The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recently published its annual report on the SEC Whistleblower program. According to the report, in 2018 the SEC paid the largest amount of whistleblower awards in the program’s history, with payouts totaling $168 million. This year the SEC whistleblower program also gave its largest whistleblower award to date, $84 million. Many of those receiving the reward were company outsiders and non-U.S. residents.
Since its inception, the SEC whistleblower program has awarded $326 million and has recovered $1.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury. Investors have also gained with an estimated $432 million returned.
These numbers continue to highlight the importance of using whistleblower incentives to root out violations of securities laws. Whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn, who serves as the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center praised the SEC Whistleblower program but warned against any changes such as the rule changes that were proposed in July. He emphasized that the changes would have “serious crippling effect” on corporate compliance. “Unfortunately, the Commission has proposed new rules that will severely undercut the progress that has been made with the program. We must work together to ensure that the new rules, that would limit rewards and discourage reporting, are not approved by the Commission.”