A whistleblower who was let go after raising concerns internally about discovered misconduct was the recipient of a $5 million award announced by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.
The individual, unidentified in accordance with SEC policy as set out in the Dodd-Frank Act, provided “significant” information that led to an enforcement action, including a critical document evidencing possible wrongdoing and helping save time and resources in the Commission’s investigation. The tipster promptly notified the agency of the information after learning of it, according to the SEC’s order.
The order also noted the “unique hardship” the whistleblower faced in getting terminated after raising concerns internally to his or her supervisor as a positive factor in assessing the value of the award.
The award is the latest in a flurry of activity from the SEC’s Whistleblower Program, which paid out its sixth-largest bounty to date last Thursday at $27 million.
“The whistleblower award today is the seventh award the SEC has announced to individual whistleblowers in the last month,” said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, in a press release. “These awards demonstrate the valuable contributions whistleblowers make to the protection of markets and investors and we encourage people to come forward with information about possible securities law violations.”
The SEC has awarded approximately $430 million to 80 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012. Ten awards have been distributed this year alone. SEC whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the penalties exceed $1 million, and 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.