The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower program is doling out its thanks in 2016, continuing into December on the heels of its latest information tip with $3.5 million being awarded, per an SEC filing.
Whistleblowing has become a staple of multiple US regulatory regimes, namely those of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the SEC. Both entities have deployed programs or rewards to individuals in a bid to help support or streamline investigations – the SEC is equipped with the Office of the Whistleblower.
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Knowledge is Power
Regulators have to date had no issue doling out substantial sums to individuals aiding in investigations. Multiple awards in the millions of dollars have been awarded following successful enforcement actions from the SEC in recent months. The whistleblower program was originally established by Congress to help incentivize whistleblowers to provide specific, timely and credible information about federal securities law violations.
The latest award was given after an individual came forward with information that led to an SEC enforcement action. The range for whistleblower awards can vary between 10% to 30% of the money collected when the monetary sanctions ordered exceed $1 million. The SEC paid its first award in 2012, just over a year after the Office of the Whistleblower opened for business, though tips must lead to enforcement action to be rewarded.
To date, the SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded nearly $135 million to 36 whistleblowers. According to Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, in a statement on the latest award: “Whistleblowers do a tremendous service to the investing public and we will continue to reward those who come forward with valuable tips that help us bring successful cases against those who violate the securities laws.”