SEC Awards Over $10 Million to Several Whistleblowers
On November 22, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued whistleblower awards totaling approximately $10.4 million in connection with three separate enforcement actions. The awarded whistleblowers each provided the SEC with original information that contributed to the success of an enforcement action.
In the first of the award orders, the SEC awarded $6.2 million to one whistleblower and $1.3 to a second. The award order notes that both whistleblowers “provided new information during an existing investigation, alerting Commission staff to alleged (Redacted) schemes occurring in different geographic areas.” However, the first whistleblower’s information “was more significant as Commission staff was able to corroborate all of [the whistleblower’s] information and the majority of the relief ordered in the case was based on the conduct alleged by [the whistleblower].” Part of the $6.2 million awarded to the first whistleblower came from a Related Action award because their disclosure to the SEC aided in the success of a related enforcement action by another agency.
In the second award order, the SEC awarded more than $2.4 million to two whistleblowers. The first whistleblower’s disclosure caused the SEC to open an investigation and the whistleblower “provided significant assistance to Commission staff during the investigation by providing documents and making himself/herself available for interviews,” according to the award order. The second whistleblower provided new information which contributed to the success of the ongoing investigation.
In the third award order, the SEC awarded three individuals approximately $435,000 for providing original information that led to successful actions by the SEC and another federal agency. Two joint whistleblowers received an award of more than $240,000 for alerting the SEC “to alleged fraudulent conduct that, in part, prompted staff to open an investigation,” according to the award order. A third whistleblower “provided new, detailed and highly valuable information early in the investigation that was instrumental in assisting the staff to develop the case,” according to the SEC’s press release.
“Today’s whistleblowers provided information and assistance that proved critical to several enforcement actions,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Their information allowed the agency to conserve significant resources and to bring each action more efficiently.”
Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to awards of 10-30% of the funds recovered by the government in connection with their disclosure. Since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 233 individuals. During a record-setting fiscal year 2021, the SEC issued $564 million in whistleblower awards to 108 individuals.
Individuals considering blowing the whistle to the SEC should first consult an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney to ensure they are fully protected and qualify for the largest award possible.
Geoff Schweller contributed to this article.