On March 7, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued two whistleblower awards to individuals who voluntarily provided original information which contributed to the success of the same enforcement action.
Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to monetary awards of 10-30% of the sanctions collected in the enforcement action connected to their disclosure.
In this case no monetary sanctions have been collected to date. The SEC determined that the first whistleblower will receive an award of 20% of the funds to be collected while the second whistleblower will receive an award of 10% of the funds to be collected.
In the award order, the SEC outlines why the different award percentages are appropriate for each whistleblower. According to the order, the first whistleblower’s information caused the staff to open the investigation which led to the enforcement action. Furthermore, the first whistleblower “provided ongoing assistance by participating in interviews and providing documents, which saved the staff time and resources.”
According to the SEC, “while [the second whistleblower] provided information that assisted the staff’s investigation and saved the staff time and resources, [the second whistleblower] submitted the information several weeks after the staff’s investigation had commenced as a result of [the first whistleblower’s] information and after [the second whistleblower] became aware of the investigation.”
In addition to monetary awards, the SEC offers anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers, including confidentiality. Thus, the SEC does not disclose any identifying information about award recipients.
The SEC has awarded over $1.2 billion to approximately 250 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012. In the 2021 fiscal year, the SEC Whistleblower Program set several records. Over the course of the fiscal year, the SEC awarded a record $564 million to a record 108 individuals.