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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

SEC has “record-setting” whistleblower fiscal year

Securities SEC Whistleblower Enforcement

Securities

On September 30, the SEC announced six new whistleblower awards to finish a “record-setting” fiscal year. In the first announcement, the SEC details an award of nearly $30 million to two whistleblowers. The first, received approximately $22 million for providing information that led SEC staff to open and investigation and subsequently “provided substantial, ongoing assistance.” The second whistleblower received approximately $7 million for providing “additional valuable information” during the investigation.

In the second announcement, the SEC details four whistleblower awards totaling nearly $5 million. In the first order, the SEC awarded a whistleblower almost $2.9 million for alerting the agency of “alleged wrongdoing, which would have been difficult to detect in the absence of [the information.” The second order awards a whistleblower more than $1.7 million for providing “ongoing and extensive assistance” to SEC staff. And the third order, awards nearly $400,000 to two whistleblowers for providing a joint tip and “continu[ed] corporation and assistance, including having numerous meetings and discussions with staff.”

Earlier on September 28, the SEC announced an over $1.8 million award to a whistleblower in connection with a successful agency enforcement action. The whistleblower—an unaffiliated company outsider—“expeditiously reported significant information to the Commission about ongoing securities law violations.” According to the SEC, the award illustrates the important role company outsider intelligence can play in halting ongoing violations. 

The SEC announced on September 25 two separate whistleblower awards, totaling over $2.5 million, for information regarding overseas conduct. The first, an award for over $1.8 million, was given to a whistleblower for taking “personal and professional risks” by using an internal compliance system at a company to report information. The tip resulted in an internal investigation, revealing overseas conduct that “would otherwise have been hard to detect.” The company then subsequently reported the findings to the SEC. The second whistleblower was awarded $750,000 for reporting concerns internally about securities violations occurring overseas that led to a successful enforcement action.

The SEC has now paid a total of $562 million to 106 individuals since the inception of the program.

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