SEC Issues First Large Award in Whistleblower Program

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$14 million awarded to unidentified whistleblower in unidentified enforcement action.

On October 1, 2013, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it expects to pay more than $14 million to a whistleblower whose information led to an SEC enforcement action that recovered substantial investor funds. The Commission did not identify or describe the whistleblower or the enforcement action.

Despite this opaqueness, the award is noteworthy. It is by far the largest payment made under the SEC whistleblower award program created three years ago by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) and the Commission hopes the award’s size will inspire a wave of new whistleblowing. In a statement attributed to SEC Chair Mary Jo White, the Commission press release announcing the award refers to that possibility: “Our whistleblower program already has had a big impact on our investigations by providing us with high quality, meaningful tips. We hope an award like this encourages more individuals with information to come forward.”

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