Bert Lacativo, a former FBI agent, said the Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower office is prepped for an influx of new claims and could make an early example of some companies. Under direction from the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC built a new whistleblower program designed to provide monetary awards to corporate employees who come forward with information. The leads must result in a penalty of at least $1 million. The new program officially launched last week. "With the potential rewards available for whistleblowers, there will be an avalanche of complaints that the office will have to deal with," Lacativo said. "While I am confident that the office will work with deliberate diligence to deal with the complaints, I also believe that there will be early, prompt and decisive action taken to send clear messages to violators that the government is serious about ferreting out and ultimately deterring fraudulent activity." Lacativo left the FBI and became the senior managing director of Mesirow Financial Consulting. He used to handle fraud issues at the bureau and now advises clients on new government efforts to pursue violations. The whistleblower program is not without its controversy. Some commissioners at the SEC said the program would keep employees from reporting violations to internal controls at the companies. The SEC tweaked the program before it launched to allow employees to simultaneously report information to both the agency and their companies. If the company's internal investigation uncovers fraudulent behavior, the whistleblower could still receive a pay out. Lacativo said these corporations should re-evaluate how employees can report internally and adjust them to dissuade potential whistleblowers from going to the government. "Not only is there a lot of money at stake for companies and shareholders, there are reputational issues that you cannot put a price on," Lacativo said. "Any company that does not have an internal compliance program already in place, or has not re-evaluated internal controls since Dodd-Frank was approved, is at risk of suffering the type of serious monetary and reputational backlash that could result in irrevocable damage." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior