SEC Whistleblower Blog

SEC’s Focus on Climate and Environmental, Social and Governance Issues

May 10, 2021
While the U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) has not been very active in holding companies accountable for failing to report climate-related information, litigation under state provisions—and the growing urgency of climate-related risks—has shown the need for more active enforcement. In recent years, states have pursued...

Federal Court Decision Emphasizes Importance of Following Whistleblower Procedures

April 15, 2021
The Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 each contain provisions that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees because they blew the whistle on securities fraud. While the acts overlap in some ways, they do not cover all of the same conduct nor share...

SEC Demonstrates Commitment to Protecting Whistleblowers

April 5, 2021
Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) charged New York-based investment firm GPB Capital Holdings, LLC (“GPB”), and three affiliated individuals, with multiple counts of securities fraud. The complaint, filed by the SEC in the Eastern District of New York, alleges that the defendants ran...

Trends in SEC Whistleblower Program

January 28, 2021
This past year marked the ten-year anniversary of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Whistleblower Program.  It was a record-breaking year for the program.  Not only did the Commission issue its highest award to an individual whistleblower, it also granted awards to the largest number of...

SEC Adopts Final Rules Amending Its Whistleblower Program

September 24, 2020
On September 23, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-2 to pass the final rules amending its whistleblower program. The five following changes will have the most impact on SEC whistleblowers who report potential violations of securities law: Creation of a presumption in favor of awarding the maximum...

SEC Whistleblower Awards Skyrocket in 2020

June 2, 2020
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced in early May that it had awarded $2 million to a whistleblower who provided specific, timely, and credible information regarding a fraudulent scheme related to an ongoing investigation, but about which the SEC was not aware. The award marked the continuation of what...

SEC Whistleblower Program 2019 Annual Report Highlights Continued Success of Program, Despite Decreased Awards this Year

December 18, 2019
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) has filed its Annual Report to Congress for FY 2019, highlighting the continued success of the SEC Whistleblower Program established by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. Since the program began in 2010, the Commission has issued awards that total...

SEC Steps Up Efforts to Regulate Virtual Currency Offerings and Exchanges

February 8, 2019
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has recently stepped up its enforcement actions against virtual currency exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) that violate federal securities laws. Due to the highly technical nature of virtual currency and its underlying technology, the area long operated as a sort...

Vanguard Whistleblower Gets Procedural Dodd-Frank Retaliation Win Post-Somers, but Hurdles Remain

January 24, 2019
On November 2, 2018, a federal court granted plaintiff David Danon, a former Vanguard Group Inc. attorney, leave to amend his complaint for the second time to better frame his Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower claims. The second amended complaint shifts the focus of his legal theory in an effort to meet the definition of a...

Are Proposed Changes to the SEC Whistleblower Program a Step Backwards?

October 24, 2018
This summer, the SEC voted 3-2 to propose amendments to the rules governing its whistleblower program (the “Proposed Amendments”).  At nearly 200 pages long, the Proposed Amendments contain a number of substantive proposed changes to the Program.  As the two dissenting Commissioners and others have noted, the Proposed...

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