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SEC Official Expects 'Extremely Significant Whistleblower Awards' in Coming Months

Bruce Carton | June 12, 2013

In May, I noted in my monthly column for Compliance Week that although the two-year anniversary of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of the Whistleblower is fast approaching, the office has still paid out only one award to a whistleblower, in the amount of just $50,000. I wrote that 

The conspicuous, ongoing silence from the SEC in this area has opened the door for an increasing number of questions lately as to whether the agency is aggressively pursuing the leads it receives and whether it can turn these leads into successful enforcement actions.

Despite these questions, the SEC has been consistently unwilling to offer any guidance on the number or timing of future awards that it believes may be in the pipeline. In a Corporate Crime Reporter article published today, however, Stephen Cohen, Associate Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, is quoted as saying that the wait may soon be over.

CCR reports that while speaking on a panel at the Corporate Crime Reporter conference in early May 2013, Cohen stated that “there will be a likely change in the discussion about the magnitude of some of these awards over the next six to twelve months.” According to CCR, Cohen said that he expects that in the coming months, the whistleblower program will produce “incredibly impactful cases” with “some extremely significant whistleblower awards.”