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Key Highlights from the SEC’s 2015 Annual Whistleblower Report

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower released its yearly report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to Congress in November. The report includes a variety of information about the OWB’s various activities and payouts for the fiscal year 2015.

The following is some of the most interesting information found in the report:

  • Since the whistleblower program began in 2011, the SEC has paid more than $54 million in total awards to 22 whistleblowers.
  • Of that $54 million, $37 million came in 2015 alone. This included a record award of $30 million to a single whistleblower. Other awards issued in 2015 ranged from $325,000 to more than $3 million, including a $1 million award to a compliance officer, a $500,000 award to a former company officer and a $600,000 award in the first anti-retaliation case for the SEC.
  • The SEC stressed that the substantial growth of whistleblower tips it received in 2015 was due to improved public awareness of the whistleblower program. There was a 30 percent increase in total tips from 2012 to 2015, with the OWB receiving approximately 4,000 whistleblower tips in 2015. The most common types of insights received by the office were corporate disclosures and financials, offering fraud and manipulation. The state with by far the most complaints was California, with New York, Florida and Texas rounding out the top four.
  • The SEC brought its first enforcement action for employee confidentiality agreements in 2015 under SEC’s rule 21F-17.
  • In August, the SEC released its interpretive rule to help clarify exactly how a whistleblower is defined under the Dodd-Frank Act.

For more information on some of the most important steps taken and stories heard in 2015 in the world of whistleblower law, contact a knowledgeable Dallas lawyer at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

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  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.