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$100M to Whistleblowers

By Elizabeth Kennedy
November 1, 2016
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studio shot of gold whistle

With the announcement of a $22 million whistleblower award—the second-largest in its history—the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has passed the $100 million mark. All told, the SEC has awarded $107 million to 33 whistleblowers. Since the program’s inception in 2010, the Whistleblower Office has received more than 14,000 tips from all 50 states (and Washington, D.C.) as well as 95 foreign countries.

 

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Typically, whistleblower awards range from 10% to 30% of money collected when sanctions ordered exceed $1 million. The information discovered through these whistleblowers enabled the SEC to bring actions that resulted in $504 million ordered in sanctions, much of which has been returned to harmed investors.

 

As part of its mission, the Whistleblower Office ensures that employees feel safe reporting suspected misconduct. To that end, the SEC has taken action under the antiretaliation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act as well as four actions against companies for their inclusion of problematic verbiage in confidentiality and severance agreements that blocked whistleblowers from reporting.

 

“The SEC whistleblower program has had a transformative impact on the agency, enabling us to bring high quality enforcement cases quicker using fewer resources,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC Division of Enforcement. “The ultimate goal of our whistleblower program is to deter securities violations and paying more than $100 million in whistleblower awards demonstrates the value that whistleblowers have added to our enforcement program.” For more information about the whistleblower program and how to report a tip, visit www.sec.gov/whistleblower.

 

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Elizabeth Kennedy is the feature editor at IMA. You can reach her at ekennedy@imanet.org.
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