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Law Offices of Elizabeth “Booka” Smith, LLC Blog

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November 16, 2015: SEC Annual Report Reveals $37M in Bounty Awarded to SEC Whistleblowers in FY Ending 9/30/2015

On November 16, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission released its Annual Report revealing that in the last fiscal year
(ending 9/30/2015) SEC Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers were paid out roughly $37M in
bounty awards. The SEC bounty program, which was created by the Dodd-Frank Act
of 2010, requires the SEC to pay bounties to eligible whistleblowers who provide
the SEC with information that leads to an enforcement action resulting in over
$1M in combined sanctions. Under Dodd-Frank, the SEC is required to award
successful whistleblowers a minimum bounty of 10% of the total sanctions collected.
The SEC is allowed to exercise its discretion to award up to 30% in bounty in
cases where the whistleblower more substantially enhanced the enforcement
action. The SEC Annual Report notes that 3,900 reports were filed this past
fiscal year, and 120 whistleblowers requested bounty awards. The SEC confirmed
that not all bounty seekers received awards and added that “[i]n general, the
more specific, credible and timely a whistleblower tip, the more likely it is
that the tip will be forwarded to the [SEC] enforcement staff.” The number of
reports is up 8% from the prior fiscal year. The SEC attributes the increase in
tips to an upswing in complaints about corporate disclosures and financials, as
well as trading and pricing issues on unregistered securities. If you believe
your employer may be violating the SEC rules and regulations, and/or the
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, CONTACT US to schedule an initial consultation
to evaluate the likelihood of receipt of a bounty award and to discuss legal
representation designed to maximize the amount of any bounty award.

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