Whistleblower Wears Out Welcome at SEC

May 29, 2014

In response to the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC's") posting of Notices of Covered Action by its Office of the Whistleblower ("OWB"), it seems that one industrious individual filed claims involving 143 covered actions. Quite the prodigious number! The SEC's Claims Review Staff ("CRS") has evaluated the claims and, to put in mildly, those folks are not amused. In a Final Order dated May 12, 2014, this serial filer of Whistlblower claims was directed to the fine print:

Rule 21F-8 of the Exchange Act sets forth criteria a claimant must meet to be eligible for a whistleblower award. In particular, Rule 21F-8(c)(7) states that "you are not eligible" for an award under either of two conditions:

In your whistleblower submission, your other dealings with the Commission, or your dealings with another authority in connection with a related action, you [i] knowingly and willfully make any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation, or [ii] use any false writing or document knowing that it contains any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry with intent to mislead or otherwise hinder the Commission or another authority.

Barely containing or disguising its administrative impatience, the SEC explains that [Ed: blacked out portions in the original are noted by "[REDACTED]"]:

The CRS preliminarily finds that [REDACTED] has knowingly and willfully made false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements and representations to the Commission over a course of years and continues to do so. Specifically we preliminarily find that each of the passages set forth in Appendix B-which are taken from [REDACTED] TCRs, emails to Commission officials, and WBAPPs-are patently false or fictitious. We preliminarily find that [REDACTED] continued submission of WB-APPs in which [REDACTED] declares that [REDACTED]is entitled to an award are patently false given that all but one of the 196 WB-APPs that [REDACTED]has filed to date lack even a superficial factual nexus to the covered actions for which [REDACTED] is seeking an award. 

The SEC does not deem the frivolous and abuse filings of this claimant to constitute a mere nuisance but, more critically: 

[T]he unceasing submission of baseless claims has 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.

In an extraordinary step, the CRS preliminarily determined that this claimant is ineligible for consideration for future whistleblower awards and in confirming that recommendation, the SEC directed that OWB "should summarily reject all pending and future whistleblower award claims submitted by [REDACTED]"