Arbitration Win over Apple Options Strategy 

Stock prices can shift rapidly, depending on the current market. Still, an investment advisory firm should provide you with the most up-to-date information and the best strategies for your finances. 

Unfortunately, a recent client discovered what happens when one of these groups is careless. 

Our firm worked hard for this client, and in the end, we secured an $800,000 settlement for the client, helping her recover what was lost due to negligence, misconduct, and a breach of fiduciary duty. Here’s how we handled our client’s case and what you may need to know if you’re in a similar situation. 

Breach of Duty for Client 

In 2019, our client began speaking with Pinnacle, an investment firm. She became a client after being recommended by Charles Schwab, a firm our client had worked with since 2017. Our client had thousands of shares in Apple, which made up the majority of her Roth IRA. This was a part of her income she relied on, along with a small pension and her Social Security benefits

Our client stated to the firm that she didn’t want to sell any of these shares in Apple, and she didn’t want to risk losing these shares. She was assured that the tactics they would use to help her retirement account and that she wouldn’t need to worry about any potential risks to her Apple shares. 

Unfortunately, our client was misled. In an act of negligence and a breach of their fiduciary duty, Pinnacle failed to notify her about issues with their plan for her finances. Eventually, our client was forced to move her assets to another firm and was forced to sell more than $420,000 worth of Apple shares. 

Pursuing Compensation in Court

Once our client first complained about the investment losses she was facing, Pinnacle and Charles Schwab both ended their client-firm relationship with her. After these losses, our client took action, filing a case with the guidance of our law firm. 

After eighteen months, our efforts paid off. A three-person Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel decided in our client’s favor. $800,000 will be paid for the investment losses suffered. That includes more than $436,000 paid to recoup the losses our client suffered, with interest. 

Discuss Your Financial Losses with an Attorney 

When you trust your financial security to an investment firm, you shouldn’t have to worry about the safety of that investment if you choose not to risk your funds. You should remain in control and knowledgeable about your money. Unfortunately, some investment firms may take undue risks without warning you or giving you the chance to say no. 

Our team at Meissner Associates is ready to help you recover from lost assets when an investment firm damages your financial situation. If you’re facing economic issues because of your investment firm’s decisions, our office offers consultations, so you know what to expect before you choose to file a claim. 

Ready to speak with a lawyer? Reach out for answers by calling 1-866-764-3100 or filling out the online contact form below. 

Adverse Actions in Whistleblowing

Adverse Actions in Whistleblowing

When people become aware of schemes, fraud, and misconduct within the financial markets and securities industries, they can find themselves in a difficult position. 

Reporting their information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or internally could result in retaliation if their identity becomes known. These SEC whistleblowers put themselves at risk for adverse actions just for being courageous and coming forward.

But it’s this very risk of retaliation that often prevents would-be whistleblowers from coming forward and reporting their tips. Below, we go into further detail about some of the adverse actions in whistleblowing and what options are available to you if you do become a victim of retaliation.

Retaliation for Blowing the Whistle

Although anyone can become a whistleblower, more often than not, the people who work for the companies that engage in securities schemes are the ones who come forward. When they see something wrong or illegal, most people will know that the right thing to do is stand up and do something about it. 

But when you could face adverse actions from your employer, you might be hesitant to come forward. But while retaliation does happen, remember that it’s illegal. 

Some of the most common types of retaliation whistleblowers endure after reporting their tips to the SEC or their company’s internal compliance program include the following:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Suspension
  • Harassment
  • Intimidation
  • A hostile work environment
  • Discrimination

Because the risk of retaliation is so high, the SEC has created a program to award whistleblowers for their efforts and bravery in coming forward. To win a whistleblower award, the whistleblower will need to meet very specific requirements, including the following:

  • Provide original information.
  • Provide information voluntarily. 
  • Provide valuable information.
  • The SEC must be able to impose sanctions.
  • The SEC must recover sanctions of more than $1 million.

If you meet each of the above criteria when you blow the whistle, you could win anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of anything the SEC is able to recover through the course of their investigation. 

Consequences for Retaliation in Whistleblowing

Several laws, including the Dodd-Frank Act, prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers and offer whistleblowers legal protection from retaliation. You can seek justice for retaliation in a couple of ways.

First, you can inform the SEC of what you’ve been subjected to. The SEC may impose additional sanctions against the violating company or offending employees.

Second, you can take legal action of your own, seeking compensation or action for a variety of damages like your financial losses, double back pay, reinstatement to your former position, emotional distress, and reputational damage. 

After closely examining the specific details of your case, your whistleblower lawyer can help you figure out what your next steps should be. 

Get Help with Adverse Actions in Whistleblowing 

If you have been retaliated against after becoming an SEC whistleblower, you can get justice with the help of a respected lawyer at Meissner Associates. To schedule your free, confidential tip evaluation, give our office a call at 1-866-764-3100 or complete the quick contact form below.

What Are Protected Disclosures?

What Are Protected Disclosures?

When an employee learns of securities violations and fraud, they may be unsure of what to do next. Many fear retaliation— and rightfully so. Fear of retaliation could be the most common reason would-be whistleblowers hesitate to come forward and do what they know is the right thing. 

The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) came to be in 1989 and provides protection against retaliation for whistleblowers who make protected disclosures. If your employer retaliates against you after making a protected disclosure, you may be able to take legal action against them. 

Below, we describe in further detail what a protected disclosure is, the types of protected disclosures that are covered under the Whistleblower Protection Act and the vital services of an SEC whistleblower lawyer.

What is a Protected Disclosure?

A disclosure is the tip or information the whistleblower gives to their internal compliance program or to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But not all disclosures are protected. Having a protected disclosure means the Whistleblower Protection Act protects you from being retaliated against after coming forward. 

When an employer retaliates against you, whether it be through harassment, intimidation, demotion, threatening, or termination, they can be held accountable if your disclosure was protected. 

Types of Disclosures Covered Under the WPA

There are many disclosures that are protected. For instance, federal employees who report any of the following are reporting protected disclosures:

  • Abuse of power or authority
  • Substantial danger
  • Mismanagement 
  • Censorship
  • Gross waste of funds

In order for a whistleblower to win their claim for retaliation, they will need to prove based on a preponderance of the evidence there was a protected disclosure, the employer knew the disclosure was protected, that action took place after the disclosure was made, and there is a connection between the employee reporting the disclosure and the retaliatory action they were subjected to. 

Contact a Top Whistleblower Lawyer

If you believe you are at risk for retaliation after making a protected disclosure and you need aggressive legal counsel, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. Schedule your confidential case evaluation when you complete the secured contact form below or call our office at 1-866-764-3100.

Whistleblower Anonymity Law

Whistleblower Anonymity Law

Potential whistleblowers are often hesitant to come forward and report the information they have because they have a very real fear of being retaliated against. It is not uncommon for individuals and companies that are under investigation for securities fraud to go to great lengths to silence those who are helping the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) make their case. 

While the retaliation fears are real, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from retaliation and still report your information to the SEC. Remaining an anonymous whistleblower could be the best way to protect your identity and still do your part to hold the fraudulent parties accountable for their misconduct. Read on to learn more about what an SEC whistleblower lawyer can do to help.

What Is the Whistleblower Anonymity Law?

There are several laws in effect, including the Dodd-Frank Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), that are designed to protect whistleblowers. But there is no law that expressly protects a whistleblower’s identity from becoming known if they want to remain anonymous. 

Remaining anonymous throughout the whistleblowing process is essential if you hope to avoid being retaliated against for coming forward with your tip. The SEC only allows would-be whistleblowers to report their tips anonymously as long as they are being represented by an attorney. 

If your identity does become known after reporting your information to the SEC, the Dodd-Frank and SOX Acts provide you with opportunities to hold those who retaliated against you accountable. 

The SEC can impose their own sanctions for retaliation, and your lawyer can help you pursue a civil claim, seeking double back pay, restitution for reputational damage, and other losses you endured as a result of the retaliatory action. 

What Happens After Reporting Your Tip

Before you report your tip, you’ll need to retain legal representation if you hope to remain anonymous. From there, your lawyer can act on your behalf when reporting your tip to the SEC. Your whistleblower lawyer will be responsible for all communications between you (the whistleblower) and the SEC should they need to be in touch with questions over the course of their investigation. 

It should be noted if you are entitled to a whistleblower award for your efforts in coming forward, the SEC will need to learn your identity in order to issue your payment. However, only the necessary parties will learn who you are and your name will not be released to the public. 

If you have additional questions about how anonymity works in whistleblowing or want to know more about how to fight back after being retaliated against for blowing the whistle, you can discuss your concerns with your whistleblower lawyer. 

Contact an Experienced SEC Whistleblower Lawyer

No one said doing the right thing was going to be easy. But the law is on your side and can protect your identity from becoming known when you have legal representation. You need a top SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates to represent your best interests. 

Call our office at 1-866-764-3100 or complete the secured contact form included at the bottom of this page to schedule your confidential tip evaluation. 

Why Does the CFTC Need Whistleblowers?

Why Does the CFTC Need Whistleblowers?

Global financial markets, the securities industry, and commodity futures are industries that have a high risk of fraud. Because government agencies aren’t always able to uncover fraud before it is too late, they rely on whistleblowers to come forward and report tips. These whistleblowers are often employees, colleagues, friends, and even family members of those who commit fraud in the financial markets.

But becoming a whistleblower can be dangerous. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recognizes this and allows whistleblowers to report their tips anonymously when they are represented by an attorney. Furthermore, they can reward many whistleblowers who have the courage to come forward and help put a stop to these schemes.

Below, we go into further detail about what the CFTC is responsible for, why government agencies need whistleblowers, and how the reward process works for whistleblowers who meet the requirements.

What Is the CFTC?

The CFTC is a government agency that is focused on the regulation of futures, swaps, options, derivatives markets, and commodities. Energy and environmental markets, agriculture, global markets, and technology are the CFTC’s primary focus. As with all financial markets, there are opportunities for fraud to occur.

When violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) occur, the CFTC can take action against the fraudulent party or parties in question. This is very similar to how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) handles securities violations.

However, neither agency would be as successful as they are in taking enforcement actions if it weren’t for the bravery of whistleblowers all over the world.

The Need for CFTC Whistleblowers

The CFTC would be unable to impose sanctions and take other enforcement actions if they didn’t have whistleblowers who were willing to come forward. These individuals often discover schemes and other fraudulent activities in their work with specific individuals, companies, or organizations.

Blowing the whistle is risky for the whistleblower, and when the CFTC’s requirements have been met, the whistleblower could be awarded handsomely for their efforts in coming forward. The criteria that a CFTC whistleblower would need to meet in order to qualify for an award include:

  • Coming forward voluntarily
  • Having original information
  • Providing valuable information

In addition, the CFTC must take enforceable action, and the CFTC must recover at least $1 million.

If all requirements have been met, then the whistleblower could be entitled to an award of as much as thirty percent of the recovered sanctions. Your lawyer can help you throughout the whistleblowing process so you are kept informed as to the status of your whistleblower tip.

Meet with a Lawyer for More Information

Although coming forward can be intimidating, doing so may ultimately be the right thing to do, and the CFTC could reward you accordingly. If you have information regarding CFTC violations and you aren’t sure where to turn for help, contact a respected lawyer at Meissner Associates.

Schedule your confidential tip evaluation when you fill out the secure contact form included below or call our office at 1-866-764-3100.

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.