There is information and then there is information. This may be a cliché, but for a potential whistleblower and certainly under the SEC Whistleblower Law, this time the cliché is true. While all information (if original) can lead to a cash award as a SEC whistleblower incentive, to maximize the cash reward amount, a whistleblower's information should be thorough, well thought-out, and should be presented to the SEC in a form that is actionable. Here are some ways that an SEC Whistleblower can maximize their cash reward:
SEC whistleblower incentives: Providing Documents and Supporting Materials
Documents that memorialize or shed light on potential corporate fraud are important elements of proving to the SEC that the fraud actually occurred. Practically too, supporting your submission with documentation helps your submission relative to the hundreds and thousands of other submissions. A whistleblower attorney should be able to help you prepare your documentation for filing with the SEC, all in an effort to maximize the SEC whistleblower incentives awarded to you.
SEC whistleblower incentives: Providing the Location of Documents and Supporting Materials
Should you elect to become a whistleblower, the SEC is not expecting you to have all the relevant documentation. This is simply impractical. One tool you should consider is providing a list of locations where the SEC can find relevant documents and a concise statement of the documents located at each location. These locations can include the physical address of storage facilities, locations within an office such as filing cabinets (even down to the person’s office where the filing cabinets are located), and even specific computers where emails, documents and other information may reside. The SEC has broad powers to subpoena documents and records from a corporation and pointing the SEC to the best locations can aid in the SEC investigation and help maximize your SEC whistleblower incentives.
SEC whistleblower incentives: Providing a List of Potential Witnesses
A SEC whistleblower should also consider providing a list of potential witnesses to the SEC along with a brief description of those people’s involvement and knowledge of the alleged securities fraud. Here too is where a seasoned whistleblower attorney should be able to help. A trained attorney should be able to ask you the right questions during a meeting prior to filing with the SEC that generates an important list of witnesses for the case.
SEC Whistleblowers Should Not Engage in Illegal Activity
It is worth stating that as a whistleblower you are not Magnum PI and the SEC Whistleblower Law does not empower you to become the next Jason Bourne. Do not snoop through a fellow employee’s hard drive or attempt to access information from locations within the company that you are not authorized to access. Do not violate the law or company policies. Your whistleblower attorney can address any questions you have about the scope of the documents that you can lawfully access.