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SEC Whistleblowers Receive Over $100 Million in Awards

Over $100 Million in Rewards Given to Whistleblowers

The SEC has announced that, as of yesterday, it has made more than $100 million in awards to whistleblowers under the SEC Whistleblower program.  Created by Congress as part of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, the program has been up and running since August 2011.  After five years, the program appears to be a resounding success.

Under the whistleblower program, one who voluntarily provides a useful tip to the SEC that leads to the recovery of over $1 million in sanctions may get an award.  The information regarding a securities law violation must be independently known by the whistleblower and cannot be derived from another source.  The amount of the award is discretionary, but under SEC rules, the amount will be between 10% and 30% of the SEC’s recovery.  The amount may be adjusted based on the significance of the information provided, the degree of assistance provided by the whistleblower, the SEC’s interest in deterring future violations, and the whistleblower’s cooperation with a company’s internal compliance and auditing systems.  The Dodd-Frank Act also included anti-retaliation protections, creating both a private right of action for whistleblowers and enforcement mechanisms for the SEC.

According to the SEC, in the past five years, whistleblower tips have resulted in roughly $504 million recovered by the SEC – of which whistleblowers have received almost 20% in rewards.  The first award was made in 2012, and to date, awards have been made to 33 different whistleblowers.  The largest award made under the program was over $30 million.  Moreover, the SEC has taken Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation mission seriously, having initiated five separate enforcement actions under that section of the Act.

To date, the SEC Whistleblower Office has received over 14,000 whistleblower tips, from individuals in every state and several foreign countries.  Given the volume of tips the Whistleblower Office receives, when submitting a tip, it is important to provide as much detail and evidence as possible.  The Form TCR – the form used to submit a tip to the SEC – is just 5.5 pages, but its appearance is deceiving.  To make your tip stand out in the crowd, it likely needs to be many pages in length, with significant supporting documentation.

If you have knowledge of a securities law violation that you believe could lead to an SEC enforcement action, contact us and we can assist you in submitting your tip and putting you on the road to an award.