Yesterday, the SEC named Jane Norberg as the new Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. Norberg fills the position left vacant when Sean McKessy, the SEC's first-ever Chief of that office, left the agency this summer to join whistleblower law firm Phillips & Cohen as a partner in its Washington, D.C. office.
Norberg joined the SEC in 2012, and worked alongside McKessy as the first Deputy Chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower. She has served as Acting Chief of the Office since July 2016. Previously, Norberg was an attorney at law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP and a special agent for the U.S. Secret Service, where her duties included providing protection to the President, Vice President and visiting foreign dignitaries as well as conducting criminal investigations into federal crimes.
The SEC's Office of the Whistleblower has received a lot of attention lately. In addition to the high-profile departure of McKessy, the SEC announced in late August 2016 that following its most recent award of more than $22 million to a whistleblower (a Monsanto financial executive), the agency's awards to whistleblowers had surpassed $100 million since it issued its first award under Dodd-Frank in 2012. The SEC noted that the enforcement actions flowing from these whistleblower tips have led to court orders for more than $500 million in financial remedies--including more than $346 million in disgorgement and interest returned to investors.
The whistleblower program announced another large award to a whistleblower of $4 million last week. The SEC stated that following that award, it had now awarded more than $111 million to 34 whistleblowers since its inception.
Earlier this month, Andrew Ceresney, the SEC's Director of Enforcement, stated in a speech before the Sixteenth Annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference that the Office of the Whistleblower has had a "transformative impact"on the SEC, "both in terms of the detection of illegal conduct and in moving our investigations forward quicker and through the use of fewer resources." He also noted that the Office has grown to include
18 dedicated staff attorneys, paralegals and support staff responsible for the initial review and intake of whistleblower tips received by the Commission, for tracking whistleblower tips as they work their way through our investigative pipeline, for evaluating whistleblower award claims, and for making recommendations to the Commission’s Claims Review Staff, which makes recommendations to the Commission on award claims.