The SEC published its 2015 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program. The report indicates the SEC received 3,923 tips in fiscal year 2015, compared to 3,620 tips in fiscal year 2014. From fiscal year 2012, the first year for which the SEC has full-year data, to fiscal year 2015, the number of whistleblower tips received by the Commission has grown more than 30%.
In separate testimony before Congress, SEC Chair Mary Jo White said “The SEC’s Whistleblower program continues to have a transformative impact on our enforcement program. The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower is currently tracking over 700 matters in which a whistleblower’s tip has caused a matter under investigation or an investigation to be opened, or which have been forwarded to Enforcement staff for consideration in connection with an existing investigation.”
Of note is the amount of time the SEC spends on spurious whistleblower claims for awards. According to the report, one individual filed 25 claims where the claimant knowingly and willfully made false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements. This individual’s claims for award failed to include even a remote factual nexus to the covered actions for which the individual applied. SEC staff repeatedly explained to the claimant the rules governing the whistleblower program and the deficiencies of the claimant’s submissions. The claimant, however, refused to withdraw any of the award claims. Further, the claimant’s submission of frivolous claims harmed the rights of legitimate whistleblowers and hindered the Commission’s implementation of the whistleblower program by, among other things, delaying the Commission’s ability to finalize meritorious awards to other claimants and consuming significant staff resources.