The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) exists to help ensure compliance with federal banking and investment laws to protect investors. They also have the power to set and enforce rules and regulations surrounding the marketing and trading of securities. However, the SEC lacks the resources to investigate every potential source of financial fraud and relies on tips and information given by individuals known as whistleblowers.
A whistleblower is an individual who voluntarily provides the government with original information regarding a violation of federal securities laws that has occurred, will occur, or is currently underway. If you have questions regarding the requirements for an SEC whistleblower case in Columbia, contact our firm to speak with a qualified SEC whistleblower attorney today.
Qualifying as a whistleblower is relatively straightforward. One of the essential requirements for an SEC whistleblower case in Columbia is that the information given must be considered original. This means an individual cannot simply research details that are already publicly available and attempt to pass them off as new. Instead, it has to be information that they have derived on their own from independent knowledge or witnessing illegal acts that have or will occur through business or social interactions. In addition, this information must not already be known to the SEC, it must be provided voluntarily, and must lead to successful enforcement action.
Information is voluntarily given when a person comes forward to law enforcement or the SEC of their own accord. For example, individuals cannot respond to a subpoena and later claim that they voluntarily provided the information to the government. Reports must be made before they are demanded through legal process. However, if the investigation was directed towards an employer or another person within the company and not the individual coming forward, their status would not be affected.
It is important to note, however, that a Columbia employee’s status within the company can potentially affect whether their information is considered original and meets the requirements for an SEC whistleblower case. For example, an officer, director, or compliance liaison of a corporation who learns of securities fraud through someone else internally reporting it to them would not be considered the original source of the information.
On the other hand, if an individual brings the issue to the company’s attention and they fail to act on it, not only could that individual report it to the correct agency as original information but there may also be an increase in the reward amount.
In addition, if the information was not acquired firsthand, it would also not be considered eligible. This would be the case if someone overhears a colleague reporting fraudulent activity to a supervisor.
The SEC relies on whistleblowers to come forward with information to help them limit the amount of illegal activity and fraud that occurs within the financial sector. While it may seem like an intimidating task, especially for individuals who are employed by corporations committing crimes, coming forward can lead to enticing rewards through writs of Qui Tam.
A knowledgeable attorney could help those who wish to cooperate protect their identities and maximize their payment amounts. For more information and to find out if you meet the requirements for an SEC whistleblower case in Columbia, contact Bill Nettles, Attorney at Law, today for a consultation.