On April 25, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued approximately $6 million in whistleblower awards to two groups of whistleblowers, comprised of five individuals total. Both groups of whistleblowers provided the SEC with information and assistance that contributed to the success of the same enforcement action.
According to the award order, the first group “provided staff with key documents that led the staff to seek additional documents from the respondent, which formed the core of the Commission’s case.” That group also provided the SEC with ongoing assistance throughout the investigation. This included “providing documents and information to assist the staff’s understanding of the respondent’s business practices,” according to the SEC.
The second group provided the SEC with first-hand accounts of the wrongdoing and was familiar with systems and business processes involved in the misconduct. According to the award order, the second group “was also interviewed by the staff and provided continuing assistance, including on-the-record testimony.”
“Whistleblower tips are an integral component of the Commission’s enforcement program,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Today’s whistleblowers provided credible information and assisted an ongoing investigation.”
The SEC Whistleblower Program offers both monetary awards and anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers. Qualified whistleblowers are entitled to awards of 10-30% of the sanctions collected in the relevant enforcement action. The program’s confidentiality protections mean that the SEC does not disclose any identifying information about award recipients.
In fiscal year 2021, the agency shattered records by awarding approximately $564 million to 108 individuals. Overall, the SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 268 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.
Individuals considering blowing the whistle on securities violations should first contact an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney to ensure they are fully protected and qualify for the largest award possible.