What Are the Risks of Becoming an SEC Whistleblower?

The Securities and Exchanges Commission runs a robust Whistleblower program that promises whistleblowers huge rewards for providing information that can lead to successful convictions of bad actors in the entire securities market. Whistleblowers can also be assured of getting protection from federal authorities, in addition to the financial rewards.

While there are many benefits of becoming a whistleblower, there are also risks. Every potential whistle blower needs to weigh all the benefits against the risks before deciding to become an informant for the feds.

Benefits of Becoming a Whistleblower

The main benefit of becoming an SEC whistleblower is obviously the financial reward you will get if the whistleblower lawsuit is successful. Usually, whistleblowers are entitled to cash rewards of fifteen to twenty-five percent of financial sanctions recovered by the feds. In a case involving tens of millions of dollars, the whistleblower can get millions of dollars in cash rewards for providing the SEC with information that can lead to successful prosecution of the suspected bad actor.

This is a life-changing financial reward. Between 2011 to 2016 alone, the SEC made a total payout of a whopping $154 million in rewards to whistleblowers. As you can see, being a whistleblower can be financially rewarding, so if you have come across something at your workplace that is illegal, you should not hesitate to get in touch with the SEC.

Secondly, corruption and fraud costs taxpayers, innocent investors, and the government billions of dollars every year. Since the SEC cannot act as the corruption and securities fraud watchdog alone, whistleblowers play a crucial role in ensuring we have a sound financial and securities market.

If you have information about fraud or corruption in the securities market, you should do the right thing by providing the authorities with the information they need to prosecute bad actors in the industry. By doing the right thing, you can have peace of mind. In addition to that, you will avoid getting prosecuted together with your employer. After all, you may be charged alongside your boss as an accomplice if you knew what they were doing was wrong and you failed to report the problem to the authorities. By blowing the whistle, you will absolve yourself of any blame and help in the prosecution of the wrongdoer.

What Are the Risks of Becoming an SEC Whistleblower?

As mentioned earlier, there are risks that come with blowing the whistle. While the feds usually do everything to protect the identity of the whistleblower, the subject of the investigation may come to discover who blew the whistle, based on the information the feds have. Once they do, they can take adverse actions against the whistleblower. The following are some of risks of being a whistleblower:

Retaliation

Your employer can retaliate against you in several ways once they discover you snitched. For starters, they may get you fired. While it is illegal for employers to fire a worker for simply blowing the whistle, employers can offer negative performance reviews for some time and fire the whistleblower for failing to meet targets or for performing poorly during performance reviews.

Damaged Reputation

Since most employers usually have significant clout in the industry, they can make sure that the whistleblower never gets a decent job in the same sector again, especially within the same city or state. This is because your reputation may be damaged by the whistleblowing.

Threat to Your Life

In previous cases, there have been instances where whistleblowers have been physically threatened by suspects. In fact, there is a case where the braking system of a whistleblower was compromised and resulted in a crash. Others have received threatening phone calls, even from colleagues. Fortunately, the feds have sufficient resources to protect whistleblowers before, during, and after whistleblower lawsuits. If you are thinking about becoming a whistleblower, be sure to look for an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney to guide you in the process.

Sources:

  1. https://sfmagazine.com/post-entry/august-2015-whistleblowers-take-big-risks/
  2. http://blowthewhistle.com/financial-risks-benefits-bringing-whistleblower-lawsuit-fca-sec-irs-etc/
SEC whistleblower attorney https://www.secwhistleblowerattorney.net/sec-whistleblower-lawyer/