The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced a whistleblower award of more than $3 million to a company insider whose information helped the SEC crack a complex fraud. The multi-million dollar payout is the third highest award to date under the SEC’s whistleblower program.
The whistleblower’s specific and detailed information comprehensively laid out the fraudulent scheme which otherwise would have been very difficult for investigators to detect. The whistleblower’s initial tip also led to related actions that increased the whistleblower’s award.
'Insiders may hold the key to helping our investigators unlock intricate fraudulent schemes', said Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. 'By providing significant financial incentives for people to come forward, the SEC’s whistleblower program continues to be profoundly effective in helping us protect investors and hold wrongdoers accountable'.
'The award made today is another testament to the agency’s commitment to reward those who provide high-quality information that leads to successful enforcement actions and related actions', said Sean X. McKessy, Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower. 'Our office continues to receive thousands of whistleblower tips each year. When those tips bear fruit, those individuals, like today’s whistleblower, may receive significant financial awards'.
Whistleblowers who provide the SEC with unique and useful information that contributes to a successful enforcement action are eligible for awards that can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when financial sanctions exceed $1 million. By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity.
Since its inception in 2011, the SEC’s whistleblower program has paid more than $50 million to 18 whistleblowers, including a more than $30 million award in 2014 and a more than $14 million award in 2013. All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators. No money is taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.