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Can I be a securities whistleblower and stay anonymous?

In the interests of not giving readers misleading information, the best answer to this question is maybe. The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) attempts to protect a whistleblower's anonymity, but in some cases, it is not always possible to do so. Taking it a step at a time, here is what you should know about being an anonymous whistleblower against fraudulent securities and trading activity.

First, you can always submit your information to the SEC anonymously. However, you are required to have an attorney represent you in this endeavor. You are also required to give your attorney a completed Form TCR, which is a form outlining your whistleblower complaint or tip. While this form does require your personal information, the SEC will treat this information as anonymously as possible.

The second important point is that you may not be able to remain anonymous throughout the investigation and any potential legal proceedings. While the SEC does work to protect the identity of informants, it is not always possible. In a court proceeding, for example, it may be necessary for the SEC to provide documentation that contains information about your identity. Further, the SEC may be required to disclose your identity to other government entities.

Suffering retaliation in the workplace is one of the top reasons residents of Detroit hesitate to blow the whistle against illegal activity or unethical practices. The government will protect you against retaliation or harassment if you cannot remain anonymous, but you may also benefit from a lawyer's guidance. Acquiring a whistleblower attorney provides you with fast access to legal solutions, which can broaden the protection of the government.

Source: SEC Office of the Whistleblower, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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