SEC Awards

On November 10, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued whistleblower awards totaling more than $15 million to two individuals who voluntarily provided the agency with original information which led to the success of an enforcement action. 

Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of funds recovered by the government. In addition to monetary awards, the SEC Whistleblower Program offers anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers. One of these protections is confidentiality; thus, the SEC does not disclose any identifying information about award recipients.

The SEC awarded one whistleblower $12.5 million and the second whistleblower $2.5 million. Both whistleblowers provided information and assistance that led to the success of the same enforcement action. The difference in award sizes reflects the significance and comprehensiveness of the whistleblowers’ disclosures.

According to the award order, the first whistleblower’s “information was more significant, as it alerted Commission staff to the fraudulent scheme, prompting the opening of the investigation.” Furthermore, the first whistleblower’s “information also was more comprehensive, relating to the overall scheme, whereas [the second whistleblower’s] information was more limited in nature and had less of an impact on the success of the enforcement action.”

“These whistleblowers provided critical information and substantial assistance to the Commission staff in the underlying investigation,” said Emily Pasquinelli, Acting Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “These awards demonstrate the SEC’s commitment to rewarding whistleblowers who provide high-quality tips that help protect investors.”

The 2021 fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2021, was a record year for the SEC Whistleblower Program. During the fiscal year, the SEC awarded over $500 million to over 100 whistleblowers. Overall, since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC has awarded approximately $1.1 billion to 226 whistleblowers. 

Individuals considering blowing the whistle on securities violations should first contact an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney. Consulting an attorney can help ensure a whistleblower is fully protected from retaliation and qualifies for the largest award possible.

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