SEC Pays Out Biggest Ever Whistleblower Reward

SEC Pays Out Biggest Ever Whistleblower Reward

It turns out that ratting on your boss or neighbor could make you into a multi-millionaire. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Monday, September 22nd, that it planned to award over $30 million to a whistleblower who provided key information leading to a successful SEC enforcement action.

The SEC statement also noted the whistleblower reward will be the biggest made by the whistleblower program to date. The previous largest whistle blower reward of $14 million was announced in October 2013.

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The statement continued to point out this was the fourth award to a non U.S. whistleblower, showing that the program clearly had international reach.

Statement from SEC on whistleblower reward

“This whistleblower came to us with information about an ongoing fraud that would have been very difficult to detect,” commented Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “This record-breaking award sends a strong message about our commitment to whistleblowers and the value they bring to law enforcement.”

Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, continued, “This award of more than $30 million shows the international breadth of our whistleblower program as we effectively utilize valuable tips from anyone, anywhere to bring wrongdoers to justice.  Whistleblowers from all over the world should feel similarly incentivized to come forward with credible information about potential violations of the U.S. securities laws.”

More on SEC whistleblower program

The whistleblower program is designed to reward high-quality information that results in an SEC enforcement action with sanctions greater than $1 million.  Whistleblower’s can receive 10% to 30% of the money collected from the action.

It should be noted that all reward funds for the program come from a fund created by Congress at no cost to taxpayers or harmed investors. The fund is comprised of monetary sanctions paid by securities law violators to the SEC.

The SEC is required to protect the identity of whistleblowers and will not information that might lead to exposing a whistleblower’s identity.

The SEC released its first whistleblower reward in fiscal year 2012.  The program awarded four more whistleblowers during fiscal year 2013, and has awarded nine more whistleblowers so far in fiscal year 2014.

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