The Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded more than $1.3 billion to 281 whistleblowers since 2012. It can now add two more people and more money to that list after an August 9 announcement of $16.3 million to two whistleblowers who provided useful information on difficult-to-detect violations in a successful enforcement action.
The two unnamed people voluntarily provided the information, which entitled them to the award. The SEC awarded Claimant 1 whistleblower $13 million, and Claimant 2 whistleblower received $3.3 million. The awards involved the same enforcement action.
Different approaches, different amounts
Claimant 1 reportedly received more because their contribution caused the launch of an SEC investigation and included evidence that would have been otherwise hard to detect. They also named key witnesses, which greatly assisted the investigation. It was also reported to the commission several years before Claimant 2.
Claimant 2 contributed less information later, which is why the amount was less. However, they were a “valuable first-hand witness who also provided helpful information relevant to the practices engaged in by the Firm.” They also provided documents and information and contributed to SEC staff interviews, providing clear explanations of illegal schemes.
According to Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower: “The information and assistance provided by these two whistleblowers in helping to identify complex wrongdoing demonstrates the importance of the whistleblower program to the SEC’s enforcement efforts. These whistleblowers reported critical information that aided the SEC’s investigation and provided extensive, ongoing cooperation that helped stop the wrongdoing and protect the capital markets.”
The different amounts reflect the level of knowledge, timing and cooperation the two people provided to the SEC. It’s also a reminder that even though one person may step forward first, others can follow suit to provide helpful information to the SEC or other government enforcement agencies.