. SEC encourages whistleblowing by giving awards for money recovered and protections against being sued.
Here is how to become a SEC whistleblower:
Uncover Something Illegal
You need to have compelling information about illegal activity in a company. The most important part of whistleblowing is ensuring that the information you have can easily prove federal securities law violation. The SEC Whistleblower’s department receives numerous tips on federal securities law violations and tends to pursue the most reliable ones.
The information should not be speculative or just office gossip. Most companies reported by whistleblowers always retaliate by filing lawsuits against the whistleblowers. If the information you have is speculative and cannot be substantiated, you might have difficulty defending yourself in court.
Submitting the Complaint
Once you obtain all the information about the illegal activity, you can submit the complaint to the SEC as quickly as possible. Do not wait for a long time before submitting the information; the crime could be taking place, and investors might lose their money. The whistleblower office can reduce the amount of the award if you delay providing the necessary information.
Familiarize Yourself with Whistleblowing Rules
You should make the effort of knowing all the rules about whistleblowing to the U.S Security and Exchange Commission. The amount of award you shall receive may vary depending on how you act. For example, if you are found guilty of taking part in violating the federal securities law, your award could be reduced significantly. You can speak to an SEC whistleblower attorney and ask questions about SEC whistleblowing.
Give Clear and Concise Information
The SEC Office of the Whistleblower receives numerous tips, and they have to be concrete on tips that lead to a conviction. If your tip is not clear and concise, the whistleblower office might not get the information you are trying to convey to them. A SEC whistleblower attorney with experience in the field can help you draft a tip that grabs the whistleblowing office’s attention. Give the whistleblower office a clear roadmap on the violation of federal securities law, do not just send them piles of documents and expect them to get the correct information.
Eligibility to Claim an Award
Not all whistleblowers get an award; the whistleblower’s office will determine if they are eligible. Some of the requirements of eligibility include information that proves that a company’s actions will cause financial loss to the investors, signs that the executives’ actions will impede investigations, or if the matter was reported to a superior in the company, but no action was taken among others.
If you are not certain about eligibility to claim an award, visit an SEC whistleblower attorney for advice. The award that is given by the whistleblower’s office to a whistleblower ranges from 10% to 30% of the money collected from monetary sanctions.
Reach Out to an SEC Whistleblower Attorney
Whistleblowing is a difficult task and requires great preparation to secure a conviction. You can contact an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney to evaluate your tip. If they believe that your tip has merit, they will help you arrange the documents and defend you from retaliation.