The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced the award of $2 million to a whistleblower whose information and assistance “substantially contributed” to an ongoing investigation.
The award extends a flurry of recent activity for the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. The agency has announced five awards in the last 12 days and eight during the year—already matching the total of all of 2019.
A big difference, though, has been value: The SEC paid out approximately $60 million to last year’s eight tipsters. This year’s whistleblowers have so far received approximately $11.9 million in combined payouts.
In the order accompanying Friday’s release, the SEC notes the whistleblower provided information that “would have been difficult” for SEC staff to obtain without the tip. The tipster reported information to the SEC despite obstacles and assisted with the Commission’s investigation while facing implied threats and hardships as a result of his or her blowing the whistle.
“The whistleblower’s actions in this matter were extraordinary,” said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, in a news release. “The whistleblower expeditiously reported the information to the Commission and provided valuable assistance despite implied threats from the wrongdoers.”
The SEC has awarded approximately $398 million to 78 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012. SEC whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the penalties exceed $1 million. All award payments are made through an investor protection fund established by Congress and financed by monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators.
The SEC neither identifies whistleblowers, nor discloses information that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity.