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Volume XI, Number 134

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SEC Whistleblowers Receive $50 Million Payout, Second-Largest Award in Program History

Today, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a joint whistleblower award of $50 million to claimants whose information of highly complex illegal transactions led to successful enforcement actions.

As a result of their reporting, the whistleblowers helped in the recovery of tens of millions of dollars that were returned to harmed investors.

According to the SEC award order, Claimants 1 and 2 provided the Commission staff with highly valuable information that led to the opening of an investigation into an ongoing fraud. The fraudulent scheme, the award order continued, would have been difficult to detect without the assistance of the whistleblowers.

A third claimant was involved in the proceedings, but Commission staff determined this whistleblower was not eligible for a reward based on the fact that Claimant 3 did not provide any information that led to the success of the Covered Action.

According to the SEC, Claimant 3 did not satisfy Rule 21F-4(c)(1) because enforcement staff opened the investigation based on the tips provided by Claimants 1 and 2, not Claimant 3.

Furthermore, Claimant 3 did not satisfy Rule 21F-4(c)(2) because enforcement staff had no prior communications with this whistleblower prior to the filing of the Covered Action.

Established as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC Whistleblower Office offers financial rewards to those who provide the Commission with original information of securities fraud. SEC whistleblowers who report frauds to the Commission can become eligible for awards ranging between 10-30% of the sanctions collected from any successful enforcement actions if the monies exceed $1 million.

Since the Whistleblower Program was created, the SEC has awarded approximately $812 million to 151 individuals.

SEC whistleblowers can remain completely anonymous and confidential in their proceedings under the Dodd-Frank Act. It is best practice to contact an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney before you begin the filing of your award claim.

“Today’s award is the second largest in the history of the program, reflecting the tremendous contribution of these joint whistleblowers to our ability to recover funds for harmed investors,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “The SEC has now awarded over a quarter of a billion dollars to whistleblowers in the first seven months of this fiscal year alone, demonstrating the tremendous value of whistleblowers to our enforcement program.”

Ben Kostyack also contributed to this article.

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Copyright Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP 2021. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 106
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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...

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