On November 5, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced two separate whistleblower awards. An award of over $3.6 million was awarded to a whistleblower for providing important information to the SEC on misconduct occurring abroad and for providing substantial and ongoing assistance to SEC enforcement staff. The SEC issued a separate $750,000 award to a whistleblower who provided significant information that led the SEC to uncover an ongoing fraud.
The awards continue a record start to the fiscal year for the SEC Whistleblower Program. Since the 2021 fiscal year began on October 1, the SEC has issued approximately $154 million to six whistleblowers. In the 2020 fiscal year, the SEC issued whistleblower awards totaling approximately $175 million, the most in program history. The SEC is currently on pace to break that record within the first two months of this fiscal year.
“Whistleblowers play an important role in helping to identify misconduct, and the assistance they provide can be integral to an investigation,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Both whistleblowers who received awards today reflect these important contributions whistleblowers can make to the success of enforcement actions.”
Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide the SEC original information that leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of funds recovered by the government. According to the SEC, “all payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators.”
Since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC has awarded approximately $719 million to 112 individuals. In addition to whistleblower awards, the SEC Whistleblower Program provides whistleblowers with anti-retaliation provisions. These include confidentiality. Thus, the SEC does not disclose any information that may reveal a whistleblower’s identity.