SEC-Whistleblower-Building
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Photo credit Diego Radzinschi

Washington, D.C. – September 21, 2018.  The public comment period for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments to the rules governing its successful whistleblower program closed on Tuesday, September 18.  More than 99% of the comments posted on the SEC’s public comment page oppose the proposed rules. 
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Later this week, the House of Representatives is set to vote on the Financial CHOICE Act. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R – TX), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, designed and championed this bill. The CHOICE Act will repeal major parts of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act, and deregulate U.S. financial markets. The bill also advances a toxic anti-whistleblower policy (Section 828), which would undermine the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) highly successful whistleblower program—incapacitating the most effective tool to rein in misconduct and criminal activity on Wall Street.

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Today, National Whistleblower Center Executive Director Stephen Kohn submitted testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in defense of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) whistleblower program—a highly successful program that has protected investors and recovered $1 billion from Wall Street fraudsters since its inception.

Section 823 of the draft Financial Choice Act of 2017 directly, and negatively, impacts the whistleblower protections afforded under the Securities and Exchange Act (“SEA”).  While it purports to exclude opportunistic individuals from the SEA’s reward provisions if they are “culpable” for the violation for which they are reporting, this amendment is not needed and would undermine the SEA’s highly successful whistleblower law.


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Washington, DC, November 16, 2016. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program had its most successful year to date in 2016. The agency, which issued its annual report to Congress today, reports it issued awards totaling over $57 million in 2016—higher than all award amounts issued in previous years combined. The Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) received over 4,200 tips this year, which is a more than 40 percent increase in whistleblower tips since 2012. In addition, the SEC took action in its first ever stand-alone whistleblower retaliation case.

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Washington D.C. October 9, 2016.  Och-Ziff Capital Management Group (Och-Ziff), A New York-based alternative investment and hedge fund manager, agreed to pay a combined total amount of U.S. criminal and regulatory penalties of approximately $412 million to settle charges it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  In separate announcements yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) each described the actions of Och-Ziff which led to the charges the company violated the FCPA.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Jane Norberg will now head its whistleblower office.  The SEC Office of the Whistleblower reviews whistleblower tips, evaluates whistleblower award claims, and makes recommendations on whether claimants should receive an award for their information. Ms. Norberg has served as acting chief since the departure of Sean McKessy in July.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced August 30, 2016, that it has awarded over $100 million to whistleblowers since its inception in 2011.  The SEC’s whistleblower program was established by Congress to incentivize whistleblowers with specific, timely and credible information about federal securities law violations to report to the SEC.

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