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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has 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.
With this case, SEC enforcement actions involving whistleblower awards have now resulted in more than $1 billion in financial remedies ordered against wrongdoers.
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.
“Whistleblowers have played a crucial role in the progression of many investigations and the success of enforcement actions since the inception of the whistleblower program,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “The value of whistleblowers can be seen in the more than $1 billion in financial remedies ordered against wrongdoers based on actionable information from whistleblowers, including more than $671 in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, much of which has been or is scheduled to be returned to harmed investors.”
The SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded more than $175 million to 49 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 10-30% 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.