Former SEC Prosecutor
and Wall Street Defense Counsel
Since 2010, the SEC has maintained an Office of the Whistleblower in order to take statements from people with non-public or non-obvious information showing that someone is violating federal securities law. This program has a variety of requirements, but only one part of the office’s frequently asked questions, dealing with staying anonymous from the SEC itself, suggests that whistleblowers might need an SEC whistleblower attorney. If you aren’t worried about anonymity, why hire a lawyer?
In fact, it might be a very good idea to get an attorney—to maximize your financial award and minimize the danger to your career. In this post, we’ll go over the most important reasons to hire an SEC whistleblower attorney.Make a Claim The SEC Can’t Brush Away
The SEC whistleblower process starts when you make a report with information that could lead to a high-dollar enforcement action. The agency reviews that report and sends it to investigators if and only if it believes it shows evidence that a covered entity is violating the law. The SEC says it is most likely to follow up if your report is timely, detailed, and credible.
Getting help from an attorney can maximize your chance of starting an investigation—ensuring that this risk you’re taking is worthwhile. An experienced securities fraud attorney will be familiar with the laws the SEC enforces and can make sure that your report highlights the kind of wrongdoing the SEC investigates. They can also advise you about what information to include to make sure the SEC has enough information to launch an investigation, and to make it credible and specific enough.Protect Yourself
Whistleblowers are given anonymity under federal securities law for good reason. Revealing insider information about wrongdoing by your employer or colleagues could put your job, and perhaps your career, at risk. The SEC and the law that its whistleblower program is based on promise you as much anonymity as possible. However, whistleblowers aren’t usually involved in the details of the investigation or the court case that might result. That means there’s no one whose job is to protect your interests when the agency is being pressured to give up information.
Similarly, there are times when a whistleblower might come forward with information about wrongdoing that implicates them as well as the company. In either case, an SEC whistleblower attorney can help. Unlike the SEC personnel, your attorney’s job is to protect your interests in your dealings with the agency.Maximize Your Award
By law, whistleblowers whose information leads to a financial penalty of more than $1 million are entitled to 10% to 30% of the award. However, you must meet certain qualifications to get any award at all: You must provide original information—meaning it can’t be something the agency already knows—and you must provide it in the format required by the Dodd-Frank Act.
Even if you follow those requirements and the action is successful, the SEC determines the amount of the award according to how helpful you were and whether you were involved in wrongdoing. An SEC whistleblower attorney who understands securities law and agency investigations can help you make sure you provide the information they need, in the format they need, without compromising your identity or exposing you to avoidable charges.Maximize Your Chances With Silver Law Group
If you’re considering blowing the whistle on an unlawful practice within the securities industry, the Silver Law Group and the Law Firm of David R. Chase can help. Led by two career-long securities fraud lawyers, we represent victims of investment fraud of all kinds in litigation and arbitration. David Chase is a former SEC Enforcement Division attorney, so he understands how the SEC builds its cases and what whistleblowers can do to get their information noticed. Scott Silver wrote a definitive SEC whistleblower primer, which is available for free upon request. To set up a free, confidential initial meeting to talk about your claim and your options, send us a message online or call us today at 800.975.4345.