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What Is "Original Information" in an SEC Whistleblower Tip?

Discovering that your employer, colleague, supervisor, company, or anyone for that matter, is defrauding investors or committing any other type of securities violations can put you in a tough spot. If you are an employee, you also risk retaliation for coming forward and reporting your findings internally or to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Fortunately, the SEC recognizes how valuable whistleblowers are to stopping investment fraud and will often reward whistleblowers for their efforts. However, the requirements for being issued such an award are strict, and in some cases, a little confusing. 

For this reason, we have gone into further detail about what it means to provide the SEC with an original tip, one of the criteria for award-winning whistleblowers. We also go over the other requirements you’ll need to meet to win a whistleblower award below.

How to Know if Your Tip Is Original

One of the requirements for being issued a whistleblower award is that your tip need to be original. This means, first, that you be the first whistleblower to report a specific piece of information to the SEC. 

If you and another colleague, for example, both discovered the same information, but your colleague reported the tip to the SEC first, they will be the one able to obtain a whistleblower award.

Furthermore, the information that you provide to the SEC needs to have come from a source that has yet to be made public. Public information might include something you saw on the news, on social media, or was otherwise easily accessible information. 

Acceptable sources could include office gossip, confidential internal documents, financial reports, witnessing something first-hand, or anything else that cannot be accessed by the general public. If each of these components have been met, you have an original tip. 

Other Qualifying Whistleblower Award Criteria

But, an original tip isn’t the only requirement you’ll need to meet. Potential award-winning whistleblowers will also have met the following criteria:

  • Coming forward with tips voluntarily

  • Enforceable action being taken against the violating individual or corporation

  • The SEC recovering sanctions in excess of $1 million

How valuable your information was to the eventual success of the SEC’s investigation will play a part in how much your whistleblower award will amount to. If it is determined that you are entitled to a whistleblower award, you could take home anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the amount the SEC is able to recover in sanctions.

Contact an Experienced SEC Whistleblower Attorney

If you believe that you have pertinent information regarding possible securities violations and are considering reporting your tip to the SEC, reach out to a reputable SEC whistleblower lawyer at Meissner Associates. When you are ready to schedule your confidential tip assessment at our firm, you can find us online or give our office a call at 1-866-764-3100.

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About the Author:

Meissner Associates

When people have knowledge of securities fraud and inadequate corporate disclosures, they come to Meissner Associates to blow the whistle and tip off the SEC. Our firm’s founder, Stuart Meissner, helped craft the rules that reward whistleblowers, giving us in-depth, firsthand knowledge of how to protect whistleblowers and get them the best financial reward for their information.We can provide representation for a number of different whistleblowing matters:SEC whistleblowingCFTC whistleblowingFCPA whistleblowingExposing securities fraudReporting insider tradingMeissner Associates can also assist in recovering losses caused by broker mismanagement and misconduct when at least $100,000 in... View full business profile here: Meissner Associates

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