You’ve probably heard the term whistleblower before, and you might even know what it means. After all, if someone in your company or organization is stealing money, files, or sensitive information, it makes sense that the people who catch them should be applauded. And if they bring this information to the authorities? That’s just good citizenship. But how does it all work? Whistleblower lawyers have an important role to play in exposing corruption and making sure everything gets back on track with employees, companies, and clients alike.
Over the years, the SEC has awarded over 1 billion dollars to whistleblowers. Recently, the SEC awarded three whistleblowers about $1 million each for coming forward. The first case involved a securities law violation. The second case and the third case each gave information that led to the opening of cases. The whistleblowers also continued to help the SEC after first reporting what they learned.
The money paid to whistleblowers actually comes from a fund set up by Congress that is financed solely by those who have paid SEC violations over the years. According to the SEC, whistleblowers are awarded when they provide information that leads to an enforceable action. Awards generally range from 10% to 30% of the money collected from the actions, IF the sanctions exceed $1 million.
As you may have noticed, there’s not a lot of information provided on these three cases. The public is just alerted that three cases occurred. This is to protect the identities of the whistleblowers.
How a Whistleblower Lawyer Can Help
If you have witnessed fraud or corruption, you may be wondering how to expose it. One way to do this is to contact a whistleblower lawyer. A whistleblower lawyer can help you by filing a claim with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC is responsible for investigating securities fraud. If your claim is successful, you may be eligible for a monetary award. These awards are designed to incentivize individuals who come forward with credible information about illegal activities in order to bring those people and companies that break the law to justice.
What You Need as a Whistleblower
To have a successful case, a whistleblower needs non-public information about a company’s illegal activity. This could be evidence of fraud, waste, or abuse. They also need to be able to show that this information is not already public knowledge. In addition, the whistleblower must be able to prove that they are an employee or former employee of the company in question. Finally, they must be willing to come forward with their information and testify if necessary. When these requirements are met, whistleblowers can have a successful case.
Stay Safe as a Whistleblower
When you come forward with information about potential wrongdoing, you’re taking a brave and potentially dangerous step. Here are some tips to help you stay safe as a whistleblower:
- Keep evidence safe. If you have physical evidence of wrongdoing, keep it in a safe place where it can’t be tampered with or destroyed.
- Don’t go public until you’re ready. Once you’ve decided to come forward, don’t go public until you’re sure you’re ready to deal with the potential consequences.
- Choose your words carefully. When you do go public, be strategic about what you say and how you say it. Avoid making any statements that could be construed as libelous or slanderous.
- Find a lawyer you trust.