The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) recently announced that it paid a whistleblower award of more than $22 million, when a whistleblower’s detailed tip and extensive assistance helped the SEC halt a well-hidden fraud at the company where the whistleblower worked. With that award, the SEC has now paid out more than $100 million to whistleblowers who have helped the agency investigate and prosecute securities fraud. This large award followed recently issued settlements with two publicly held companies for violating a Rule that prohibits companies (and others) from interfering with potential whistleblowers’ communications with the SEC staff, Rule 21F-17 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). In each case, the company involved paid substantial civil penalties. These recent activities highlight the value that the SEC places on its whistleblower program and serve as a wakeup call to publicly held companies to ensure that internal practices, policies and agreements do not contravene the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”).
In this blog, Nutter's Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits attorneys will provide updates on key developments and offer practical tips and best practices relating to executive compensation, employee benefits, and corporate governance matters.