On August 30, 2016, the SEC issued a $22 million whistleblower bounty award to an individual “whose detailed tip and extensive assistance helped the agency halt a well-hidden fraud” at the whistleblower’s employer. The Acting Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, credited the “company insider,” stating “[w]ithout this whistleblower’s courage, information, and assistance, it would have been extremely difficult for law enforcement to discover this securities fraud on its own.”
As with all whistleblower awards, the SEC did not disclose the circumstances that led to the award. However, based on the terms of the SEC’s whistleblower program, we know that the award is based on a range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected by the SEC.
The $22 million award is the second largest in the history of the SEC’s whistleblower award program, following a $30 million award in 2014. The program has now surpassed $100 million in awards, awarding a total of $107 million to 33 whistleblowers. These staggering awards provide further reminder of the SEC’s commitment to providing substantial incentives to induce employees to report alleged employer misconduct.