The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday announced the award of more than $10 million to a whistleblower who provided “substantial” assistance throughout the course of an investigation that led to a successful enforcement action.
Excluded from a share of the award, however, were two claimants whose tips to the regulator were deemed insufficient, as the information provided didn’t move the needle much further than what the first whistleblower provided.
“It was Claimant 1’s information and ongoing assistance that led directly to almost every factual finding and charge against the Company,” the SEC said in its order issuing the award.
The SEC noted the recipient of the award first raised concerns about the company’s actions internally before coming to the Commission “after determining the Company would not remedy the problem.” The whistleblower worked with staff on over a dozen occasions to help “decipher communications and distill complex issues.”
“After reporting internally and receiving no satisfactory response, the whistleblower alerted the agency to the securities violation and played a critical role during the investigation,” said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, in a press release. “Today’s award demonstrates the significant contributions that whistleblowers can make to substantially assist investigations and help the Commission save time and resources.”
In responding to the determination they would not receive a share of the award, the second claimant contended their information “helped exert pressure on the Company to enter into a global settlement with the Commission” and another unnamed agency. The SEC rejected this claim and reiterated none of the tipster’s information “meaningfully advanced” its investigation.
The third claimant was similarly denied after the SEC was unable to identify any information they provided to advance the investigation.
The SEC has awarded approximately $687 million to 109 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012. After a record-setting $175 million distributed during fiscal year 2020, which concluded Sept. 30, the agency has awarded nearly $125 million this month alone. The bulk of the share relates to a record $114 million payout announced last week.
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.