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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

SEC issues whistleblower awards totaling over $1.1 million

Securities Whistleblower Enforcement SEC

Securities

On January 7, the SEC announced whistleblower awards totaling over $1.1 million in separate enforcement actions. According to the first redacted order, the SEC awarded three whistleblowers nearly $500,000 for providing information in two related enforcement actions. Information voluntarily provided by the first whistleblower—a company outsider—prompted the opening of the investigation, while the second and third whistleblowers provided significant information contributing to the success of the actions, while also assisting investigative staff.

In the second redacted order, the SEC awarded a whistleblower nearly $600,000 for voluntarily providing information leading to a successful enforcement action, assisting Commission staff, and repeatedly reporting “concerns internally in an effort to correct the problems at the company.”

In the third redacted order, a whistleblower was awarded more than $100,000 for providing independent analysis leading to a successful enforcement action. The whistleblower, among other things, “used information from various publicly available documents to calculate an estimate of an important metric for [the company],” and then “showed that the [c]ompany’s disclosures regarding that metric were implausible.” According to the SEC, this is the fifth individual who received an award based on independent analysis in fiscal year 2021.

The SEC has now paid approximately $737 million to 133 individuals since the inception of the program.

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