Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement published their annual report for fiscal year 2020, which was highlighted by a record year for SEC whistleblower awards.
In 2020, 39 SEC whistleblowers were issued $175 million in awards, including a record-setting whistleblower award of $114 million granted to an anonymous individual. This represents a 200% increase in number of individuals awarded in a single year over the next-highest year.
“The annual SEC reports continue to show how the effective use of whistleblower programs can deter fraudsters and recover millions every year for the American taxpayer,” said whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn, partner at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. “This record-year is a sign of the increasing number of whistleblowers coming forward with reliable, critical, and timely information of financial crimes.”
According to the annual report, the awards issued in 2020 accounted for roughly 37% of the total number of individuals awarded over the entire life of the whistleblower program.
The SEC Whistleblower Program was established as part of the Dodd Frank Act of 2010. The program fully protects the identity of whistleblowers who file reward claims, and offers awards between 10 and 30 percent of the sanctions collected from enforcement actions if the monies exceed $1 million.
“The report also illustrates our strong commitment to the Commission’s whistleblower program,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton stated, “as we devoted additional resources, achieved significant milestones in the total amount awarded and number of individuals awarded, implemented process improvements and adopted Commission rules designed to improve transparency, clarity and efficiency for whistleblowers.