The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has awarded $22 million to a whistleblower whose detailed tip and extensive assistance helped the agency halt a well-hidden fraud at the company where the whistleblower worked.
The $22 million-plus award is the second-largest total the SEC has awarded a whistleblower.
The largest, $30 million, was awarded in 2014.
“Company employees are in unique positions behind-the-scenes to unravel complex or deeply buried wrongdoing,” said Jane Norberg, Acting Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Without this whistleblower’s courage, information, and assistance, it would have been extremely difficult for law enforcement to discover this securities fraud on its own,”
The SEC’s whistleblower program, which has been rewarding valuable information from tipsters since its inception in 2011, has now surpassed $100 million in total money awarded.
More than $107 million has been awarded to 33 whistleblowers who became eligible for an award by voluntarily providing the SEC with original and useful information that led 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.
All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators.
No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.
By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity.