The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of more than $4.1 million to an individual who alerted the agency to a widespread, multi-year securities law violation and continued to provide important information and assistance throughout the SEC’s investigation. Today’s award follows the announcement on November 30 that the SEC had awarded more than $8 million each to two separate individuals. In total, SEC enforcement actions involving whistleblower awards have now resulted in more than $1 billion in financial remedies ordered against wrongdoers.
Today’s announcement involved a former company insider. “Company insiders often have valuable information that can help the SEC halt an ongoing securities law violation and better protect investors,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “The breadth of the SEC’s whistleblower program is demonstrated by this case, where the whistleblower, a foreign national working outside of the United States, affirmatively stepped forward to shine a light on the wrongdoing.”
On November 30, the SEC announced awards of more than $8 million each to two whistleblowers whose critical information and continuing assistance helped the agency bring the successful underlying enforcement action. The first whistleblower alerted SEC enforcement staff of the particular misconduct that would become the focus of the staff’s investigation and the cornerstone of the agency’s subsequent enforcement action. The second whistleblower provided additional significant information and ongoing cooperation to the staff during the investigation that saved a substantial amount of time and agency resources.
The SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded more than $179 million to 50 whistleblowers since issuing its first award in 2012. 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. No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.
Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with original, timely, and credible information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million. By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity.
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