To be eligible for an award, an SEC whistleblower has to report what is called “original information.” That is a term used by the SEC to determine what kind of information would be valuable and entitles a person or whistleblower to obtain an award. That could be information the SEC or the Government was not previously aware of or was not public to the SEC.
Then, the SEC has to act based on at least the information that leads to some type of collection of more than a million dollars. At that point, the SEC would publish the award on its website and the whistleblower would have 90 days to make a claim with respect to the action taken and therefore able to collect a share of whatever the SEC obtains.
The SEC settles with companies and individual defendants all the time, as it has its own administrative legal process and can sue in court. Pursuant to those actions, they have the authority to settle claims against any defendant for security fraud on behalf of the United States. Basically, it can do whatever it feels is a legitimate settlement of a claim. If an individual wants to know more about the process for filing SEC whistleblower claims, they should consult a knowledgeable SEC lawyer that could help.
Blowing the Whistle to the SEC
An individual can blow the whistle to the SEC in a number of ways, but if they want to be eligible for an award, they must submit a form TCR to the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower with relevant information. The whistleblower can supplement that information with material and statements attached to it.
It is possible for the whistleblower to do that themselves, but if they want to be anonymous, they would have to have counsel submit the information on their behalf on the same TCR form and with the augmenting material from the whistleblower. An attorney could answer questions an individual may have about blowing the whistle and the process for filing SEC whistleblower claims.
TCR Forms Explained
The TCR form is a form that an individual fills out to provide the essential facts and identify the party who the whistleblower has evidence regarding a violation of security law. The form and information on that form can be supplemented with attachments, but submission of the form initiates the process as far as the SEC is concerned.
The best way an SEC whistleblower lawyer in DC could help a person in filing a TCR form is by providing them with anonymity. The filer must identify themselves if filing on their own, but by going through a lawyer, they can submit the material to the SEC on an anonymous basis. Also, a lawyer could help the whistleblower understand what law has been violated and help present the case of security fraud in a way the SEC would appreciate.
A whistleblower lawyer also can, of course, help with framing issues, figuring out the potential damages, creating the statements of the whistleblower, and framing the statement of whistleblower so that it comports with the legal requirement. The lawyer, in short, can do anything any lawyer would do in any case matter including helping advise with respect to the process for filing SEC whistleblower claims. It is just that in this case the SEC procedure also requires counsel if a whistleblower wants to file on an anonymous basis.
An SEC whistleblower lawyer automatically helps someone maintain anonymity while filing their TCR form because a lawyer is required for a whistleblower to present information on that basis. It also means that they can continue to provide information to the SEC and facilitate communications with the SEC as required without having to reveal the whistleblower’s identity.
Is this Process Under Federal Seal Like a Qui Tam Suit?
Qui tam does not apply to the process for filing SEC whistleblower claims. The SEC Whistleblower Program is technically not a qui tam as that term has come to be used these days. A qui tam provision is now thought of as the right of a whistleblower to initiate a suit in a Court on behalf of the government.
The SEC Whistleblower Program provides rights to whistleblowers to inform the SEC and obtain an award, but not an independent right of action with regard to the underlying fraudulent activity. Suing for retaliation based on this process is treated confidentially by the office, so it is not a good idea for anyone to talk about it publicly while they have a case pending under the SEC whistleblower law. Obviously, anyone who files their allegations anonymously would defeat the point of that action if they disclosed it publically.
Working with an SEC Whistleblower Attorney
A whistleblower attorney could help someone during the process for filing SEC whistleblower claims with two major steps. One is in filing the TCR form and the others in claiming the award. Also, throughout that process, the SEC may want to be in contact with the whistleblower or at least determine whether there is more information from the whistleblower that might be supportive or other areas the whistleblower could point to help corroborate the allegation.
All through the process, especially when a whistleblower wishes to remain anonymous but still wants to help the SEC in pursuing the claim, the whistleblower would be in a position to do that. If an individual wants to know more, they should speak with a seasoned Washington DC whistleblower lawyer that could help.