In a March 26, 2019 press release, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced awards to two whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Act, one receiving $37 million and the other $13 million, whose critical information led to a successful enforcement action.
The $37 million award is the third highest individual whistleblower award to date, following two other cases brought to a successful conclusion in 2018.
Previously, a $50 million award was made in March 2018 to joint whistleblowers related to a December 2015 settlement totaling $307 million with JPMorgan Chase & Co. for failure to disclose a conflict of interest, and more than $39 million was awarded to another individual in September 2018.
Whistleblower awards can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million. Provisions under the Dodd-Frank Act protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
The Importance of Whistleblowers to Enforcement
The SEC has now received over 22,000 whistleblower tips and awarded approximately $376 million to 61 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012, with all rewards paid from an investor protection fund established by Congress and financed entirely through monetary penalties paid to the SEC by securities law violators.
These cases highlight the value placed on high-quality information that aids the SEC and its enforcement division in discovering, investigating, and prosecuting securities violations.
Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower states in the press release:
“Whistleblowers like those being awarded today may be the source of ‘smoking gun’ evidence and indispensable assistance that strengthens the agency’s ability to protect investors and the capital markets. These awards show how critically important whistleblowers can be to the agency’s investigation and ability to bring a case to successful and efficient resolution.”
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