The whistleblower program was introduced by U.S. security and exchange commission (SEC). The program was launched in July 2010 when President Obama assented to the Wall Street reform and consumer protection act.
The act introduced a whistleblower reward program which is run by a retired high ranking enforcement attorney for security and exchange commissions. The rewards are offered to individuals who report or submit tips about companies or individuals that violate the exchange commodity act.
The SEC rewards whistleblowers using 10 to 30 collectable sanctions. The sanctions are convertible to a specific monetary value that is paid from an investor protection fund run by SEC.
The whistleblower program works through the following steps:
1. The intake stage: In this stage, a whistleblower makes a submission to SEC. SEC then makes preliminary review to determine whether further investigations to the subject shall be conducted. If the office of the market intelligence (OMI) establishes that a submission warrant for more investigation, the office assigns the complaint to one of its regional offices.
If the office determines that a complaint requires no further investigation, the complaint is then designated as no further action (NFA). The whistleblower has a right to appeal the decision to classify his or her complaint as an NFA.
2. Tracking stage: In this step, the office in charge of the whistleblower assigns a staff member to monitor the progress of the investigative officer assigned to the submissions. The office also makes follow ups to ensure that the complainant is compliant with SEC’s terms. It also reviews the helpfulness of the information they have provided. The office also files and ensures safekeeping of the documents required to award whistleblowers.
3. Claiming the award: A whistleblower can claim a monetary award if the information he or she provided made a significant contribution to investigations or lead to a successful SEC action against the accused. If the monetary value of the sanctions claimed exceed $1 million, the whistleblower could receive the money as per stipulated in the awarding criteria.
A whistleblower has up to three months to claim his/her award by submitting a WB-APP application. The notice date and the due date of an award is displayed at the office of the whistleblowers website.
Since its inception, various awards have been paid out to whistleblowers. The awards range from tens of thousands to more than ten million dollars. When approving the disbursement of awards, the office of the whistleblower recommends including a package for the staff that handled the claim reviews.