SEC & Financial Industry Fraud Whistleblower News
2015 Enforcement Results Announced by SEC
October 22nd, 2015
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it has continued to build a strong record of unique cases across the full spectrum of the securities industry. If you have insider knowledge of fraudulent activity, qui tam lawyer James Ratner can help determine if you should become a whistleblower.
The report states that in fiscal year 2015 (ending in September), the SEC filed 807 enforcement actions, compared to 755 in 2014. A total of $4.2 billion dollars was obtained through disgorgement and penalties, covering a wide range of misconduct. Of 2015’s enforcement actions, a record 507 were independent actions, while 300 were either against delinquent SEC filing issuers or individuals with civil injunctions, criminal convictions or other orders.
Some of the topics covered by the SEC Overview of Fiscal Year 2015 include:
- Accountability: 10 attorneys and 14 accountants were charged for aiding in microcap fraud.
- Ensuring fair operation: Obtained the largest penalty to date, $20.3 million, against an alternate trading system which operated a secret trading desk.
- Data and Analysis Innovation: Through the use of innovative analytical tools, the SEC rooted out and froze more than $70 million dollars, and obtained a $30 million settlement from an alleged scheme to profit from hacked information.
- Uncovering investment misconduct: Brought a “first-ever” action against a private equity advisor related to the firm’s misallocation of more than $17 million.
- Standing up for whistleblowers: In fiscal year 2015, the SEC program awarded eight whistleblowers with approximately $38 million in total rewards.
Delay in SEC Qui Tam Relator Awards
May 26th, 2015
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the slow progress of qui tam financial fraud awards under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and other statutes. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been slow to act, leaving many New York whistleblowers waiting for an outcome. Experts are concerned that long wait times will discourage future tipsters and undermine the law.The Process Takes Time
While the SEC whistleblower program has reported awards of more than $50 million, many whistleblowers report waiting more than two years for the process to complete, and there is no formal timelines for how long it can take. According to the Wall Street Journal article, 247 (83%) of the 297 award claims filed since 2011 are still awaiting a decision. While whistleblowers are eligible to receive as much as 30% of the penalties awarded, long delays could limit the number of people willing to come forward. Still, the WSJ reports that awards have increased each year since Dodd-Frank was instituted, and more than 600 investigations have been initiated.
If you are thinking of bringing evidence of wrongdoing by your employer out of a sense of morality or the need to speak up about wrongdoing, please contact The Law Office of James T. Ratner using the form at the left of the page or call toll-free (845) 383-1728 today. We have more than 15 years experience representing whistleblowers in New York and nationwide.
How Money Laundering in Banks Really Happens
February 28th, 2015
The USA Patriot Act requires financial institutions to follow anti-money laundering procedures, like specific customer identification requirements, so how does money laundering still happen? The obvious answer is that banks don't follow regulations.
One of the biggest issues is banks facilitating criminal activity by assisting with the receipt or payment of a bribe or helping in acts of tax evasion, such as the HSBC actions that have recently come to light. HSBC is a banking giant that helped wealthy clients from around the world evade hundreds of millions in taxes.
HSBC has blamed having adequate controls in the past, but it is facing criminal investigations in the US, Belgium, France, and Argentina for its actions.
These are the kind of issues you can help put an end to as a whistleblower. You can help keep financial institutions honest by reporting their egregious disregard for financial regulations.
Do you have evidence of money laundering in banks? Call the Law Office of James T. Ratner today at (845) 383-1728 for your confidential consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney in New York. James Ratner represents whistleblower clients nationwide.
What is insider trading?
September 29th, 2014
There’s no shortage of media coverage of insider trading. Although insider trading is an independent federal crime, it can also potentially be the reported to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower. Call us today at (845) 383-1728 to schedule a free consultation.
Insider trading refers to trading the stock, bonds, or other securities of a publicly traded company based on information that is not publicly available. It’s illegal, and it is a form of securities fraud. Anyone who uses their position within a company, or their relationship with someone who has access to insider information, to gain an unfair advantage over other traders is in violation of federal law.
The United States has some of the world’s strictest insider trading regulations. In the U.S., insiders include
- Corporate officers
- Corporate directors
- Stockholders who hold more than 10 percent of a company’s securities
However, an insider need not be directly affiliated with a corporation to be culpable. If one has a relationship (friendship, marriage, familial connection, etc.) with someone who has access to nonpublic information, and uses that information to gain an unfair advantage, then he or she is considered an insider under the law.
SEC bans annoying whistleblower
July 2nd, 2014
The Securities and Exchange Commission banned a user from its whistleblower program last month. The unnamed individual had submitted nearly 200 applications in the previous four years, apparently in an attempt to cash in on the SEC’s practice of rewarding those who supply “high quality original information that leads to a Commission enforcement action in which over $1,000,000 in sanctions is ordered.”
According to the SEC, the anonymous would-be whistleblower had submitted so many meritless applications for awards that “significant staff resources” were being devoted to processing the bogus claims.
The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower noted that the individual in question “knowingly and willingly made false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to the Commission over a course of years and continues to do so.”
The whistleblower program was established in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform act of 2010. Whistleblowers are important links in the fight against corruption and fraud. If you blow the whistle on a fraudulent scheme, the government can reward you with a percentage of the recovered money.
If you believe your employer is defrauding the government, or if you’ve witnessed fraud taking place, you may be able to collect a qui tam reward. Please contact whistleblower attorney James T. Ratner at (845) 383-1728 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
First whistleblower award from SEC in 2014
June 27th, 2014
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission awarded its first whistleblower reward in the first week of June. The award was given to two anonymous individuals, each receiving $437,500.
The combined award totals $875,000 and represents 30 percent of the sanctions received from the guilty party. This is the maximum allowable award under the law. The largest SEC whistleblower award to date is $14 million in October 2013.
By law, the names of the award recipients remain anonymous. The SEC also did not disclose any details regarding the nature of the case.
Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform act of 2010 to protect whistleblowers. Whistleblowers are vital in the fight against corruption and fraud. Whistleblowers who bring a fraudulent scheme to light are eligible to receive a percentage of the recovered money from the U.S. government.
The SEC received more than 3,000 tips in 2013 on top of another 3,000 in 2012. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission operates a similar but separate rewards program.
If you are aware of schemes to defraud taxpayers, you may be able to collect a reward. Please contact whistleblower attorney James T. Ratner at (845) 383-1728 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.