The Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded nearly $4 million to an overseas whistleblower whose “extensive assistance” helped it bring a successful enforcement action, the agency announced on Sept. 24.

“Whistleblowers, whether they are located in the United States or abroad, provide a valuable service to investors and help us stop wrongdoing,” Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower said in a statement. “This award recognizes the continued, important assistance provided by the whistleblower throughout the course of the investigation.”

Since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC says it has awarded over $326 million to 59 individuals. In that time, more than $1.7 billion in monetary sanctions have been ordered against wrongdoers based on actionable information received by whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with original, timely, and credible information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million. All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators. No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.

By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity.