In July 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a new program for government and corporate sector employees that allowed them to safely provide information about possible fraud and other illegal activities they have witnessed or heard about. This program is part of the financial reform bill passed last year. So far, the new program has received only 168 complaints and tips. This number represents complaints and tips through February 2011, reports a New York Criminal Lawyer. But this number much lower than expected considering other whistleblower groups such as the National Whistleblowers Center and the whistleblower program run by the Department of Justice which receive hundreds of tips and complaints each year.
The National Whistleblowers Center provides informants with legal representation while the Department of Justice offers financial compensation to those that come forward. The SEC also offers financial compensation to those who choose to provide investigators with tips and other information. Informants may earn up to 30% of all monies collected in penalties or lawsuits that total more than 1 million dollars.
Specific rules governing how government and corporate sector employees file a complaint with the SEC may explain why many are hesitant to do so. Many government agencies and companies require employees to first file a complaint or provide tips through internal whistleblower programs first before filing their complaint with the SEC, says a Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer. Employees may be hesitant to file complaints with the SEC if they have to go through several agencies to do so. Filing multiple complaints may jeopardize their careers or create unwanted tension in the workplace.
The SEC will release its final rules governing the whistleblower program in April. It is expected that these rules will be met with some opposition as the SEC strives to relax the rules concerning the procedures for filing complaints or providing tips.
In addition to the SEC whistleblower program, the Department of Justice whistleblower program and the National Whistleblowers Center, other programs aimed at providing a safe place for informants to report possible fraud and other illegal activities are being formed by lawyers and others. Some offer financial compensation while others offer legal representation. Increasing the number of tips and complaints is the goal of the SEC whistleblower program as government funding is needed to keep the program running.
If you have been charged with fraud or white collar crime, speak with Stephen Bilkis and Associates for guidance and a free consultation. We have offices located throughout New York including locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and State Island. We also have locations in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island, as well as Westchester County.