February 5, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 36

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February 03, 2023

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SEC Whistleblower Receives $20 Million Award

On November 28, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a $20 million whistleblower award to an individual whose disclosure contained “new and critical information that led to the success of an enforcement action,” according to the SEC.

“Today’s whistleblower played a crucial role in the ultimate success of the enforcement proceeding,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Whistleblowers can help advance existing investigations in meaningful ways when their information saves the agency time and resources, and when their contributions allow SEC staff to better understand complicated issues.”

Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide the SEC with original information that leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to an award of 10-30% of the sanctions collected by the SEC in the case. The SEC weighs a number of factors in determining the exact percentage to award a whistleblower.

In this case, the SEC “considered that the whistleblower provided significant information and continuing assistance that helped Enforcement Division staff more quickly and efficiently investigate complex issues,” according to the agency’s press release.

However, according to the award order, the SEC also negatively assessed the facts that the whistleblower “was involved for a short period and at the direction of his/her supervisor in the conduct underlying part of the Covered Action” and “delayed reporting for over two years after being involved in such conduct.”

According to the SEC Whistleblower Office’s Annual Report to Congress for the 2022 Fiscal Year, since the SEC Whistleblower Program was established in 2010, “[e]nforcement 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.”

Individuals considering blowing the whistle to the SEC should first consult an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney in order to ensure they are fully protected under the Dodd-Frank Act and qualify for the largest possible award.

Geoff Schweller also contributed to this article.

Copyright Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP 2023. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 332
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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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