The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Thursday that it awarded more than $114 million to a single whistleblower – the largest award ever paid by the agency’s whistleblower program in its 10-year history.
The SEC said about $52 million of the award was for the whistleblower’s help in connection with the SEC case and approximately $62 million was for assisting another, unidentified agency with a related enforcement action. The combined award is more than twice the previous record payout of $50 million, which the SEC paid to an informant in June 2020.
“Today’s milestone award is a testament to the Commission’s commitment to award whistleblowers who provide the agency with high-quality information,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in an Oct. 22 statement. “Whistleblowers make important contributions to the enforcement of securities laws and we are committed to getting more money to whistleblowers as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”
Jane Norberg, head of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, called the informant’s actions “extraordinary.”
“After repeatedly reporting concerns internally, and despite personal and professional hardships, the whistleblower alerted the SEC and the other agency of the wrongdoing and provided substantial, ongoing assistance that proved critical to the success of the actions.”
The SEC protects the identity of whistleblowers and does not disclose specific details about a case that could reveal their identities.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 2010 established the SEC’s whistleblower program in response to the fraud-driven financial crisis of 2008-2009 that nearly thrust the U.S. into a depression. The agency paid its first whistleblower award in 2012. Since then, it has awarded 108 informants a combined $676 million.
Awards can range from 10% to 30% of the total money collected in an enforcement action when the total monetary sanctions top $1 million. The awards are paid from an investor protection fund financed entirely through the monetary sanctions paid by securities law violators.
If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, contact one of the lawyers on our firm’s Whistleblower Litigation Team for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. Beasley Allen lawyers Larry Golston, Lance Gould, Paul Evans, Leslie Pescia, Leon Hampton, Tyner Helms and Lauren Miles are working in this area of law known as “qui tam” cases. A lawyer on the team will be glad to discuss the potential claim with you either in person or by phone.