SEC Whistleblower Program Explained
Reporting securities violations performs an important service for shareholders and investors. It might also earn you a significant monetary award. Katz, Marshall & Banks partners Lisa J. Banks and David J. Marshall are nationally-recognized whistleblower attorneys, who have the experience to navigate the complexities of the SEC Whistleblower Program. View the video below to see a brief explanation from Mr. Marshall of how the SEC whistleblower program works.
David J. Marshall is a nationally-recognized expert in whistleblower law, particularly in the field of financial whistleblowers. He specializes in representing whistleblowers in the SEC Whistleblower Program, and is frequently called on by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Corporate Counsel, the National Law Journal, Law360 and other national publications to comment on news and developments in the SEC Whistleblower Program. Mr. Marshall also speaks on panels and at conferences across the country regarding legal developments in the Dodd-Frank Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the False Claims Act, and other laws affecting whistleblowers in finance, auditing, accounting and securities-related professions. If you believe you have information about securities violations or foreign bribes – or you have provided such information and were retaliated against as a result – contact the nationally recognized whistleblower attorneys at Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP. Your communications with us are confidential, and without charge or further obligation.
Lisa J. Banks has successfully litigated whistleblower protection cases at the trial court and appellate level for over 20 years. She has significant experience in federal and state courts, including courts in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, and Tennessee, and has achieved success at all levels, including appeals in the Fourth, Sixth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. She has also represented numerous whistleblowers before the Department of Labor (DOL) in the transportation, nuclear, financial, and pharmaceutical industries.
Ms. Banks recently co-authored a comprehensive whistleblower law treatise, Whistleblower Law: A Practitioner’s Guide, an exhaustive guide to the dozens of federal and state whistleblower laws affecting virtually every industry in the country. The book is a practical, comprehensive guide to rapidly evolving whistleblower law and the numerous and often complex issues facing practitioners today from both sides of the whistleblower bar. She has also published the CFTC Whistleblower Practice Guide, a comprehensive handbook for CFTC whistleblowers and their lawyers.
Finally, Ms. Banks was appointed in 2016 to serve a two-year term as a public representative on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC). Established to improve the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) management of whistleblower protections, the committee advises the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of Labor on ways to increase transparency and efficacy.
- KMB Legal's SEC Whistleblower Program Overview
- KMB's SEC Whistleblower Practice Guide
- Qualifying for SEC Whistleblower Rewards
- SEC Whistleblowers - Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
What is the SEC Whistleblower Incentive Program?
The Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program provides monetary incentives to individuals who come forward with information about serious violations of the nation's securities laws. The securities laws are designed to protect investors in the financial markets by regulating the trade and stocks and bonds and also by setting requirements for public companies when they make disclosures about their financial condition to their shareholders and to potential investors.
If you have information about serious violations of U.S. securities laws and you provide that information to the SEC, and the SEC uses your information to take enforcement action resulting in sanctions of more than a million dollars, then you as the whistleblower are entitled to an award of 10 to 30 percent of the amount that the SEC recovers from the wrongdoers.
What types of information do clients provide?
Some of our clients have been accountants or chief financial officers or compliance professionals who have come forward with information about public companies that have misrepresented their financial condition to their shareholders. Essentially cooking the books with their financial numbers so as to misrepresent the finances of the company. We've also had a number of people we've taken to the SEC with information about misconduct—very serious misconduct by financial advisers and securities brokers who have misused funds that their clients have entrusted them to invest on the client's behalf. And we've had a number of people we've taken to the SEC with important information about violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that's part of the securities laws.
What can a client expect when they retain Katz, Marshall & Banks to represent them as a whistleblower before the SEC?
When a client comes to us with information to present to the SEC in the form of a whistleblower tip, they can expect us to take several important steps on their behalf. First of all, we work their information up into a compelling presentation that the SEC can understand and use as the basis for an enforcement action. Second, we represent our clients at every stage of any investigation by the SEC or by another agency such as the Department of Justice working in collaboration with the SEC. We attend the investigators interviews with our clients. We represent our clients in any further follow-up meetings. We help our clients in answering written requests from the SEC for additional information. And we use our own expertise and legal research and factual research to provide analysis to the SEC that will help advance the investigation towards a successful enforcement outcome.
What sets Katz, Marshall & Banks apart from other firms practicing in this area?
We at Katz, Marshall & Banks have been representing whistleblowers in a wide range of industries for decades, long before the SEC reward program went into effect. And for this reason, we're particularly attuned to the individual needs of our clients. There are a number of firms that will pursue a whistleblower reward on your behalf before the SEC and that's what we will do on your behalf. But at the same time, we are particularly committed to making sure that you suffer no disruption in your career and in your livelihood. We will take steps to protect you against retaliation for having reported securities violations on the part of your employer. We will obtain compensation for you if possible if you've been retaliated against. We will work with the SEC staff to ensure that you enjoy the anonymity as a whistleblower that you went into the program expecting and to which the rules entitle you.
We also publish a very helpful SEC whistleblower practice guide that will answer your questions about the SEC whistleblower program and also about protections that employees have against retaliation for raising these kinds of concerns.
If you have information about securities violations that you're considering reporting to the SEC, or if you're facing retaliation, are about to face retaliation from your employer for raising concerns internally about these types of violations, then give us a call and we'll talk with you not only about how you might win an award from the SEC but also about protecting yourself from retaliation for raising these types of concerns.