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SEC and CFTC Announce Whistleblower Awards of $2 Million

Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) each announced whistleblower awards. The SEC awarded nearly $2 million to an individual and four individuals will share an award of over $2 million from the CFTC.

The SEC awarded a whistleblower nearly $2 million for their timely assistance in a successful enforcement action that allowed investors to recover much of their money.

According to the SEC order, the whistleblower “suffered hardship” as a result of their reporting and provided “new information regarding an ongoing fraud that the Commission was not aware of at the time.”

“The whistleblower’s information and assistance helped the SEC stop an ongoing fraud in its tracks,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.  “The whistleblower’s tip had a substantial impact on the investigation and aided the Commission’s ability to obtain an asset freeze and prevent the dissipation of investor funds.”

The SEC Whistleblower Program has now paid out approximately $450 million to 82 individuals since 2012. Dodd-Frank Act whistleblowers can remain anonymous and confidential in their proceedings before the Commission, as the SEC does not disclose any information that could reveal the identity of the whistleblower in question.

Whistleblower awards can range between 10 to 30 percent of the money collected when a successful enforcement action leads to recoveries of $1 million or more.

The CFTC announced a shared whistleblower award of over $2 million to be split by four individuals whose joint reporting was “sufficiently specific, credible and timely to cause the Commission to open an investigation.”

Each whistleblower individually provided additional ongoing assistance throughout the investigation, according to the CFTC order.

“In many instances, whistleblowers are in the best position to identify suspicious conduct,” said CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald. “That’s precisely what happened in this case. After witnessing unusual activity, the whistleblowers worked together to quickly submit a joint tip with sufficient detail that drew our attention to the potential violations.”

The CFTC Whistleblower Program has awarded approximately $100 million to whistleblowers since issuing its first award in 2014, and CFTC actions have led to the recovery of more than $800 million in taxpayer money.

Co-Authored by  Ben Kostyack

Copyright Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP 2021. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 125
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About this Author

Mary Jane Wilmoth Whistleblower Attorney Kohn Kohn & Colapinto Law Firm
Managing Partner

Mary Jane Wilmoth is the firm’s managing partner. She litigated cases involving whistleblower protection for environmental and nuclear industry whistleblowers, and Qui Tam/False Claims whistleblowers. Ms. Wilmoth joined the firm in 1992 and worked on cases and hearings that involved complex nuclear and environmental regulations. In her efforts to uphold such safeguards in the American workplace, she has helped to strengthen whistleblower rights in licensing and...

202-342-6980
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