Sean McKessy, the long-time Chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower, left the agency last month but the program is on solid footing and has been cranking out major awards all summer. Today, the program announced another milestone award of more than $22 million to a whistleblower -- the second-largest award ever issued by the SEC. In a statement, Jane Norberg, Acting Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower, confirmed that the whistleblower was an employee of the company that committed the securities fraud at issue, and that the employee's "behind-the-scenes" information allowed the SEC to discover a fraud that otherwise would have been extremely difficult for law enforcement to identify.
In a separate statement, the SEC announced that the agency's awards to whistleblowers have now surpassed $100 million since it issued its first award under Dodd-Frank in 2012. The SEC added 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. Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, called the whistleblower program "transformative," and said that it has enabled the agency "to bring high quality enforcement cases quicker using fewer resources.”
In a press release, law firm Meissner Associates stated that it had helped secure today's $22.5 million award for a client who was a former employee of Monsanto Co., and that the company itself had agreed to pay an $80 million penalty to settle the SEC's case against it. Attorney Stuart Meissner noted that the whistleblower was a Monsanto financial executive who "only shared his concerns with the SEC after first trying to correct the issues internally."