April 2020 was a busy month for the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower and its whistleblower award program. The headline award of the month was a $27 million award to a single whistleblower, which ranks among the larger awards given out by the SEC since the inception of its program.
The award also helped the SEC hit a milestone, bringing the total amount of SEC awards over $400 million, spread out over 80 whistleblowers over the course of eight years.
The $27 million actually exceeded the initial recommendation by the SEC panel. According to the agency, the award recipient provided the agency with information about misconduct that occurred partially overseas. The whistleblower had initially tried to report the wrongdoing internally on multiple occasions before contacting the SEC. The whistleblower’s “substantial amount of ongoing assistance and cooperation” as well as the numerous “critical investigative leads” they were able to provide led to the larger award.
April also saw a $5 million award granted to a whistleblower who offered “critical evidence of wrongdoing” and who had suffered “a unique hardship as a result of raising concerns internally.” Two other awards granted in the month were a $2 million award to an informer who had been threated by fraudsters after blowing the whistle, and a $1.6 million award to a whistleblower who helped the SEC put a stop to financial fraud before it could get out of hand.
Whistleblower awards are designed for whistleblowers who offer the SEC original, actionable information about securities fraud. Whistleblowers are eligible to receive 10 to 30 percent of the total money recovered when sanctions exceed $1 million.
For more information about how to make a report to the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.