The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower continued on its recent winning roll today, announcing that it will award between $5 million and $6 million to a former company insider "whose detailed tip led the agency to uncover securities violations that would have been nearly impossible for it to detect but for the whistleblower’s information." Just last week, the agency announced an award to a company employee for more than $3.5 million.
The agency didn't provide any further details on the whistleblower, the tip, or the underlying case. In a statement, Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, noted that “employees are often best positioned to witness wrongdoing. When they report specific and credible tips to us, we will leverage that inside knowledge to advance our enforcement of the securities laws and better protect investors and the marketplace.” Sean X. McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, added that he anticipated the "continued issuance of significant whistleblower awards in the months and years to come.”
The award between $5 million and $6 million bumped out last week's $3.5 million award as the third-largest the SEC has issued to a whistleblower. The largest award to date was for $30 million (announced Sept. 22, 2014) and the second-largest was for $14 million (announced Oct. 1, 2013). To date, the SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded more than $67 million to 29 whistleblowers since it launched in 2011.
Just three years ago, in May 2013, the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower was beginning to face questions about whether it was a success because after two years in existence it had only paid one small award of $50,000 to a single whistleblower. SEC officials offered assurances at the time, however, that the Office was laying the groundwork for many significant future awards.