On July 21, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a whistleblower award of $2.9 million to an individual “whose information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action.”
Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of funds recovered by the government. In addition to monetary awards, the SEC Whistleblower Program offers anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers. One of these protections is confidentiality; thus, the SEC does not disclose any identifying information about award recipients.
The award order mentions that there was an “unreasonable reporting delay” in this case; “[b]ased on the unique facts and circumstances of this matter, the Commission finds that Claimant unreasonably delayed in reporting to the Commission.” The order explains that the whistleblower submitted their information “approximately two years from the date on which Claimant first suspected that there could possibly be a securities law violation occurring.” Consequently, the SEC lowered the amount of the award. However, the SEC positively assessed that the whistleblower provided Enforcement staff with “documents and assistance” that “allowed the staff to conserve considerable resources.”
“The whistleblower alerted the SEC to previously unknown conduct and then provided substantial additional assistance, which conserved a considerable amount of SEC resources,” said Emily Pasquinelli, Acting Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “We have recently given awards to a significant number of whistleblowers, like the one awarded today, who played an important role in our enforcement program’s success.”
This award is a continuation of the SEC Whistleblower Program’s record year. Since the 2021 fiscal year began on October 1, 2020, the SEC has awarded approximately $380 million to 80 individuals – both fiscal year records. In total, the SEC has awarded approximately $942 million to 186 individuals since it issued the first award in 2012.
Gary Gensler, the Chair of the SEC, will be delivering keynote remarks at the National Whistleblower Center’s virtual event celebrating National Whistleblower Day 2021. Prior to his confirmation as SEC Chair, Gensler pledged strong support for the SEC Whistleblower Program.