The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Office’s Annual Report to Congress for the 2022 Fiscal Year details a record fiscal year for the agency’s highly successful whistleblower program. During the 2022 Fiscal Year, the SEC Whistleblower Program received 12,300 whistleblower tips and issued 103 whistleblower awards totaling $229 million. This was the most whistleblower tips received by the program in a fiscal year and the second-highest amount of money awarded by the program in a fiscal year.
“The SEC’s whistleblower program continues to be a model of success,” said whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. “Investors and taxpayers are the biggest winners. Fraudsters are the biggest losers. Congratulations to the hard working staff at the Whistleblower Office.”
“The significant increase in the number of whistleblower tips and awards since the program’s inception shows that the program, with its enhanced confidentiality protections, is effectively incentivizing whistleblowers to make the often difficult decision to come forward with information about potential securities-law violations,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower. “Regardless of whether a whistleblower is a corporate insider, a main street investor, or an unrepresented claimant, the Commission vigorously safeguards their identity while rewarding eligible individuals who identify bad actors in our markets.”
The record number of whistleblower tips received by the SEC in the 2022 Fiscal Year cover a wide-range of types of securities fraud. According to the report, “[t]he most common complaint categories reported by whistleblowers were Manipulation (21%), Offering Fraud (17%), Initial Coin Offerings and Cryptocurrencies (14%), and Corporate Disclosures and Financials (13%).” The report also notes that “the Whistleblower Program has become fundamentally international in character” and that “the foreign countries from which the highest number of tips originated were Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Mexico, and Brazil.”
The SEC Whistleblower Program offers monetary awards to qualified whistleblowers who voluntarily report securities violations. According to the annual report, in the 2022 Fiscal Year the SEC awarded the maximum award amount in over 90% of the awards issued.
The report also highlights the overall success of the SEC Whistleblower Program since it was established in 2010. “Enforcement actions brought using information from meritorious whistleblowers have resulted in orders for more than $6.3 billion in total monetary sanctions, including more than $4.0 billion in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and interest, of which more than $1.5 billion has been, or is scheduled to be, returned to harmed investors,” the report states.
Geoff Schweller also contributed to this article.