On April 22, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced an award of between $1.4 million and $1.6 million given to a compliance officer who alerted authorities to wrongdoing within a large company. Because of confidentiality laws, the SEC was not able to reveal the name of either the whistleblower or the business. However, the award marks the second time the SEC has provided monetary compensation to a compliance officer since the introduction of its whistleblower program several years ago. In the first case, which occurred in August 2014, the SEC gave $300,000 to the compliance officer who alerted the agency of fraud.
According to the SEC, the compliance officer reported the information because he or she had reason to believe disclosing the misconduct would prevent some possibly significant financial harm to the company and/or its investors.
Whistleblower awards in the SEC program can be anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the total money collected after successful enforcement actions when total penalties are greater than $1 million. This specific instance marked the 16th whistleblower award from the SEC since the program began in 2011 — and the 17th was announced less than a week later. Since 2011, the agency has awarded more than $50 million to whistleblowers through the program.
This case is yet another example of the incentives whistleblowers have to come forward when they are aware of misconduct within an organization or agency. If you have information on fraud or other types of wrongdoing, meet with a diligent Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers today.