SEC doles out record $50 million to whistleblower, pushing program total above $500 million

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    Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) HeadquartersJonathan Ernst/Reuters

    • The Securities and Exchange Commission paid out a record $50 million whistleblower award to one person who “provided detailed, firsthand observations of misconduct by a company,” according to a Thursday statement.
    • The payout pushes the SEC’s total awards to whistleblowers above $500 million since the first payment was made in 2012.
    • The previous record sum for a one-person payout was a $39 million award in 2018. The same year saw two whistleblowers split a $50 million payout.
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    The Securities and Exchange Commission revealed Thursday it issued a record $50 million whistleblower payout to an individual who “provided detailed, firsthand observations of misconduct by a company.”

    The whistleblower’s tip resulted in enforcement being taken against a related company and returned a significant amount of cash to harmed investors, according to the agency’s Thursday release. The SEC didn’t identify the whistleblower, company, or investors involved in the matter.

    The award trounces the previous record sum of $39 million for an individual in 2018. A separate case that same year yielded a $50 million award split between two whistleblowers. The latest payment pushes the SEC program’s total payouts above $500 million.

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    “This award marks several milestones for the whistleblower program,” Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s whistleblower office, said. “Whistleblowers have proven to be a critical tool in the enforcement arsenal to combat fraud and protect investors.”

    Whistleblowers can be awarded between 10% and 30% of the money collected from sanctions exceeding $1 million, according to the SEC. No money intended to compensate affected investors is used in the award.

    The SEC’s first whistleblower award was issued in 2012, and the agency as since doled out awards to more than 83 individuals through the program. The Dodd-Frank Act obliges the SEC to keep whistleblowers and identifying information confidential.

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