The Dodd-Frank Act that was established in 2010 was structured to bring financial reforms in the U.S by providing protection and financial incentives for anyone who brought information to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) regarding federal securities laws infringements. If you witness certain violations at your workplace such as irregularities in earnings reports, accounting fraud, or material compensation for contracts, you can choose to become a whistleblower and report such actions to the SEC. However, the SEC laws on whistleblowing can be hard to fathom for someone without legal expertise, making the experience of a SEC whistleblower lawyer essential.
Eligibility for Award
One provision in the program is that a whistleblower can get a 10-30% reward of the monetary penalties resulting from a successful case from the information provided. However, it is not always the case that a whistleblower will receive an award even if a case is successful. Several rules in the program provide exclusions and exceptions that may disqualify you from monetary compensation. A core person in a company, for example, is not eligible for an award. The same goes for internal auditors or other individuals who discover information while a company is in the process of identifying violations. For this reason, the expertise of an attorney will be helpful in understanding your position and the chances of getting an award.
Before violations get to the SEC, they must first be reported internally unless there is a good reason not to like when the top management is involved in the infringements. It is common for whistleblowers to receive retaliation at their workplace, and that is why the counsel of a good lawyer is vital. In some instances, a whistleblower may be part of the violations either through action or inaction. If this is your predicament, the advice of a SEC whistleblower attorney will be necessary before you even approach the agency. A lawyer can help you avoid prosecution due to your involvement in the case.
A securities enforcement lawyer is also good to have around when making a submission to the agency. The rules stipulate that a whistleblower should report violations to the SEC within 120 days of making it known internally. A lawyer can aid in putting together the submission and the accompanying documents (if you have them), to make a stronger case. When and how you make a submission to the agency will determine if the information provided is “original,” which will impact the size and chances of a reward.