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“Is it the trader at a desk on Wall Street who knows someone a few seats over, a colleague who got an inside tip and illegally acted on that knowledge? That’s certainly possible. It might also be an angry spouse, a vigilant journalist or an executive assistant.
Virtually anyone can be an SEC whistleblower. Even you.”
With few exclusions or qualifications, any individual or group of individuals, regardless of citizenship, can participate in the SEC whistleblower program. It doesn’t matter whether an SEC whistleblower is a corporate insider or outsider. What matters is that whistleblowers voluntarily provide the SEC with original information about possible securities violations not otherwise known to the Commission. This information can be derived from whistleblowers’ independent knowledge, or their independent analysis of publicly available information. While being an eyewitness or having evidence of a securities violation is ideal, it is not required. SEC whistleblowers may learn about wrongdoing through their business relationships or social interactions; even bartenders, hair stylists and personal trainers are eligible to receive a monetary award if they learn about possible securities violations from their clients. By design, the SEC whistleblower program deputizes virtually every company employee, outside vendor, and customer to serve as the Commission’s eyes and ears.
Last year, the SEC reported that 80% of whistleblower submissions came from insiders. Our experience is not far off: about 75% of our whistleblower clients were employed by the defendant company. Over the years, we have represented several prominent analysts, forensic accountants, and journalists. For example, as featured in a recent Reuters article, we represented two financial analysts that successfully exposed significant accounting violations at Orthofix International. So no matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, you no longer have to remain silent about possible securities violations.