Today, theUnited States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) each announced whistleblower awards. The SEC awarded nearly $2m to an individual, and four individuals will share an award of over $2m from the CFTC.
The SEC awarded a whistleblower nearly $2m for their timely assistance in a successful enforcement action that allowed investors to recover much of their money.
According to the SEC order, the whistleblower "suffered hardship" as a result of their reporting and provided "new information regarding an ongoing fraud that the Commission was not aware of at the time."
The whistleblower’s information and assistance helped the SEC stop an ongoing fraud in its tracks."
"The whistleblower's information and assistance helped the SEC stop an ongoing fraud in its tracks," said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower. "The whistleblower's tip had a substantial impact on the investigation and aided the Commission's ability to obtain an asset freeze and prevent the dissipation of investor funds."
The SEC Whistleblower Program has now paid out approximately $450m to 82 individuals since 2012. Dodd-Frank Act whistleblowers can remain anonymous and confidential in their proceedings before the Commission, as the SEC does not disclose any information that could reveal the identity of the whistleblower in question.
Whistleblower awards can range between 10 to 30% of the money collected when a successful enforcement action leads to recoveries of $1 million or more.
The CFTC announced a shared whistleblower award of over $2m to be split by four individuals whose joint reporting was "sufficiently specific, credible and timely to cause the Commission to open an investigation."
Each whistleblower individually provided additional ongoing assistance throughout the investigation, according to the CFTC order.
"In many instances, whistleblowers are in the best position to identify suspicious conduct," said CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald. "That's precisely what happened in this case. After witnessing unusual activity, the whistleblowers worked together to quickly submit a joint tip with sufficient detail that drew our attention to the potential violations."
The CFTC Whistleblower Program has awarded approximately $100 million to whistleblowers since issuing its first award in 2014, and CFTC actions have led to the recovery of more than $800m in taxpayer money.
"Whistleblowing works," said Stephen M. Kohn, whistleblower attorney at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. "Today's awards once again demonstrate that whistleblowers are the key source of evidence needed to provide fraud. The awards issued by the CFTC and SEC show a continuing commitment by these agencies to protecting and rewarding whistleblowers."