On January 10, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued two whistleblower awards totaling $4 million. The whistleblowers provided the SEC with information and assistance which led to two separate enforcement actions.
In the first award order, the SEC granted an award of approximately $2.6 million to a whistleblower who provided significant information about hard-to-detect misconduct occurring overseas. According to the award order, in addition to providing information, the whistleblower “communicated with the staff over the course of the investigation and identified potential witnesses.” The whistleblower also reported the misconduct internally before alerting the SEC.
In the second award order, the SEC granted an award of approximately $1.5 million to joint whistleblowers. According to the award order, the two whistleblowers “provided substantial ongoing assistance throughout the course of the investigation, providing several interviews and consulting telephonically with staff via counsel on numerous occasions, including before and after witness testimony of key witnesses.”
“These whistleblowers provided critical information and continued cooperation that helped the agency detect the securities laws violations,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “These awards highlight the importance of the SEC’s whistleblower program to the agency’s enforcement efforts and to its ability to maximize staff resources.”
Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of funds recovered by the government when the sanctions that the government recovers exceed $1 million. The SEC Whistleblower Program offers anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers, and one such protection is confidentiality. Thus, the SEC does not disclose any identifying information about award recipients.
Overall, since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 241 individuals. In the 2021 fiscal year, the SEC Whistleblower Program set several records. During the fiscal year, the SEC awarded approximately $564 million to 108 individuals.