Two whistleblower awards totaling $54 million were issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on September 6, 2018. Both the awards, $39 million and $15 million, are on the list of the Top Ten awards that have been given by the SEC to whistleblowers since 2012. This joint award is exceeded only by another composite award for a single enforcement action totaling $83 million, issued to three whistleblowers, on March 19, 2018.
The case did have a few wrinkles. Because of the first whistleblower’s delay in reporting the wrongdoing, the award was reduced slightly to $39 million. However, the SEC’s reduction was smaller than it normally would have been, because the bulk of the time the person failed to report the misconduct occurred before the SEC whistleblower program existed. It was created in 2011.
The second whistleblower’s information, provided as part of an earlier investigation, was determined by the SEC to have been submitted involuntarily. However, because a certain series of events ended with the whistleblower’s informing the SEC a second time about the critical information, the agency recognized the statement as voluntary and issued the award.
In these two particular cases, the related-action claims by both whistleblowers involving a second government whistleblower program were denied. The SEC commented that allowing persons to recover funds under two separate programs “for the same action would produce the irrational result of encouraging multiple ‘bites of the apple’ in adjudicating claims for the same action.”
A third person’s claim was turned down by the SEC because the would-be whistleblower’s information did not develop into a successful covered action.
Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, commented in a statement, “Whistleblowers serve as invaluable sources of information, and can propel an investigation forward by helping us overcome obstacles and delays in investigation. These substantial awards send a strong message about the SEC’s commitment to whistleblowers and the value they bring to the agency’s mission.”
Whistleblower tips have resulted in enforcement actions that have garnered more than $1 billion in financial recoveries. In all, the SEC has awarded $320 million to 57 persons since 2012. Money for SEC awards is never taken from harmed investors, but instead is paid entirely by a fund that Congress established. When monetary sanctions for a covered action exceed a million dollars, a whistleblower can collect an award of between 10 and 30 percent.
The top ten awards to whistleblowers by the SEC since the program began are:
- $50 million (March 19, 2018)
- $39 million (September 6, 2018)
- $33 million (March 19, 2018)
- $30 million (September 22, 2014)
- $22 million (August 30, 2016)
- $20 million (November 14, 2016)
- $17 million (June 9, 2016)
- $15 million (September 6, 2018)
- $14 million (September 30, 2013)
- $8 million (2 awards—November 30, 2017).
The confidentiality of SEC whistleblowers is protected by law. Releasing information that might directly or inadvertently reveal a whistleblower’s identity is prohibited.
Blowing the Whistle? We Can Help You with Your Next Step.
If you think you have the facts needed to bring a whistleblower case, the experienced whistleblower attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm can review your case and help you file the appropriate disclosure statement. Under some circumstances, the government will intervene, or join in your lawsuit.
Your chances of succeeding are greater if your whistleblower claim is substantive, clear, and to the point. Because of this, meeting with a qualified whistleblower attorney can increase your chances of winning. The Louthian Law Firm can help you form your claim so that the government will be more inclined to intervene in your case. Sometimes, government intervention can increase the chances of recovering reward money. But even if the government decides not to intervene, it could still be a good idea to pursue your case. If you decide to do so, our strong support system can assist you through every step of the process.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today or, if you prefer, use our online contact form.