SEC Grants Maximum Award to Whistleblower Who Stopped a $100 Million Fraud Scheme
We are very proud of the contributions and achievements of our client, who lawfully reported and stopped an ongoing criminal conspiracy that defrauded shareholders and the public. On Friday, October 15, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower quietly posted the SEC’s final order granting our client a whistleblower award. In its award decision, the SEC accurately described the contributions of our client:
“Claimant alerted Enforcement staff to the potential wrongdoing, prompting the opening of the investigation. Claimant also provided significant ongoing assistance to Enforcement during the investigation that saved time and resources that helped shut down an ongoing fraudulent scheme.”
In addition to the SEC enforcement action, our client’s information resulted in numerous successful prosecutions, including several criminal convictions. One of the principal fraudsters was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and is currently serving time.
The underlying frauds reported by the whistleblower were in excess of $100 million. We hope that as the criminal cases are concluded, and additional funds are collected, the whistleblower will be further compensated for his contributions and testimony in those actions.
“The SEC acted quickly in response to our client’s whistleblower tip to form a joint investigation with the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and other federal agencies, which led to the criminal prosecutions and convictions of the fraudsters,” Colapinto continued.
“The government was unaware of the fraud before the whistleblower came forward. After successful criminal prosecutions, the SEC has recognized the whistleblower’s contributions by granting an award of 30% of the collected proceeds, the highest amount allowed under law,”
Regrettably, the government only collected a small portion of the $100 million fraud. As a result, the initial award of about $300,00 to the whistleblower is small compared to the amount of the overall fraud committed.
“Without the SEC whistleblower program, the whistleblower would have had a far more difficult path collecting any award,” Colapinto said.
“Despite the low award, it is a huge victory,” he added.
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