Originally published in Law360 on December 18, 2012.
Without a doubt, the advent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower bounty program prompted a drastic increase in the number of individuals providing information of potential wrongdoing to the SEC. Some of these individuals may just be tipsters, but others will become key witnesses in investigations and trials. The prevalence of whistleblowers in cases in greater numbers than ever before and the special protections offered to them creates special challenges for defense attorneys and the companies they represent surrounding the identification, investigation and questioning of whistleblowers.
The Whistleblower Bounty Program -
Under the whistleblower bounty program, an individual who voluntarily provides the SEC with original information that leads to the successful enforcement by the SEC of a federal court or administrative action in which the SEC obtains monetary sanctions totaling more than $1 million, is eligible for an award of between 10 percent and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected. The SEC rules do not require internal reporting.
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