As part of the Dodd-Frank Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was required to establish a whistleblower rewards program. The SEC Whistleblower Program implements the law’s requirement that the Commission pay whistleblowers, including anonymous SEC whistleblowers whose original information results in a sanction of $1 million or more a monetary reward.
What steps must be taken to file an anonymous claim?
The anonymity provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act work like this:
- If you want to file an anonymous reward claim, you must hire an attorney.
- You thereafter have to file the information for which you will base your reward on an official SEC complaint form known as a TCR. That form must be signed by the whistleblower, under oath.
- However, instead of filing the TCR with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the whistleblower submits the signed TCR to his or her attorney. The attorney must also obtain proof of the anonymous SEC whistleblower’ identity, usually through a copy of the whistleblower’s passport or driver’s license. The attorney must maintain a copy of the signed-reward form and the identity papers. The attorney is under an ethical obligation to maintain the identity of his or her client, unless the client waives that right.
- Thereafter, the attorney fill out another TCR form, with the precise information provided by the whistleblower, signs the form, and files the form on behalf of the whistleblower. In this way the SEC only knows the identity of the whistleblower’s attorney, and the identity of the anonymous SEC whistleblower remains confidential.
- By having the attorney sign the TCR form the SEC can help prevent fraudulent filings, hold the attorney accountable for any misconduct or false statement, and also maintain a credible point-of-contact permitting the SEC to communicate with the whistleblower through his or her attorney.
- The whistleblower can maintain his or her anonymity throughout the investigation. However, once the SEC sanctions a company for over $1 million, the whistleblower is required to file a new form, known as the APP form, in order to request the payment of a reward.
- At the time an APP form is filed, the SEC can require that the identity of the whistleblower be provided, and can require proof that the whistleblower provided to his or her attorney the signed TCR form and proof of identity prior to the attorney’s filing the reward claim.
Where can I obtain more information on the Dodd-Frank Act or the SEC Whistleblower Program?
The New Whistleblower’s Handbook contains extensive information on the Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower protections, including extensive information on the Security and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower rules. Rule 1 covers confidentiality and anonymity; Rule 8 covers the reward provisions of the Securities and Commodity Exchange Acts, Rule 9 covers the reward provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and Checklist —- includes an extensive Q&A on the entire SEC whistleblower rewards or qui tam program.
For a tax deductible donation of $50.00 or more, you can obtain a free copy of the Handbook from the National Whistleblower Center.
Where can I obtain legal assistance in filing a Dodd-Frank Act or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act whistleblower case? Or any claim under the SEC whistleblower program?
Please fill out one of the law firm’s intake forms describing your case.
Message from SEC Chairman Gary Gensler