On March 8, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a whistleblower award of over $3.5 million. The award was issued to an individual who voluntarily provided “critical information that significantly contributed to the success of two SEC enforcement actions,” according to the SEC.
The whistleblower provided the SEC with new information that led the SEC to further investigate certain potential securities violations. Furthermore, the whistleblower’s information “saved Commission time and resources and helped advance settlement discussions,” according to the award order.
Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of funds recovered by the government when the sanctions that the government recovers exceed $1 million. The SEC Whistleblower Program also offers anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers, including confidentiality. Thus, the SEC does not disclose any identifying information about award recipients.
“Whistleblowers play an integral role in the agency’s enforcement efforts and protection of investors,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “In fiscal year 2022 alone, the SEC has awarded more than $143 million to whistleblowers who provided high-quality information and assistance that led to the success of enforcement actions.”
The largest SEC whistleblower award issued so far in fiscal year 2022 was a $37 million award issued to joint whistleblowers on January 21, 2022. Other sizable awards from the fiscal year include a $32 million award from October 15, 2021 and a $13 million award from January 17, 2022.
The 2021 fiscal year was a record-setting year for the SEC Whistleblower Program. During the fiscal year, the SEC awarded approximately $564 million to 108 individuals. It also issued its largest-ever award: a $114 million award issued on October 22, 2020.
Overall, the SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 248 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.
Individuals considering blowing the whistle to the SEC should first consult an experienced SEC whistleblower attorney to ensure they qualify for the largest award possible.