The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on June 9 that they will award a staggering $17 million to a former employee whose tip “substantially advanced the agency’s investigation and ultimate enforcement action.” This is the fifth in a series of awards the SEC has issued over the past five weeks, bringing the organization’s total money awarded in that short time to more than $43 million.
Exceeding an award issued in October 2013 by $3 million, this is officially the second largest award the SEC has ever issued, surpassed only by a $30 million award issued in September 2014. According to the organization’s press release, the anonymous whistleblower provided “original information and assistance that allowed the SEC to investigate an enforcement matter” in less than six months.
Recognizing the courage it takes to step forward, the SEC protects whistleblowers’ identities and rewards those who help the organization enforce the law. Whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the SEC with “unique and useful information” that leads to successful enforcement actions are eligible to receive anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the money derived from these sanctions.
Since its 2010 launch following the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC’s whistleblower program has issued more than $85 million dollars in award money to 32 whistleblowers.