Category Archives: SEC

Subscribe to SEC RSS Feed

SEC Announces First Whistleblower Award During Trump Era

On April 25, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Dodd-Frank whistleblower award of nearly $4 million, the first bounty award issued during the Trump administration.  To maintain the whistleblower’s confidentiality, the SEC declined to disclose the organization involved.  The agency did acknowledge, however, that the whistleblower submitted “detailed and specific information about serious … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Revives In-House Attorney’s Whistleblower Claim

On April 12, 2017, the Third Circuit partially revived a former in-house attorney’s whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against his previous employer.  Danon v. Vanguard Group, Inc., No. 16-cv-2881. Plaintiff, a former in-house tax lawyer, previously raised retaliation claims against the Company in New York State Court under the New York False Claims Act, alleging he was … Continue Reading

SEC Reduces Whistleblower Bounty Based On Culpability And Delayed Reporting

On February 28, 2017, in an Order almost entirely devoid of detail, the SEC announced that a whistleblower will receive 20% of any monetary sanctions collected in an enforcement action commenced as a result of the whistleblower’s tip. The SEC is giving this “reduced” award while acknowledging that the whistleblower (1) was “culpable” in the … Continue Reading

Proskauer to Present on Modern Whistleblower Retaliation Law and the SEC Bounty Program at Bloomberg’s BNA Webinar

On Friday, March 3, 2017, Proskauer Partner Steve Pearlman will present on key aspects of modern whistleblower retaliation law, SEC enforcement actions involving “pre-taliation,” and the SEC Office of the Whistleblower bounty program. Pearlman is the co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group.  He will join co-panelist Sean X. McKessy, Partner, Phillips & Cohen LLP, … Continue Reading

Proskauer Joins Heads of SEC & OSHA Whistleblower Programs in Webinar

On September 27, 2016, Proskauer Partner Steven J. Pearlman, co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Practice Group, participated in a Bloomberg webinar with Jane Norberg, Acting Chief of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower, MaryAnn Garrahan, Director of OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, and plaintiff-side practitioner, Jason Zuckerman.  The participants discussed: the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program; … Continue Reading

Whistleblower’s Attorney’s Communications with Regulators Found to be Protected by Work Product Doctrine

A California Magistrate Judge in BofI Federal Bank v. Erhart ruled that a whistleblower’s attorney’s communications sent to federal regulators were protected by the attorney work product doctrine.  No. 15-cv-2353 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2016).  The court concluded that the whistleblower’s attorney had not waived work product protection through her disclosure to third-party regulators, finding that she … Continue Reading

SEC Penalizes Company For Severance Language Purportedly Impeding Complaints

On August 10, 2016, the SEC announced that BlueLinx Holdings Inc. (Company) is settling charges that it violated Rule 21F-17 by requiring outgoing employees to waive whistleblower bounty awards in connection with severance agreements and by using an overly restrictive confidentiality clause.  The Company agreed to pay a penalty of $265,000 and revise its agreements.  … Continue Reading

SEC Affirms Denial of Bounties to Three Purported Whistleblowers

On July 19, 2016, the SEC issued an order upholding the SEC Claims Review Staff’s (“CRS”) Preliminary Determination denying three claims for whistleblower awards.  The SEC’s order explains how the claimants’ bounty requests were properly denied for failing to meet the SEC’s eligibility requirements.  As we have previously discussed here, all but a few whistleblower … Continue Reading

SEC Whistleblower Chief Sean McKessy to Leave, Agency Announces

The SEC announced today the departure of Sean X. McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.  Mr. McKessy was the first to hold that role and started his post in February 2011.  Mr. McKessy is credited with developing and establishing the Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty program from complaint intake to prosecution to the payment of substantial … Continue Reading

SEC Issues $17 Million Whistleblower Award

Yesterday, the SEC issued a stunning $17 million award to a former employee, whose “detailed tip” provided original information to SEC enforcement staff that “substantially advanced their investigation” into the whistleblower’s former employer.  The SEC specifically credited the “company insider” with allowing enforcement staff “to conserve time and resources in the investigation, and help[ing] staff … Continue Reading

No Bounty For Purported Whistleblower Tipster

On May 31, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued an order upholding the SEC Claims Review Staff’s (“CRS”) Preliminary Determination denying a claim for a whistleblower award in connection with the enforcement action SEC v. CVS Caremark Corp.  Notice of Covered Action 2014-48 (“Covered Action”).  This order provides insight into a whistleblower … Continue Reading

SEC Awards Nearly $2M in Whistleblower Bounties

On March 8, 2016, the SEC announced payment of nearly $2,000,000 in whistleblower bounty awards to three tipsters.  (The order granting the award can be accessed here.)  The largest of the three awards, approximately $1,800,000, went to a whistleblower who provided original information that prompted the SEC to open an investigation.  The other two whistleblowers … Continue Reading

Highlights of SEC’s 2015 Annual Whistleblower Report

On November 16, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) released its fifth Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to Congress, which details information on OWB’s activities and bounty payouts for the fiscal year, as described in our posts on the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Annual Reports. In its 2015 … Continue Reading

SEC Pays Whistleblower Bounty Award Exceeding $325,000

On November 4, 2015, the SEC announced that it would pay a former investment firm employee a whistleblower bounty award totaling more than $325,000.  Notably, the SEC’s Order indicated that the award was decreased “because after becoming aware of the wrongdoing, [the whistleblower] did nothing to report the information and did nothing to try to … Continue Reading

SEC Issues Interpretive Rule Regarding Definition of Dodd-Frank “Whistleblower”

In response to the disagreement amongst courts regarding the scope of Dodd-Frank’s employment retaliation protections, on August 4, 2015, the SEC issued an “interpretive rule” clarifying that individuals who have not reported alleged misconduct to the SEC may nevertheless qualify as “whistleblowers”.… Continue Reading

SEC Pays More Than $3 Million Whistleblower Award

On July 17, 2015, the SEC announced a whistleblower award of more than $3 million to a “company insider” whose information assisted the SEC in unveiling a “complex fraud.” This payout (which is the SEC’s third largest) follows the SEC’s announcement in April that it awarded a Compliance Officer a whistleblower bounty of approximately $1.5 … Continue Reading
LexBlog