Reckless activities and unfair play within the financial sector are unfortunately common and can significantly impact the economy around the country. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is responsible for overseeing transactions in this market and ensuring compliance with regulations.

Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, the SEC gained expanded abilities and scope. However, it still lacks the resources to investigate every possible occurrence of fraud or foul play. Luckily, individuals can serve as whistleblowers if they observe or become aware of any federal finance law violations. This act can often result in monetary awards that a skilled SEC whistleblower attorney can help attain.

If you believe you have relevant information, reach out to our firm to discuss the process of receiving Columbia SEC whistleblower awards.

Becoming a Whistleblower for the SEC

To file an SEC whistleblower complaint for awards in Columbia, an individual must first fill out a TCR (tip, complaint, or referral) form. This can be filled out using the SEC’s online system, and there are no fees associated with the process.

Filling out the form is relatively straightforward; however, having the assistance of legal counsel would allow a whistleblower to use their attorney’s contact information to protect their identity. In addition, having legal representation to help assemble their information and ensure the facts are presented correctly could increase the likelihood that the SEC will intervene in the case and distribute an award.

How Much is the Award for Whistleblowers?

To be eligible for a Columbia SEC whistleblower award, the individual’s tip has to meet specific criteria. The information must:

  • Be given voluntarily
  • Have details that the SEC does not already hold
  • Come from an original source
  • Lead to a successful action that results in monetary sanctions of at least $1 million

Typical awards range from 10 to 30 percent of the amount collected by the SEC and can include interest, penalties, and disgorgement. Attorneys can help maximize these benefits by entering into discussions with the SEC to advocate on behalf of the whistleblower.

Increases and Reductions in Award Amounts

Some of the factors that could increase the likelihood that the SEC will be more generous with a whistleblower award can include:

  • The quality of the documentation
  • The amount of risk to the relator
  • The egregiousness of the crime or fraud

On the opposite side, an award might be decreased if the individual unnecessarily delayed reporting or interfered with the company’s internal compliance regulations. It is important to note that the Columbia whistleblower’s culpability or involvement in the crime does not preclude a reward, but it is a factor that is taken into account by the SEC and can result in award reductions.

When to Expect the Award Amount

There is no way to estimate how long it might take to receive an award. There are many contributing factors and each case is unique. However, every whistleblower should be prepared for a lengthy process.

Enlist the Help of a Columbia Attorney to Seek SEC Whistleblower Awards

A knowledgeable attorney with experience handling whistleblower laws could gather the facts and provide guidance on whether individuals have a possible claim. In addition, they could give them insight on how to best present their information, and advocate on their behalf to protect their anonymity and maximize their potential Columbia SEC whistleblower awards.

Making a complaint against a colleague or employer can feel daunting. If you think you have information regarding a securities crime, reach out to Bill Nettles, Attorney at Law, today.

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