The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded almost $700,000 to a whistleblower whose vital information helped the agency bring a successful enforcement action that resulted in the return of money to harmed investors.

According to the SEC, The whistleblower reported the problem internally before contacting the SEC to remedy the conduct. The whistleblower continued to assist in the SEC investigation.

In assessing the amount of the whistleblower award, the SEC found:

Claimant alerted Enforcement staff to the potential wrongdoing, prompting Enforcement staff to open the investigation;

Claimant provided significant ongoing assistance to Enforcement staff during the investigation that saved Commission time and resources;

Claimant internally reported Claimant’s concerns to remedy the conduct;

Claimant suffered undue hardship as a result of Claimant’s whistleblowing activities; and

there are high law enforcement interests here as money was returned to harmed investors.

“Because of the whistleblower’s actions, the agency was able to identify the misconduct and conserve time and resources during the investigation,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “This whistleblower stepped forward and helped the agency to protect and compensate harmed investors.”

Since 2012, the SEC whistleblower program has awarded almost $501 million to 84 individuals Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with original, timely, and credible information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC protects whistleblowers’ confidentiality and does not disclose information that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity.