SEC Whistleblower Blog

Will the SEC’s More Restrictive Policy for Subpoena Approval Create a Bottleneck for Whistleblower Claims?

April 18, 2017
On February 16, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced an important policy change that reduces the number of SEC enforcement officials who can issue subpoenas and authorize SEC investigations.  Under the new policy, only the Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division has the power to approve subpoena...

Proposed Legislation Could Weaken SEC Whistleblower Program

April 6, 2017
Under the SEC’s whistleblower program, established in 2011, a whistleblower who reports misconduct to the SEC can receive an award of between 10 percent and 30 percent of the money collected as a result of the SEC’s enforcement action. Whistleblowers who were themselves co-conspirators in the wrongdoing are eligible to receive...

Sixth Circuit Sidesteps Whether Whistleblowers Need to Tip Off Regulators to Receive Protections Under Dodd-Frank

March 20, 2017
The Sixth Circuit recently had an opportunity to weigh in on a question that has vexed federal courts for almost six years: whether the protections against retaliation provided in the Dodd-Frank Act extend to whistleblowers who did not report their concerns to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Unfortunately...

SEC Waives "In Writing" Requirement in Exceptional Case

February 14, 2017
On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made a highly unusual decision to award more than $5.5 million to a whistleblower who did not follow one of the cardinal rules that information must be provided in writing.  While the particular whistleblower in this case qualified for an award on the basis...

Morgan Stanley Settles SEC Customer Protection Rule Charges for $7.5 Million

January 23, 2017
In December 2016, the SEC announced a $7.5 million settlement with Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC. The SEC found that Morgan Stanley used transactions with an affiliate entity to reduce the amount of money it was required to set aside to safeguard its customers’ cash in violation of the Customer Protection Rule. The Customer...

SEC Penalizes Tech Company for Violating Rule 21F-17

January 18, 2017
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced last month that it was assessing a $180,000 penalty against Virginia-based technology company NeuStar Inc. for requiring its employees to sign severance agreements that violated SEC rule Rule 21F-17, which “prohibits companies from taking any action to impede...

Anheuser-Busch InBev Pays SEC $6M to Settle FCPA Claims

December 14, 2016
In September 2016, the SEC announced a $6 million settlement with multinational brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). AB InBev was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and SEC whistleblower protection provisions. The SEC’s investigation concluded that AB InBev was using third-party sales...

SEC Reports Record $57M in Whistleblower Awards for FY 2016

December 5, 2016
In October 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its enforcement results for Financial Year 2016, which ended on Sept. 30, 2016. The SEC reported that it brought 868 enforcement actions in 2016, a steady increase from 2014 (755 actions) and 2015 (807 actions). The agency also distributed a record $57...

Can Cybersecurity Whistleblowers Receive Monetary Awards from the SEC?

November 29, 2016
The viability of a cybersecurity whistleblowing tip under the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program is no longer a question. In June 2016, the SEC announced a $1 million penalty levied against Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC for cybersecurity violations that, when coupled with a related criminal action, totaled $1.6 million. We may...

SEC Awards Whistleblower $20 Million

November 15, 2016
Earlier this week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it would award $20 million to an anonymous whistleblower who "promptly came forward with valuable information that enabled the SEC to move quickly and initiate an enforcement action against wrongdoers before they could squander the money." In 2016...

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