Wall Street’s Future Under New SEC Whistleblower Law

There are two major provisions of the new law passed last month that will give new bite to the SEC whistleblower program. The Act entitles secruties fraud whistleblowers to recovery upto 30% of the SEC recoveries for original information prompting any “judicial or administrative action brought by the commission under the securities laws resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000.” Harry Markpolis, the Madoff whistleblower who received nothing for uncovering $50 billion in fraud, could have received over $1.5 billion for his trouble . The new sections of the Dadd-Frank Act also expand the scope and types of fraud applicable. Before the SEC paid awards on information concerning insider trading fraud, now it would, for example, be applicable to foreign corrupt practices investigations such as brides paid abroad. This new area is expected to yield significant sums to whistleblowers because the level of violations of securities laws abroad is so high. The second major aspect of the law is that the whistleblower’s identity may be protected and held confidential if the whistleblower reports original info to the SEC and through his or her attorney. Although it is not clear how the new law will affect Wall Street, it is projected that many publicly traded companies will be affected, particularly multinationals which are used to engaging in wrongdoing because it can be hidden through shell companies. Stay tuned.