§ 240.21F-10 - Procedures for making a claim for a whistleblower award in SEC actions that result in monetary sanctions in excess of $1,000,000.
(a) Whenever a Commission action results in monetary sanctions totaling more than $1,000,000, the Office of the Whistleblower will cause to be published on the Commission's Web site a “Notice of Covered Action.” Such Notice will be published subsequent to the entry of a final judgment or order that alone, or collectively with other judgments or orders previously entered in the Commission action, exceeds $1,000,000; or, in the absence of such judgment or order subsequent to the deposit of monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000 into a disgorgement or other fund pursuant to Section 308(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. A claimant will have ninety (90) days from the date of the Notice of Covered Action to file a claim for an award based on that action, or the claim will be barred.
(b) To file a claim for a whistleblower award, you must file Form WB-APP (as specified in § 240.21F-8(d)(2). You must sign this form as the claimant and submit it to the Office of the Whistleblower by mail, email (as a PDF attachment), or fax (or any other manner that the Office permits).
(1) All claim forms, including any attachments, must be received by the Office of the Whistleblower within ninety (90) calendar days of the date of the Notice of Covered Action in order to be considered for an award.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b)(1) of this section, the time period to file an application for an award based on a Commission settlement agreement covered by § 240.21F-4(d) of this chapter shall be governed exclusively by § 240.21F-11(b)(1) of this chapter if the settlement agreement was entered into after July 21, 2010 but before the effective date of this section as amended in 2020.
(c) If you provided your original information to the Commission anonymously, you must disclose your identity on the Form WB-APP, and your identity must be verified in a form and manner that is acceptable to the Office of the Whistleblower prior to the payment of any award.
(d) Once the time for filing any appeals of the Commission's judicial or administrative action has expired, or where an appeal has been filed, after all appeals in the action have been concluded, one or more staff members designated by the Director of the Division of Enforcement (“Claims Review Staff”) will evaluate all timely whistleblower award claims submitted on Form WB-APP in accordance with the criteria set forth in these rules. In connection with this process, the Office of the Whistleblower may require that you provide additional information relating to your eligibility for an award or satisfaction of any of the conditions for an award, as set forth in § 240.21F-8(b) of this chapter. Following a determination by the Claims Review Staff (and an opportunity for the Commission to review that determination), the Office of the Whistleblower will send you a Preliminary Determination setting forth a preliminary assessment as to whether the claim should be allowed or denied and, if allowed, setting forth the proposed award dollar and percentage amount, and the grounds therefore.
(e) You may contest the Preliminary Determination made by the Claims Review Staff by submitting a written response to the Office of the Whistleblower setting forth the grounds for your objection to either the denial of an award or the proposed amount of an award. The response must be in the form and manner that the Office of the Whistleblower shall require. You may also include documentation or other evidentiary support for the grounds advanced in your response. In applying the award factors specified in § 240.21F-6 of this chapter and determining the award dollar and percentage amounts set forth in the Preliminary Determination, the award factors may be considered by the SEC staff and the Commission in dollar terms, percentage terms or some combination thereof. Should you choose to contest a Preliminary Determination, you may set forth the reasons for your objection to the proposed amount of an award, including the grounds therefore, in dollar terms, percentage terms or some combination thereof.
(1) Before determining whether to contest a Preliminary Determination, you may:
(i) Within thirty (30) days of the date of the Preliminary Determination, request that the Office of the Whistleblower make available for your review the materials from among those set forth in § 240.21F-12(a) of this chapter that formed the basis of the Claims Review Staff's Preliminary Determination.
(ii) Within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the Preliminary Determination, request a meeting with the Office of the Whistleblower; however, such meetings are not required and the office may in its sole discretion decline the request.
(2) If you decide to contest the Preliminary Determination, you must submit your written response and supporting materials within sixty (60) calendar days of the date of the Preliminary Determination, or if a request to review materials is made pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section, then within sixty (60) calendar days of the Office of the Whistleblower making those materials available for your review.
(f) If you fail to submit a timely response pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section, then the Preliminary Determination will become the Final Order of the Commission (except where the Preliminary Determination recommended an award, in which case the Preliminary Determination will be deemed a Proposed Final Determination for purposes of paragraph (h) of this section). Your failure to submit a timely response contesting a Preliminary Determination will constitute a failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and you will be prohibited from pursuing an appeal pursuant to § 240.21F-13 of this chapter.
(g) If you submit a timely response pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section, then the Claims Review Staff will consider the issues and grounds advanced in your response, along with any supporting documentation you provided, and will make its Proposed Final Determination.
(h) The Office of the Whistleblower will then notify the Commission of each Proposed Final Determination. Within thirty 30 days thereafter, any Commissioner may request that the Proposed Final Determination be reviewed by the Commission. If no Commissioner requests such a review within the 30-day period, then the Proposed Final Determination will become the Final Order of the Commission. In the event a Commissioner requests a review, the Commission will review the record that the staff relied upon in making its determinations, including your previous submissions to the Office of the Whistleblower, and issue its Final Order.
(i) The Office of the Whistleblower will provide you with the Final Order of the Commission.