The number of whistleblower awards doled out by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) this year has increased in size and frequency as numerous enforcement actions are reaching completion.
Under the SEC guidelines, it can award eligible whistleblowers between 10 and 30 percent of recovery when their tips result in an enforcement action with sanctions worth $1 million or more.
The agency has made the following awards to domestic and foreign whistleblowers this year:
- On September 22, the SEC awarded a $35 million whistleblower award to an unidentified foreign whistleblower who provided key information about ongoing fraud. In the order approving the award, the SEC stressed that there is a sufficient U.S. territorial nexus whenever the whistleblower’s information leads to a successful enforcement of a covered action brought in the United States concerning violations of U.S. securities laws. This award is the fourth whistleblower award granted to a resident of a foreign country.
- On August 29, the SEC made its first award to a compliance and audit professional who tipped the agency about certain activities which led to an enforcement action. The Chief of the SEC’s Office of Whistleblower stressed that individuals who perform internal audit, compliance and legal functions are critical in preventing fraud and corruption.
- On June 3, 2014, the SEC awarded $875,000 to two anonymous whistleblowers who helped start a successful enforcement action.