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SEC whistleblower awarded $14 million

The SEC said Tuesday a whistleblower was awarded $14 million for information that led to an enforcement action ‘that recovered substantial investor funds.’ 

The whistleblower asked not be identified, the SEC said.

The SEC whistleblower reward program established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law applies to securities law cases, including FCPA violations.

There haven't been any FCPA whistleblower awards yet.

In the award announced Tuesday, the whistleblower ‘provided original information and assistance that allowed the SEC to investigate an enforcement matter more quickly than otherwise would have been possible,’ the agency said.

No details were given about the amount recovered, and the fraudsters weren't identified. 

The case took less than six months from receipt of the whistleblower’s tip.

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower was set up in 2011. Awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected in a case. At least $1 million must be collected for the whistleblower to be eligible for an award.

In its annual report filed with Congress a year ago, the SEC whistleblower office said it received 3,001 tips during its first year. Of those, 115 were FCPA-related complaints. Corporate disclosures and offering frauds accounted for a third of all complaints.

The SEC hasn't released new statistics for this fiscal year.

The award Tuesday is by far the SEC's biggest so far. The first award was made in August 2012 and totaled $50,000. A month later, three whistleblowers split a $25,000 award. That award is likely to grow to $125,000, the SEC said.

‘Our whistleblower program already has had a big impact on our investigations by providing us with high quality, meaningful tips,’ SEC Chair Mary Jo White said Tuesday. ‘We hope an award like this encourages more individuals with information to come forward.’

When whistleblowers request anonymity, the law prohibits the SEC from disclosing ‘any information that might directly or indirectly reveal’ their identity, the agency said Tuesday.


Richard L. Cassin is the Publisher and Editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.