SEC Doles Out $279 Million to Whistleblower – Its Largest Award Ever

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has doled out $279 million to a whistleblower – the largest amount to ever be awarded to an anonymous whistleblower. Without providing specific details, the SEC said the money was paid out on Friday because the whistleblower provided information that helped the agency to enforce actionable mandates.

The federal agency did not mention the name of the awardee or the specific case that was prosecuted, but it stated that “today, we announced the largest-ever award, nearly $279 million to a whistleblower whose information and assistance led to the successful enforcement of SEC and related actions.”

The director of the SEC’s enforcement, Gurbir Grewal, noted that the immense size of the $279 million award “not only incentivizes whistleblowers to come forward with accurate information about potential securities law violations but also reflects the tremendous success of our whistleblower program.”

In 2022, the total amount paid out to whistleblowers was $229 million generated on 103 cases; and a total of $114 million was doled out in 2020. Based on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the SEC’s whistleblower incentive program was established and signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2010.

To be eligible for the reward, the whistleblower must provide accurate information that enables the SEC to award monetary sanctions on people or organizations that violate the agency’s laws. An award of between 10% and 30% is given to whistleblowers on SEC sanctions larger than $1 million, and the names of the whistleblowers and the imposed sanctions are usually kept secret.

In this particular case, the SEC initiated the investigations but the whistleblower’s information helped with increasing the charges slammed on the offender.

“The whistleblower’s sustained assistance, including multiple interviews and written submissions, was critical to the success of these actions,” said Creola Kelly, the chief of the SEC’s office of the whistleblower. “While the whistleblower’s information did not prompt the opening of the Commission’s investigation, their information expanded the scope of the misconduct charged.”