McKessy Named Head of SEC Whistleblower Office

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that Sean McKessy will oversee the new Whistleblower Office in the Division of Enforcement. The Office will consolidate existing resources to administer the whistleblower provisions called for by The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

In that role, Mr. McKessy will lead a program charged with working with whistleblowers, handling their tips and complaints, and helping the Commission determine the awards for individuals who provide the agency with information that leads to successful enforcement actions.

Mr. McKessy rejoins the SEC, where he was a Senior Counsel in the Division of Enforcement from 1997 to 2000. More recently, Mr. McKessy served as corporate secretary for both Altria Group, Inc. and AOL Inc., and as securities counsel for Caterpillar, Inc. In these roles, Mr. McKessy developed and supervised internal compliance and reporting programs related to the federal securities laws, served as corporate compliance officer, and coordinated the reporting of potential violations to boards of directors.

“Sean is uniquely positioned to oversee the Commission’s whistleblower program,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The Enforcement Division and whistleblowers alike will greatly benefit from Sean’s first-hand experience in bringing enforcement cases, handling whistleblower complaints and understanding the workings of internal corporate compliance programs.”

Mr. McKessy said, “I am excited to return to public service and rejoin the dedicated staff of the Enforcement Division in this critical role. Whistleblowers often provide invaluable information that can help uncover securities fraud and protect investors.”

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires the SEC whistleblower program to pay rewards to individuals who voluntarily provide the Commission with original information that leads to successful SEC enforcement actions and certain related actions. The Commission is in the process of developing rules that will guide the whistleblower program.

The SEC deferred plans to set up a whistleblower office in December in anticipation of a budget battle with congressional Republicans, most of whom opposed the law. The SEC stated that the office will “consolidate existing resources” to administer the new program.

The Obama administration’s fiscal 2012 budget plan calls for 43 new positions “to expand investigations of tips received from whistleblowers.”

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Brandon J. Lauria, Esquire, represents whistleblowers nationwide.  If you would like to speak with Mr. Lauria or one of our other SEC whistleblower attorneys, please email him directly at blauria@young-lawgroup.com or cal 215.367.5151 for a free consultation today.