SEC Issues Over $1.1 Million in Whistleblower Awards

Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced five whistleblower awards totaling more than $1.1 million. According to a press release, the SEC whistleblowers provided high quality information that led to multiple enforcement actions.

The first award, which totaled around 500,000, will be shared by three whistleblowers who identified fraud and prompted the Commission staff to open an investigation. The whistleblowers in this action were former employees of the company involved in the fraud.

The second award, which totaled around $600,000, was granted to an SEC whistleblower whose reporting led the Commission to open a fraud investigation. This whistleblower repeatedly alerted their company to the fraud to internally solve its problems before contacting the SEC.

The third award, which totaled around $100,000, was issued to a whistleblower who conducted their own personal analysis of frauds occurring at a company. The whistleblower used publicly available documents to research the misconduct.

Established under the Dodd Frank Act, the SEC Whistleblower Program offers monetary rewards to qualified whistleblowers who provide the Commission with original information of frauds. Whistleblowers can receive awards ranging from 10-30% of the sanctions collected from the successful enforcement action.

Since 2012, 133 SEC whistleblowers have received approximately $737 million in awards.

The SEC allows whistleblowers to file for awards while remaining fully anonymous and confidential. Information that might reveal the identity of the SEC whistleblower will never be released without the permission of the individual.

“These awards underscore the breadth of ways that company insiders, as well as whistleblowers not affiliated with a company, can positively impact SEC investigations,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Whistleblowers who provide high-quality information or analysis may be eligible for an award where their information causes staff to open an investigation or meaningfully advances an existing investigation.”

Ben Kostyack also contributed to this article.

Copyright Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP 2020. All Rights Reserved.
National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 8

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