Think you don’t need a lawyer to file an SEC whistleblower case? Think again. The SEC has released new figures from its nascent whistleblower program and the results are disappointing but improving.
Since the formation of the SEC Whistleblower Office in 2011, the agency has received over 14,000 tips. In that time, just 35 awards have been paid out. Based on these numbers, if you do the math, you have just over a .2 chance of receiving an award. Twenty three one hundredths of one percent.
Why would anyone even bother filing a whistleblower claim with odds this low?
First, when the SEC does make a payout, the awards are huge. The 32 successful whistleblowers received $85,000,000.00. That is an average of almost $3 million per whistleblower. Not a bad day for doing the right thing.
Second, the SEC is getting better. In the first couple years of the program the agency was still investigating and learning how to administer the new law. Now that the agency has a few years experience under its belt, awards are trending up.
Probably the biggest reason why there have not been more awards is the nature of the tips and how they are presented. The overwhelming majority of whistleblowers try to file a claim without the help of a lawyer. Unless you have significant investigative and prosecutorial experience, it is hard to properly present a claim.
Overworked SEC staff don’t have time to investigate every claim. If you want your claim to be understood and useable by government lawyers, you need to think and write like one. Busy prosecutors are always going to pick a well organized and investigated complaint over an unorganized mass of documents.
Another reason to have a lawyer involved in your SEC whistleblower submission is retaliation. Although retaliation is against the law, some companies try to make examples out of employees or former employees who dare to blow the whistle. Just having a lawyer can stem any problems before they even happen.
If you are worried about paying an attorney, don’t be. The better SEC whistleblower lawyers mostly charge on a contingent fee basis. That means they don’t get paid unless you get paid. By having skin in the game.
MahanyLaw and the SEC Whistleblower Program
The whistleblower lawyers at MahanyLaw prosecute all types of whistleblower cases. It isn’t an after thought or side practice. Rather, it is what we do. Our clients have already received over $100 million in awards.
Not only have we been successful, we have a great team to help insure the success of your case. Attorney Brian Mahany is a former law enforcement officer (agent) and assistant attorney general (prosecutor). He knows how to build a case and present it so that the SEC can simply take over. The firm also uses three former SEC Enforcement Division lawyers to help make our cases even better.
Despite the apparent low statistical odds of prosecution, having the right team in place to investigate and present your SEC whistleblower case can make all the difference in the world. Having the right lawyers is also critical should you find yourself the victim of whistleblower retaliation.
For more information, please contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept strictly confidential.
MahanyLaw – SEC Whistleblower Lawyers