The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower says it has already received 334 tips since becoming operational in August 12. The office issued its fiscal year 2011 report last month.
Per the report, between August 12 and September 30, which was when FYI 2011 ended, most of the complaints received by the office involved the areas of:
• Market manipulation
• Offering fraud
• Corporate disclosures and financial statements
The SEC’s whistleblower office received complaints from 37 states-the most, at 34, came from California-and a number of foreign countries, with the majority from China and the United Kingdom. Officials say that the quality of the tips they’ve been receiving has gotten better.
The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower has not given out any awards yet. One reason for this is that the 90-day reward application period for applicable cases is not yet over. Eligible tipsters are those that provided information that led to securities cases resulting in monetary sanctions of over $1 million.
According to a survey conducted by one employment and labor law firm, S & P 500 senior executives and top officers at other organizations are worried about this bounty program and its monetary incentive that could convince the more reluctant whistleblowers to come forward. 73% of respondents said that they considered retaliation and whistleblowing to be emerging risk areas. Many said that even as the number of whistleblower tips will likely go up, their companies are only moderately prepared to deal with these claims.
Under Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Section 922, if the following circumstances apply, the SEC must pay 10-30% of any money the government to the whistleblower:
• The whistleblower voluntarily gave the insider information • The information is original, comes from the tipster’s independent analysis or knowledge, and didn’t come to the Commission from any other source • The information allows the SEC to bring a successful enforcement action
• Monetary sanctions are more than $1 million. Penalties, interest, disgorgement and any other monies are part of this consideration.
Meantime, the Government Accountability Office says in its new report that it found that the financial statements belonging to the SEC’s Investor Protection Fund for FY 2010 and 2011 were materially fair. Whistleblower bounties are paid from that fund.
The GAO also said that in FY 2011 the SEC made significant steps forward in terms of remediating material weaknesses in its internal control for financial reporting, information systems, and account processing. Although these issues are not material anymore, the GAO felt that they should still be addressed in its report. The four areas where the significant deficiencies existed were:
• Budgetary resources • Information security • Accounting processes and financial reporting • Filing fees and registrant deposits
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower FYI 2011 Report
Companies Anticipate Rise in Whistleblower Claims According to Littler Survey, 96 Percent of Senior Executives Reveal Growing Concern, Littler, November 14, 2011
Securities and Exchange Commission’s Financial Statements for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2010, GAO (PDF)
More Blog Posts:
Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims Taxpayers Were Defrauded When Federal Government Bailed Out Houston-Based American International Group in 2008, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, May 5, 2011
SEC Looking at Other Ways to Communicate with Whistleblowers, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, September 14, 2011
SEC is Finalizing Its Whistleblower Rules, Says Chairman Schapiro, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 28, 2011
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