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Become an SEC Whistleblower – Remaining Confidential and Reporting Anonymously to the SEC

One of the most frequent questions raised when contemplating becoming an SEC whistleblower is whether a whistleblower can report anonymously and whether they can remain confidential. As a reporter of potential multimillion-dollar frauds committed by powerful companies, potential whistleblowers may fear retaliation by the wrongdoer, may be concerned about publication of private and personal information, and sometimes fear liability for very conduct they are reporting.

The SEC is Required to Keep Your Identity Confidential Once You Report

As a general rule, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(h)(2)(A) provides that, subject to several exceptions, the SEC “shall not disclose any information, including information provided by a whistleblower to the [SEC], which could reasonably be expected to reveal the identity of a whistleblower.” This applies regardless of whether you report your tip to the SEC anonymously or not.

Exceptions include disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity in connection with a federal court case or administrative action brought by the SEC or disclosure to another government agency to accomplish the purposes of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and to protect investors. However, other government agencies that receive this information are also required to maintain confidentiality. Our SEC experienced attorneys help protect you and keep you anonymous.

You must be represented by an attorney in order to submit a whistleblower tip anonymously.

As an anonymous whistleblower, in order to be eligible for an award, the SEC requires you to be represented by an attorney in connection with your submission. In addition to the Tips, Complaints and Referrals form (Form TCR) required of all whistleblowers whether anonymous or not, the attorney representing the anonymous whistleblower must submit a certification that the attorney has:

  • Verified your identity;
  • Reviewed your completed and signed Form TCR for completeness, accuracy, and truth; and
  • Obtained your non-waivable consent to provide the SEC with your Form TCR in the event the SEC requests it due to concerns that that it is in some way false or fraudulent.

In addition to these basic requirements, whistleblowers should consult with an attorney to investigate and evaluate their claims. A whistleblower attorney will also work with you to submit your Form TCR in a format best suited to encourage the SEC to investigate the misconduct. A whistleblower attorney will also help guide you through the investigatory process in the event the SEC decides to follow up on a tip. Silver Law Group is experienced in representing whistleblowers throughout this process and has previously written about the advantages of being represented by an experienced whistleblower attorney. Also, our attorneys, in appropriate cases, can represent you in employment disputes in court or FINRA arbitration.

Pros and Cons of Remaining Anonymous

Some potential whistleblowers are concerned about disclosure of their private information or fear retaliation by the company they seek to blow the whistle on. This is especially true when a potential whistleblower seeks to blow the whistle on their own employer.

However, the SEC receives thousands of tips every year and lacks the resources to investigate all of them. While not true in every case, knowing a whistleblower’s identity and position as it relates the fraud being reported may lend needed credibility to a tip, which may encourage the SEC to take further action.

Additionally, if the SEC decides to conduct an in-depth investigation into the reported conduct, the SEC will likely request additional information from the whistleblower and the whistleblower’s attorney to assist in the investigation. Notably, a whistleblower’s level of cooperativeness with the SEC often plays a role in the amount of the ultimate award. Nevertheless, when a whistleblower remains anonymous, this imposes significant hurdles to the SEC’s attempts to conduct interviews of and gather information from the whistleblower, compared to communicating directly. The law protects whistleblowers and a brokerage firm or other company cannot retaliate because you reported fraud. Our attorneys frequently represent whistleblowers in employment disputes and have significant experience in court and securities arbitration.

Contact an Experienced Whistleblower Attorney Today

Silver Law Group is a securities and investment fraud law firm experienced in representing SEC whistleblowers. The SEC whistleblower process is complex and demands the advice and counsel of experienced securities attorneys in order to successfully navigate the process and the encourage SEC to take action and issue a whistleblower award. If you have information that may qualify you as an SEC whistleblower, contact Silver Law Group for a confidential consultation toll free at (800) 975-4345 or email ssilver@silverlaw.com.

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