On September 13, the U.S. Securities Exchange and Commission (SEC) issued a $500,000 whistleblower award to an individual who voluntarily provided original information that caused the SEC to initiate an investigation, resulting in an enforcement action.
The SEC Whistleblower Program offers monetary awards to whistleblowers whose information leads to successful enforcement actions. Qualified whistleblowers are entitled to awards for 10-30% of the funds collected by the government.
In determining the exact percentage to award a whistleblower, the SEC weighs a number of factors including the significance of the information, the degree of further assistance provided by the whistleblower, and the timeliness of the disclosure.
In this case, the SEC noted that the whistleblower’s information “was significant, as it resulted in Commission staff initiating an investigation into misconduct” and that the whistleblower “submitted information and documents to Commission staff, participated in interviews with Commission staff, and helped Commission staff identify key individuals and entities involved in the investigation.”
The SEC further noted that the whistleblower “information and assistance helped Commission staff focus its investigation into the Company and helped the Commission conserve significant time and resources” and “raised [their] concerns internally at the Company in efforts to remedy the relevant misconduct.”
Since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC has awarded more than $1.3 billion to over 275 meritorious whistleblowers.
Geoff Schweller also contributed to this article.