On September 25, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced two separate whistleblower awards totaling over $2.5 million. Both awards were granted to whistleblowers who disclosed securities violations occurring overseas.
The first whistleblower award is for $1.8 million and was granted to an individual who took “both personal and professional risks in reporting information through the internal compliance system at a company.” The whistleblower also provided the information to the SEC and, without the whistleblower’s disclosure, the overseas conduct would have been difficult to detect.
The second whistleblower award is for $750,000 and was granted to an individual who reported overseas securities violations to the SEC, leading to a successful enforcement action. The whistleblower additionally reported the violations internally.
“Misconduct occurring overseas can have a major impact on U.S. markets while at the same time remaining hard to detect. Today’s awards demonstrate the unique ability of whistleblowers to help the SEC uncover and pursue these cases,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “The awards further confirm the strength and vitality of the SEC’s whistleblower program as the agency has made an unprecedented eight whistleblower awards in the last month alone.”
Qualified SEC whistleblowers, individuals who provide original information that leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of monetary sanctions collected. In addition to establishing a rewards program, the Dodd-Frank Act contains protections for corporate whistleblowers, including confidentiality. Thus, the SEC does not reveal the identities of the recipients of whistleblower awards.
The SEC has awarded more whistleblower awards in 2020 than in any previous fiscal year. The SEC has now granted whistleblower awards to 32 individuals this fiscal year, and to 99 individuals since its first award in 2012. The whistleblower awards total approximately $525 million.