In yesterday’s post, we introduced and began reviewing the recent report submitted to Congress by the SEC. It provides helpful details and insight into the whistleblower program advanced by the Dodd Frank Act as well as an analysis of fiscal year 2013 and the highlights therein, including a record-breaking $14 million whistleblower award unprecedented in SEC history. In today’s post, we will break down the duties and responsibilities of the Office of Whistleblower (OWB) as put forth in the SEC’s report, which will help shed light on how the SEC’s OWB works to protect investors and taxpayers as a whole. As always, if you are aware of possible investor fraud, a whistleblower attorney can help you work with the OWB to advance your claim, which can be made anonymously.
In 2008, the Dodd Frank Act was enacted in response to the economic downturn of 2008. Certain provisions were intended to amend or supplant the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, including the introduction of whistleblower protection awards. Under Section 924(d) of the Act, the SEC’s Commission was tasked with creating and maintaining a separate office to administer, oversee, and enforce the whistleblower provisions. The office is run by Chief Sean X. McKessy and Deputy Chief Jane A. Norberg. The office is also staffed by nine attorneys and three paralegals.
Activities of the OWB
The OWB is an extremely new office and FY 2013 is the first full year of its operation. During this year, the office engaged in the following activities, including:
Handling over 2,800 phone calls from members of the public, communicating with whistleblowers and their counsel and consulted enforcement liaisons who provided guidance to potential plaintiffs;
Engaging in careful documentation and tracking of all enforcement cases, including regular public posting of monetary sanctions over $1 million;
Determining whether a whistleblower’s information meets the statutory standards of “original” information as well as preparing a written recommendation as to whether the Commission should issue an award;
Maintaining regular communication with the public about the purpose and responsibilities of the OWB, including user-friendly advice about how to properly advance a claim;
Evaluating whistleblower complaints containing allegations of retaliation by employers for reporting violations;
Properly training staff on the critical confidentiality requirements inherent in the whistleblower program, including instruction on the handling of privileged information;
Coordinating with other government entities who may have interest in the investigation or outcome of the case.
Investor Fraud Claims Handled by Professionals
If you are considering a whistleblower action based on investor fraud, you may be wary of reporting your information to the government. However, the OWB was carefully set up in response to the billions of dollars lost in 2008 by unscrupulous, amoral Wall Street leaders and is designed to protect investors from similar future losses at the hands of fraud of misconduct. As you consider your claim, we encourage you to meet with a whistleblower attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. In tomorrow’s post, we will explore the types of whistleblower tips received by the OWB in FY 2013, which may put you more at ease as you prepare to report.