If money is your motivation in reporting insider trading, some experts are saying don’t go right to the FBI, even if Michael Douglas urges you to. The actor appears in a recent FBI public service announcement referencing his character from Wall Street, Gordon Gekko, targeting financial fraud.
“Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and the integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is,” he says in the spot, asking tipsters to contact their local FBI office.
But the Washington Post cites a whistleblower lawyer, who says you could miss out on cash rewards that way.
“If they just go to the FBI, they are probably going to get zero,” he explained. “The FBI’s not obligated to do anything for them.”
Instead, he says, if you find yourself in the position of an informant who wants money and not just to do the right thing, consult a lawyer and file a whistleblower claim with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tipsters are entitled to 10% to 30% of any money the SEC collects if your info leads to any sanctions of more than $1 million.
“I’m not aware of any program of that sort within the FBI,” FBI spokesman William Carter said, while another agent said he just hopes tipsters are moved to report financial fraud without a reward.
“I’d like to see people be patriotic and just do the right thing instead of being motivated by money,” he said.