Whistleblowing in Finance

Whistleblowing in Finance

The financial markets and securities industry can be quite complex, even for those who work within them. Sadly, many individuals working in finance take advantage of this and strive to further their own financial goals, without regard for the law or those who are impacted by their misconduct. But there are steps to take against fraudsters and those who manipulate the system. 

Would-be whistleblowers like you could make a significant difference in helping the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) bring the defrauders to justice. In doing so, you could be awarded for your efforts. Continue reading to learn more about what happens in the financial industries and why whistleblowers are critical to the SEC’s whistleblower program

How Does the Securities Industry Work?

Financial markets and the securities industry is a world all itself where traders, stockbrokers, brokerage firms, investors, and other parties work to trade, buy, and sell financial instruments, derivatives, stocks, bonds, and other securities. 

There is a lot of money involved in the stock markets and financial sector, and it’s not uncommon for those entrusted with investor funds to take advantage of their position and defraud their clients or the company they work for. In some cases, these corporations even order their staff to engage in securities violations and fraud to further their own financial gains. 

Many fraudulent parties can commit these schemes undetected for many years before being discovered, often costing their clients and companies exorbitant amounts of money.

But if you have information regarding any of these schemes, whether it be a Ponzi or pyramid schemes, insider trading, misrepresentation, broker misconduct, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, and others, you may be able to secure a substantial whistleblower award. 

Why Whistleblowers Are Essential

The SEC Whistleblower Program was formed in order to handle whistleblower complaints and allegations of securities violations. Without whistleblowers, many of these schemes, fraud, and misconduct would continue to go unnoticed, and innocent people would continue losing their investments. 

But with the help of whistleblowers who have the courage to come forward, corrupt parties can be held accountable for their actions. In order to be awarded compensation for your efforts, there are several requirements that must be met. These include:

  • Coming forward voluntarily
  • Providing valuable, original information
  • The SEC able to take enforcement action
  • The SEC recovering more than $1 million

If you have met the criteria needed to win a whistleblower award, you could be rewarded as much as 30 percent of what the SEC recovered when imposing sanctions. 

Get Help From an SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

If you have information regarding securities violations in the financial sector and are unsure of where to turn for help, contact a regarded SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates to discuss your concerns. 

Schedule your confidential tip evaluation when you call our office at 1-866-764-3100 or complete the secured contact form included below so we can get started on your case. 

Whistleblowing and Retaliation

Whistleblowing and Retaliation

Becoming a whistleblower is a difficult decision. Not only are would-be whistleblowers putting their jobs on the line, but in some cases, being a whistleblower can be dangerous. When individuals or corporations engaging in fraud learn of a whistleblower’s identity, they could retaliate against them in many different ways. 

Thankfully, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provides opportunities for protection for whistleblowers like you. Continue reading to learn more about the risks for whistleblowers and how the SEC can help protect your identity. 

The Risks of Blowing the Whistle

There are many personal and professional risks associated with whistleblowing. This is, in large part, because of retaliatory action on the part of the whistleblower’s supervisor, colleagues, or employer. Some examples of the types of retaliation you could be subjected to as a whistleblower include:

  • Defamation
  • Harassment
  • Subjection to a hostile work environment
  • Intimidation
  • Reputational damage
  • Demotion
  • Termination
  • Salary reduction

Although it’s against the law to retaliate against a whistleblower, it continues to be a serious issue that prevents many would-be whistleblowers from coming forward to the SEC. However, there are several ways you can protect yourself while still reporting your tip. 

Protections Against Retaliation for Whistleblowers

Not only is it against the law for people to retaliate against whistleblowers, but the SEC also has the ability to take action against them as well. Your SEC whistleblower lawyer will help you file a claim against the liable party for every loss resulting from any retaliatory actions taken against you. Some of these losses might include:

  • Reputational damage
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Costs of mental health counseling

If your claim is successful, you could be awarded compensation for every loss, be reinstated to your position prior to the retaliation, and even be awarded double back-pay. The SEC may also decide to take action against the individuals who retaliate against you by imposing additional sanctions on top of the ones they’ll already be facing for securities violations.

The SEC allows whistleblowers to remain anonymous as long as they have legal representation. This can go a long way in terms of protecting your identity from becoming known, which could prevent you from suffering any type of retaliation.

Although blowing the whistle does come with its risks, there are protections in place that can help reduce the risk and ensure you get justice if retaliation does occur.

Get in Touch with an SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

Without courageous whistleblowers like you, fraudsters could continue defrauding innocent people indefinitely. There may be a considerable risk, but you could also win an SEC whistleblower award for your efforts in coming forward. 

When you have information regarding securities violations and want to do everything you can to protect your identity, contact a respected SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. Use the convenient form below or call 1-866-764-3100 to schedule your confidential tip evaluation. 

Is It Good to Be a Whistleblower?

Is It Good to Be a Whistleblower?

Many people who discover fraud are hesitant to come forward for a number of different reasons. Maybe they have a close relationship to the fraudster, are employed by a company committing fraud, or are unsure of what they’ve uncovered and don’t want to “jump the gun.” 

Many whistleblowers wonder whether they are doing the right thing by coming forward. If you have experienced similar thoughts, you are not alone. But the importance of whistleblowers is monumental, and without them, more people would suffer. 

Continue reading to learn more about why becoming a whistleblower is good and how you can protect yourself as you move through the whistleblowing process.

Benefits of Blowing the Whistle

Finding out that someone you may know has been engaging in securities fraud, you may be unsure of how to proceed with the information you have. Do you report it? Do you “mind your own business”? Whom do you call for help?

Reporting fraud and misconduct is the right thing to do, despite the fact that there are risks associated with whistleblowing. The individuals who are victims of fraud deserve justice, and the fraudsters should be held accountable for their actions. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is responsible for handling stockbroker fraud and cases of misconduct within the securities industry. The SEC Office of the Whistleblower is where you would report your tip if you made the decision to become a whistleblower. 

Not only are you doing what is morally and ethically right by reporting your tip to the SEC, but because of your efforts in coming forward, the SEC may be able to award you. Eligible whistleblowers could be entitled to a whistleblower award of up to 30 percent of the sanction recovered by the SEC. 

Risks of Becoming a Whistleblower

When you decide to become a whistleblower, you’re taking a significant personal, professional, and financial risk. In many cases, whistleblowers are working with a company, supervisor, or colleague that may be engaging in fraud. 

This means their employment status and professional reputation is on the line if they choose to become whistleblowers. Although retaliation is illegal and punishable through both the SEC and civil court, it is still quite common for whistleblowers to face retaliation. 

Thankfully, when you work with an SEC whistleblower lawyer to report your tip, you can do so anonymously. The SEC requires you to have legal representation if you want to protect your identity, so it can communicate with you when necessary. Your identity will become known to the SEC only if you are entitled to a whistleblower award.

Contact an SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

When you are ready to step up and bring your information to the SEC, call a respected SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. Schedule your confidential tip review by phone at 1-866-764-3100 or through the quick contact form included at the bottom of this page.

How to Be a Whistleblower and Keep Your Job

How to Be a Whistleblower and Keep Your Job

Whistleblowers have become essential, particularly in the securities and financial industries, as these markets are often flooded with different types of fraud and schemes. Whistleblowers who become aware of these types of fraud can report their tips to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and potentially win a substantial whistleblower award as long as certain criteria are met. 

However, many would-be whistleblowers have no choice but to refrain from reporting due to the very real fear that they will be terminated. If this sounds like what you’re going through, you aren’t alone. The good news is that there are ways that you can become a whistleblower and still keep your job. 

Read on to learn more about why obtaining legal representation is critical and how you can report your tip while protecting your identity and your job security. 

Obtain Legal Representation Before Reporting Internally

Every corporation is required to have an internal compliance program, as described in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). This means that employees will have the opportunity to report information regarding securities fraud and other violations anonymously and even through a hotline. 

However, it may not be difficult for your employer to figure out who reported a specific tip, and if they do discover it was you, you may be subjected to retaliatory action, such as termination, demotion, harassment, destruction of your professional reputation, and other types of retaliation. 

For this reason, it is important that you retain an SEC whistleblower lawyer before you move forward with reporting your tip both internally and to the SEC.

Protect Your Identity

The SEC allows would-be whistleblowers to remain anonymous in their reporting. However, in order to do so, the whistleblower must have a whistleblower lawyer who can act as the point person between the SEC and the whistleblower. 

That way, the SEC can still communicate, albeit indirectly, with the whistleblower whenever they need to. The best way to keep your job when acting as a whistleblower is to do everything you can to protect your identity from becoming known. Although it is against the law for companies to retaliate against whistleblowers, that doesn’t stop it from happening. 

If your identity becomes known and your employer retaliates against you, your lawyer will be able to take legal action against them. Some of the different penalties they could face include hefty fines imposed by the SEC. They could be ordered to reinstate you in your former position, be ordered to repay you double back pay, and even face additional restitution for any other damages you may have suffered. 

Your lawyer will do everything possible to ensure that your identity remains unknown so you can keep your job and go about your life as normally as possible, all while acting as a whistleblower. 

Meet with a Reputable SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

If you have information about securities violations or fraud in the financial markets and you are worried about losing your job if you come forward, contact a respected SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. You can give our office a call at 1-866-764-3100 or complete our quick and confidential contact form to schedule your confidential tip evaluation. 

Disclosures During COVID-19

When the novel coronavirus pandemic took over the world, there wasn’t a person or company whose life was not impacted by COVID-19. The financial markets in particular were significantly influenced, the stock market reeled, and businesses were effectively shut down in many cases. 

Once it became apparent that the coronavirus was likely to be an ongoing problem in the world and the U.S., companies needed to figure out how they were going to continue to operate. With that in mind, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a set of guidelines in late June called the CF (Corporate Finance/CorpFin) Disclosure Guidance Topic No. 9A. 

These guidelines provide additional responsibilities that corporations will need to adhere to when disclosing information to potential investors in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading to learn more about what these guidelines entail and what kinds of consequences corporations can expect to face if these guidelines are violated.

Guidelines for Company Disclosure During the Coronavirus Pandemic

CorpFin generally encourages corporations to provide material disclosures to investors as they evaluate the current and future expected impact of COVID-19. However, these new guidelines suggest that corporations issue disclosures as if they were looking at the expected impact through the eyes of upper management. 

This includes analyzing the risks and effects and continuing to issue new disclosures as their circumstances may change over time. 

Specifically, CorpFin encourages companies to provide “robust and transparent disclosures about how they are dealing with short- and long-term liquidity and funding risks in the current economic environment, particularly to the extent efforts present new risks or uncertainties to their businesses.” 

Considerations CorpFin would like corporations to take into account include:

  • Liquidity
  • Creditworthiness/risk of default
  • Contractual obligations
  • Financial metrics
  • The extent of CARES Act benefits
  • Operational challenges
  • Financing arrangements
  • Capital expenditure reductions
  • Ability to continue operating
  • Cash flow management

What Happens If These Guidelines Aren’t Met?

The SEC has reiterated that corporations that fail to issue accurate and complete disclosures as outlined in the CorpFin Disclosure Guidance Topic No. 9A will be handled appropriately. 

The SEC is prepared to take aggressive action against companies engaging in misinformation, improper disclosures, and various types of disclosure-related fraud. In fact, they are currently beginning to make inquiries regarding corporations that have received loans under the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program. 

Individuals who may have information regarding suspected disclosure fraud or other securities violations in a particular corporation can reach out to a respected SEC whistleblower lawyer to begin the process of reporting their tips to the SEC. In doing so, whistleblowers may be entitled to a substantial whistleblower award for their efforts in coming forward. 

Contact a Respected SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

If you have information about a corporation that is violating the SEC’s corporate disclosure guidelines amid COVID-19, or any other type of securities violation, reach out to a reputable SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. You can reach our office by phone at 1-866-764-3100 or through the online contact form we have included at the bottom of this page. 

What Are the Different Types of Whistleblowing?

What Are the Different Types of Whistleblowing?

When you have information regarding different types of fraud or misconduct within the securities industry, you may be unsure of what to do with that information. Do you keep it to yourself or do you do something about it? 

If you choose to act and report your findings to the appropriate individuals and entities, you are becoming a whistleblower. But there are also several different types of whistleblowing. Read on to learn more about cyber whistleblowing, internal whistleblowing, and external whistleblowing.

Cyber Whistleblowing

Cyber whistleblowers are whistleblowers that report information regarding security breaches, bitcoin schemes, fraud involving cryptocurrency, and a wide variety of other cyber crimes. In some cases, an employee of a company will discover the issue in question and then have the option of reporting ir internally, externally, or both. 

Other times, hackers become whistleblowers after incidentally discovering a breach or scheme and then will report the information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or other agency that handles cyber crimes. 

Internal Whistleblowing

Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), all companies within the securities industry are required to have an internal compliance program that allows potential whistleblowers and other employees to report tips regarding fraud or misconduct to the company internally. 

When a report comes in about a potential securities violation, such as insider trading or an alleged Ponzi scheme, is known as internal whistleblowing. In most cases, internal whistleblowers have the right to report their tips anonymously through a hotline so their identity is protected. 

External Whistleblowing

External whistleblowing occurs when someone who has information regarding securities violations reports their information to the appropriate government agency. Generally speaking, this would be the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), or even the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

Whistleblowers who report tips externally can protect their anonymity by retaining legal representation. For employees who fear demotion, termination, harassment, or other forms of retaliatory action, anonymity can be critical for both internal and external whistleblowing. 

A whistleblower who comes forward can also win a whistleblower award if the information they provide leads to enforceable action and recovery of more than $1 million in sanctions, among other requirements. 

External whistleblowers may also report their tips to organizations that don’t conduct investigations, such as the media, but they will not be entitled to an award and may not be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act. 

If you have a tip and are interested in becoming a whistleblower, reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact an SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

Before you report any information regarding securities violations, reach out to an experienced SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates so you can protect your identity and have legal representation throughout the reporting process. 

Schedule a confidential tip evaluation by calling 1-866-764-3100 or completing the quick contact form below.

What Is the SEC Whistleblower Award Process?

Deciding to blow the whistle can be a difficult decision to make, because you could be negatively impacted by the events that follow. Because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) understands how difficult it is to take action against a company or organization for fear of reprisal, they offer whistleblower awards.

People might not blow the whistle if they don’t receive a whistleblower award because they could lose their job or be retaliated against for blowing the whistle. These brave individuals deserve to receive a financial award for being brave enough to report illegal behavior that a company or organization is engaging in.

If you’re unsure how the SEC whistleblower award process works, read on.

How to Get an Award for Blowing the Whistle

In order to get an award for blowing the whistle, you must report securities law violations to the SEC. You should be sure to follow the rules that relate to reporting violations.

Many people consult an SEC whistleblower lawyer to be sure they don’t make mistakes when reporting a violation. You want to make sure you report the information in the appropriate manner so you don’t miss out on the financial award.

Who Can Receive a Financial Award?

Not every person who blows the whistle can receive a financial award. Your tip must result in an action being taken against the company, corporation, or agency that was engaging in wrongful behavior. The action must result in a financial sanction against the company of at least $1 million.

You should work with your attorney to monitor your case to see whether it results in a financial sanction that meets or exceeds the minimum financial sanction criteria. If you believe you are eligible for an award, you will have to apply for an award within ninety days of the case being posted.

Receiving an Award

Although you can receive an award for blowing the whistle, there are some factors the SEC considers when determining the amount your award should be.

For instance, if you participated in the securities law violation, your award could be reduced. If you delayed in reporting information to the SEC, your award could be reduced. Additionally, if the information you provided to the SEC was extremely helpful, your award could be increased.

Get in Touch with an SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

A lot goes into blowing the whistle, and a lot must be done after in order for you to receive a financial award for the information you provided to the SEC. Working with a lawyer can help you in a number of ways. Your lawyer can guide you through the process of reporting a securities law violation and they can help you apply for an award.

Your lawyer will also safeguard your identity and protect your rights as a whistleblower. Get in touch with an SEC whistleblower lawyer to learn more about the SEC whistleblower award process. You can reach Meissner Associates through the contact form below or you can call 1-866-764-3100.

How Does the SEC Determine the Amount of a Whistleblower Award?

When you take a risk as big as becoming a whistleblower, you should be awarded accordingly if the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is able to impose consequences on the person or corporation who is responsible for engaging in fraudulent activity. 

Although it is certainly the right thing to do in coming forward with any pertinent information you might have, you’ll also likely be wondering how much you can expect to be awarded. This is a difficult question to answer, particularly as this information won’t be available until the SEC is able to recover their monetary sanctions. 

However, you can certainly educate yourself about how the SEC will go about calculating the amount of your whistleblower award. Read on to learn more about what a whistleblower tip is worth, and why the amount of monetary sanctions recovered will make a difference in the outcome of your case. 

The Value of a Whistleblower Tip

There are several different requirements that will need to be met in order to qualify for a whistleblower award, and each of them need to be fulfilled in order to obtain an award. The most important one has to be the value of your tip. 

The more valuable your information is to the success of the SEC’s investigation into the investment fraud or securities violations in question, the more you can reasonably expect to be awarded. 

If you are able to provide the SEC with internal documents, financial statements, confidential information, and other physical evidence that can establish the wrongdoing, you’ll have provided invaluable information to the SEC as they conduct their investigation. 

How Much Was the SEC Able to Recover?

The SEC’s claims review department will be responsible for determining your preliminary whistleblower award. This includes figuring out how valuable your tip was to the eventual success of the case. Once this has been established, you’ll need to be sure that you’ve met the other qualifying criteria. 

This includes reporting your tip voluntarily, your tip being considered original, and of course, the SEC needs to be able to impose monetary sanctions against the fraudulent individual or company. If all of these conditions have been met, you will be entitled to somewhere between 10 percent and 30 percent of however much the SEC is able to recover. 

The more documentation and evidence you are able to provide to the SEC, the closer you’ll get to the 30 percent mark, and though this may seem like a small difference, if the SEC was able to recover, say $25 million, you could be awarded as much as $7.5 million or as little as $2.5 million. As can be seen, the value of a whistleblower tip significantly influences the outcome of a whistleblower award. 

Contact a Qualified SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

Would-be whistleblowers across the nation can speak with an experienced SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates, free of charge, to discuss the information they have, what their next steps should be, and what to expect from a whistleblower award during their confidential tip review. 

You can take advantage of this opportunity by filling out the brief contact form we have included at the bottom of this page or by giving our office a call at 1-866-764-3100.

sec whistleblowing in silicon valley

When an individual or corporation is engaging in securities fraud, and you become aware of such violations, you might be able to win an award if you come forward and report your tip to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Becoming a whistleblower isn’t easy, but it’s the right thing to do when investors, your colleagues, and the public are at risk. Below, we discuss why whistleblowers often don’t report the information they have, and what criteria you need to meet to be eligible for an award.

Why Whistleblowers Don’t Come Forward

Often, when an individual has blown the whistle, their employer finds out, and the whistleblower is often subjected to retaliation. Retaliatory action might consist of the creation of a hostile work environment, demotion, harassment, intimidation, termination, and slander of the whistleblower’s professional reputation.

Fortunately, there are a number of whistleblower protections, including the Dodd-Frank Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which strictly prohibit employers from retaliating against employees they suspect of whistleblowing.

In fact, if your employer does retaliate against you, you can file a claim against them that will allow you to recover damages, including double back pay, damage to your reputation, emotional distress, and a reinstatement to your position, if you were terminated.

What’s more, you have the option of reporting your tip anonymously if you are represented by an SEC whistleblower lawyer. This way, the chances of your employer finding out you blew the whistle are minimal. Eventually, if you are going to be issued a whistleblower award, the SEC will need to know who you are so they can provide you with your award.

You Could Win an Award

Before you can be eligible for a whistleblower award, you’ll need to meet very specific requirements as outlined by the SEC. They include the following:

  • Your tip must be given voluntarily.
  • The information you provide must be original, meaning you discovered your tip from a non-public source.
  • The SEC must be able to take enforceable action against the violator.
  • The sanctions recovered by the SEC must be greater than $1 million.

Once you meet the above criteria, you will be entitled to anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the recovered sanctions, depending on how valuable your tip was to the success of the SEC’s investigation. For example, if the SEC is able to recover $25 million and they wouldn’t have been able to without you, you could receive up to $7.5 million as your award.

Your SEC whistleblower lawyer in Silicon Valley will review the details of your tip to determine what you can expect to happen moving forward, and whether you’ll be entitled to an award.

Consult a Silicon Valley SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

If you’re ready to take a chance and blow the whistle on fraudulent activity within your workplace, you can report your tip to the SEC anonymously when you work with an experienced Silicon Valley SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates.

All prospective whistleblowers can schedule a confidential tip assessment today by completing the secure contact form we’ve included at the bottom of this page or by calling our office at 1-866-878-9123.