The Securities and Exchange Commission Friday awarded more than $5.5 million to a whistleblower who provided critical information that helped uncover and stop an ongoing scheme.
According to the SEC’s order of award (pdf), the whistleblower worked at the company involved in the wrongdoing and reported the information directly to the SEC.
The tip resulted in a successful enforcement action to end the scheme, the SEC said.
The SEC said in the order it made an exception for the whistleblower, who apparently didn't provide information "in writing," as required by SEC rules. Normally tips have to be mailed, faxed, or filed through the SEC's website.
The SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded $142 million to 38 whistleblowers since the first award in 2012.
SEC enforcement actions from whistleblower tips have resulted in more than $904 million in enforcement remedies.
By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn't disclose information that might reveal a whistleblower’s identity.
Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with "unique and useful" information that leads to a successful enforcement action.
Awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the penalties and sanctions exceed $1 million.
The SEC received about 4,000 tips in the latest reporting year and more than 14,000 since the whistleblower award program started. Tips have come from individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and 95 foreign countries.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.