The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a $22.5 million award to a whistleblower for providing information about a “well-hidden” fraud in the accounting and reporting by a publicly traded company. Although the SEC did not divulge the name of the company or the facts of the underlying enforcement action, the anonymous whistleblower, through counsel, informed the media that the fraud involved Monsanto Co., where the whistleblower had worked as a finance executive, and its reporting of sales figures for its widely used Roundup weedkiller product. This is the second-largest award the Commission has doled out since the whistleblower program began in 2011, topping the prior second-place record of $17 million set back in June of this year.
Whistleblowers who voluntarily provide tips to the Commission that lead to a successful enforcement action of $1 million or more are entitled to anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the money recovered from these sanctions. Prior to this latest award, there were ten awards totaling more than $26 million in 2016. The Monsanto whistleblower award nearly doubles that year-to-date total to a whopping $48.5 million and boosts the overall award total to over $107 million since 2011.