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SEC Awards First Payout Under New Whistleblower Program

Harriet Davies

22 August 2012

The Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded a whistleblower $50,000 in the first payout under a new program designed to encourage people to provide evidence on securities fraud.

The award is 30 per cent of the amount the SEC collected in the case, which saw a court order over $1 million in sanctions, with final judgments against other defendants still being considered.

So far $150,000 of this has been collected, but if any further payments are ordered and/or collected, more will go to the whistleblower, who did not wish to be identified.

Whistleblower awards are capped at 30 per cent of the resulting amount collected by law. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act allows for whistleblower awards when the information provided is deemed “high quality” and leads to an enforcement action by the regulator resulting in sanctions over $1 million.

Another whistleblower in the same case was denied an award by the Commission as the information he or she provided “did not lead to or significantly contribute to the SEC’s enforcement action,” it said.

The whistleblower who did receive a payout provided documents and other significant information which allowed the SEC to build its case faster and prevented additional victims, the Commission said.

“We’re seeing high-quality tips that are saving our investigators substantial time and resources,” said Mary Schapiro, SEC chairman, who backed the program.