17 CFR § 240.21F-11 - Procedures for determining awards based upon a related action.

§ 240.21F-11 Procedures for determining awards based upon a related action.

(a) If you are eligible to receive an award following a Commission action that results in monetary sanctions totaling more than $1,000,000, you also may be eligible to receive an award based on the monetary sanctions that are collected from a related action (as defined in § 240.21F-3 of this chapter).

(b) You must also use Form WB-APP (as specified in § 240.21F-8(d)(2)) to submit a claim for an award in a potential related action. 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) as follows:

(1) If a final order imposing monetary sanctions has been entered in a potential related action at the time you submit your claim for an award in connection with a Commission action, you must submit your claim for an award in that related action on the same Form WB-APP that you use for the Commission action. For purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a final order imposing monetary sanctions is entered on the date of a court or administrative order imposing the monetary sanctions; however, with respect to any agreement covered by § 240.21F-4(d) of this chapter (such as a deferred prosecution agreement or a nonprosecution agreement entered by the Department of Justice), the Commission will deem the date of the entry of the final order to be the later of either:

(i) The effective date of this section as amended in 2020; or

(ii) The date of the earliest public availability of the instrument reflecting the arrangement if evidenced by a press release or similar dated publication notice (or otherwise, the date of the last signature necessary for the agreement).

(2) If a final order imposing monetary sanctions in a potential related action has not been entered at the time you submit your claim for an award in connection with a Commission action, you must submit your claim on Form WB-APP within ninety (90) days of the issuance of a final order imposing sanctions in the potential related action.

(c) The Office of the Whistleblower may request additional information from you in connection with your claim for an award in a related action to demonstrate that you directly (or through the Commission) voluntarily provided the governmental/SRO entity (as specified in § 240.21F-3(b)(1) of this chapter) the same original information that led to the Commission's successful covered action, and that this information led to the successful enforcement of the related action. Further, the Office of the Whistleblower, in its discretion, may seek assistance and confirmation from the governmental/SRO entity in making an award determination.

(d) Once the time for filing any appeals of the final judgment or order in a potential related action has expired, or if an appeal has been filed, after all appeals in the action have been concluded, the Claims Review Staff (as specified in § 240.21F-10(d) of this chapter) will evaluate all timely whistleblower award claims submitted on Form WB-APP in connection with the related action. The evaluation will be undertaken pursuant to 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 percentage amount.

(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) 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)(i) 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 that you 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 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.

[76 FR 34363, June 13, 2011, as amended at 85 FR 70946, Nov. 5, 2020]

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