The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has paid out approximately $119 million to 20 whistleblowers in the past 10 months, a trend the agency continued Tuesday when it announced a $3.8 million award.
The whistleblower who earned the most recent award provided “significant information that helped the SEC disrupt an ongoing fraudulent scheme” leading to an enforcement action that “returned millions of dollars to harmed investors,” the SEC said in a press release.
Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, said since the whistleblower program was launched in 2012, whistleblowers have provided information that has led to more than $2.5 billion in financial remedies for investors, including more than $1.4 billion in disgorgement and nearly $750 million being returned to harmed investors.
“Today’s award underscores the paramount role the SEC’s whistleblower program plays in safeguarding the Main Street investor,” Norberg said in a statement.
In keeping with the SEC whistleblower law’s confidentiality provision, the whistleblower’s identity was not revealed.
The recent surge of whistleblower payouts include a nearly $50 million award announced in June, which was the largest whistleblower payment ever made to one individual. That followed $27 million and $18 million whistleblower awards issued this spring.
The SEC has awarded approximately $505 million to 87 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012. 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.
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,” the SEC said. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.