On September 14, 2016, SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney spoke at the Sixteenth Annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference about the SEC’s whistleblower program. His remarks covered issues from the impact of the whistleblower program on the Agency to the role of whistleblower attorneys as they help their clients navigate the investigative and claims process.
“I cannot overstate the appreciation we have for the willingness of whistleblowers to come forward with evidence of potential securities law violations. I often speak of the transformative impact that the program has had on the Agency, both in terms of the detection of illegal conduct and in moving our investigations forward quicker and through the use of fewer resources,” Ceresney stated.
Ceresney touched on the importance of company insiders as whistleblowers. “Current or former employees are often best positioned to witness wrongdoing and may hold the key to helping our investigators unlock intricate fraudulent schemes and investigate the full extent of violations.”
In addition, Ceresney discussed the role of experience whistleblower attorneys who are able to counsel their clients through the whistleblower process at the SEC. He said that the involvement of counsel in whistleblower tips is welcomed by the Agency. And that whistleblower attorneys can “help with up-front triage of tips to identify those that have a nexus with the federal securities laws and that may have merit.” Whistleblower attorneys can also play an important role in managing “client expectations regarding the length of [SEC] investigations and the length of the awards process.”
Cerenseny gave a general message to whistleblowers, “report as soon as you learn of misconduct, as you never know whether someone else will report, whether the information will become stale, or whether the statute of limitations will run.”