SEC to Pay More than $30 Million in Largest Whistleblower Award

Written September 22, 2014 by Janine Arno

Today the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its largest expected award of more than $30 million to a whistleblower who provided key information that led to a successful SEC enforcement action.

The award will be the largest made by the SEC Whistleblower Program to date and the fourth award to a whistleblower living in a foreign country, demonstrating the program’s international reach.

“This whistleblower came to us with information about an ongoing fraud that would have been very difficult to detect,” said Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “This record-breaking award sends a strong message about our commitment to whistleblowers and the value they bring to law enforcement.”

Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, added, “This award of more than $30 million shows the international breadth of our whistleblower program as we effectively utilize valuable tips from anyone, anywhere to bring wrongdoers to justice.  Whistleblowers from all over the world should feel similarly incentivized to come forward with credible information about potential violations of the U.S. securities laws.”

The SEC Whistleblower Program provides for mandatory rewards to individuals who offer original information to the SEC that leads to an SEC enforcement action resulting in sanctions of more than $1 million.  The award size to whistleblowers ranges from 10 to 30 percent of the amount collected by the SEC (and in related actions).  The law also includes provisions to protect the anonymity of the whistleblower if represented by counsel, and provisions to safeguard whistleblowers from retaliation.

The SEC awarded its first whistleblower under the program following its inception in fiscal year 2012.  The program awarded four more whistleblowers in fiscal year 2013, and has awarded nine whistleblowers in fiscal year 2014.